Regions? Political Reform? Scratch that..

The regions “project” was introduced as the King’s idea for “our gradual” approach to “reform”. After its introduction the “idea” has been under attack from different fronts. Just today the king met with some officials and journalists, and the names suggest that they are mainly the people who were vocal against the idea.

Basically, the king “reintroduced” the “idea” as a project mainly aimed at giving people more say in economic and developmental decision making within their region. The new name for the project is : “decentralization”. Oh my, how novel is that? In a way what they are saying is:let us just make nepotism and corruption local.

OK. Here is what I think, all of this is BS. Looking at local politics recently one can see that the king is no longer in charge as he used to be (Or think he is), sadly the powers he “surrendered” were captured by the same people who created an artificial bubble around him. By doing this he is alienating the already weak reform forces in Jordan and empowering those who are holding us back.

The late King Hussein adopted a “reform” agenda only after the rising in the south which started in Maan in 1989. In his 2008 Book about the life of King Hussein, Dr. Nigel Ashton tells the story about the 1989 rising and the king’s decision to restore political life in Jordan, he specifically quotes the king talking about the elections as being a way to allow the people to “let some steam off”.  Ashton, reached a conclusion that maybe obvious for many that the king truly believed that  he knows what is best for Jordan, thus in king Hussein’s view any “democratization” and “reform” will only hamper his efforts to move Jordan “forward”.

King Abdullah, I believe, started his rule as being different from King Hussein, he seemed more open and more aggressive in his local reform agenda, but sadly, lately we have seen him regress in his positions toward reform. His majesty is now surrounded by the same “dependable” people his father surrounded himself with. Dependability ,of course, is subjective, thus those who are viewed as being dependable by the regime are not viewed in the same way by the people-at least the people who are not being co-opted in one way or another. The people around the king seem to have been successful in convincing him that local reform shouldn’t be pursued until the Palestinian issue is solved, and the king bought it.

I wandered all around in this post, but let us keep an eye on what the journalists who were invited to meet the king will have to say in the coming days, namely, Fahed Elkheitan,  Sameeh Maaita, and Mohannad Mbaideen. Interestingly, Elkheitan’s piece published before the meeting with king was about the regime’s policy of diverting attention with regards to political reform by focusing on expanding personal freedoms and “equality” and selling those fake attemps as true reform to donors who keep the regime alive.

Let me finish this post with an example of the over abundant irony we have in Jordan: The anti-corruption committee handed its report to Abdel Elhadi Elmajali. HA.

Oh, and happy press freedoms day.