The king’s brother in law involvement in the Iraq war.Now with Documents.

Remember this? Mohammad Al-saleh used his relationship to the  king in the documents and in the case against Henry Sargeant III and Mustafa Abu-Naba’a. If I were the King I would really be pissed off- unless I had a stake in this.

Now leaving the ethical issues aside, what the fuck is this! I mean come on!

The case file can be found here.

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You want a message from the king?

Here is one: the newly named crown prince accompanied his father in his visit to the Bani Hasan tribes..So much for moving beyond tribalism…

The prince reportedly was wearing a ttraditional Jordanian outfit..I mean come on, the theatrics, the location, and the whole production is enough of a message..

Got it?

P.S: How do you think the new crown prince felt when he was forced to wear the traditional dress? Or when he heard the chants?  In a way I feel sorry for him.

A $12,500 Watch gift..

I mean come on now..Do we really need this? Don’t they learn that all the gifts end up in a warehouse..Don’t they also realize that their generous gifts will eventually shame them in the eyes of their people?

I mean isn’t this more risky politically than, lets say, repealing the not-so-tough penalty for honor crimes…

I guess we all know the answer: A disengaged population..Half of it doesn’t really care because they have been marginalized for so long and the other half are being paid(Or scared) off in one way or another..What  better population could a leader wish for? Really?

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.

Highlights of King Abdullah’s interview With David Gregory

On dealing with Bush:

“I think he was dedicated to moving the process forward.  I think I was getting frustrated with the team that didn’t have a sense of urgency. “

On Agreeing with bush that in 2008 “Despite these frustrations and disappointments, the Middle East in 2008 is a freer, more hopeful and more promising place than it was in 2001.”:

Yes, but nowhere near what we need as the endgame.  I mean, it’s all relative at the end of the day.  Until you solve the problem, you’re going to get an up and down on how free or stable it is.  But we still haven’t solved the core issue.  So you can’t say that, that the, the future for the Middle East is any brighter.  Unless we solve the core issue of the Israeli-Palestinian, Israeli-Arab challenges, then we will always be an area of instability that costs all of us.

On the image of the United States in the middle east today:

Fantastic.

On torture as reported by Human Rights watch:

I–when that report came out, or when I was asked that question I think by one of your colleagues several years ago, I went straight back to my director of intelligence at the time and I said, “Is there any foundations to this?” And he said categorically no.  And I made it quite clear to him and all the colleagues that have come up the ranks since then that we don’t tolerate that.  So I’d like to think that my people were telling me the truth.

On nuclear proliferation:

I would imagine that when it comes to an economy that is suffering, like many economies are suffering around the world, a nuclear military program is extremely expensive. And if you’ve solved the core issue in the Middle East, I think a lot of leaders will be sort of checking their calculators to see whether it’s worth to go down the military nuclear road.

On his upcoming book “The Last best chance”:

…what I’m trying to do with this book is to explain the dynamics have changed in the Middle East, and really this is our last best chance.  What my late father was saying is that then there was a major opportunity slipping past.  And I think 40 years later how many wars, how much death and destruction, how many Israelis, Arabs and Muslims have lost their lives.  Are we prepared to go another decade?  And believe you me, if we do not solve the problem today of the Israelis and Palestinians, it’s only going to be a matter of time of another conflict.

On the gifts he gave to obama:

I think the president is prepared for battle, and basically he knows that he has somebody standing next to him on his right and helping him through this.

The transcript can be found here.

King Abdullah on Torture

I don’t have the exact text yet, but basically his answer  should make us pause for some time and think about his policy in governing.

In response to a question about the HRW report on Jordan being a proxy interrogator, the king said that he asked “his people” if it was true, and they denied, but he “hoped” they were honest. Let us hope he doesn’t use the same approach when asking the likes of Sahel El Majali…

He also seemed hesitant when asked the question about the efficacy of torture.

On Iran: They want to be the policeman of the gulf.

A link to the video on torture..I will have more to say later..Till then, enjoy!

Corruption squared

Alarab Alyawm reports on the ministers council approving the duty free car policy which has now became a state policy for  paying off MPs and others. What is different about this is that the 16 MPs had already gotten their duty free pay-off since they are military retirees. The previous policy which was overridden by the new decision only gave the MPs a 50% discount on their duties which has now been risen to 100%.

Original text:

وافق مجلس الوزراء امس الاول على منح 16 نائبا اعفاء جمركيا كاملا لسياراتهم مخالفا بذلك القرار الحكومي الذي منحهم خصما قدره 50% كونهم كانوا قد استفادوا من اعفاءات جمركية سابقة كمتقاعدين عسكريين.