Wael Al-Khatib

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Protesters demonstrate outside the Prime Minister’s office in Amman on June 6, 2018. (AP Photo/Raad al-Adayleh)

Jordan is experiencing a new cycle of anti-government protests driven by youth activists, with last week’s demonstrations ending in violence. Another round is happening Thursday night despite harsh weather. The unrest echoes the summer’s anti-austerity revolts that toppled the previous government; the underlying discontent still simmers.

Jordanians chafe under nearly 19 percent unemployment, a new International Monetary Fund-backed tax law, and corruption scandals (the latest a massive fake cigarette scheme). The new government of Prime Minister Omar Razzaz has lost public confidence, not least because of controversial measures like a proposed law regulating social media. All this is destabilizing a vital U.S.…  Seguir leyendo »

A woman casts her ballot at a polling station in Amman in 2013. (Muhammad Hammad/Reuters)

Democratic Party losses in traditional strongholds are stunning, often exposing deep frustration between party and base. Similarly, Republican losses in deep-red districts raise many questions.

In the Middle East, rare Islamist losses in their own strongholds show the failure of Islamist appeals to keep previously reliable supporters. This just happened in Jordan.

During the past two months, Muslim Brotherhood-supported groups got trounced during elections at Jordan University, the flagship university whose student union elections relegated Islamists behind the new Nashama (Gallantry) movement, and the Jordan Engineers Association, the kingdom’s largest professional union whose 150,000 members are now led by the independent Numuw (Growth) bloc.…  Seguir leyendo »