That Jordan teeters on the edge of crisis is a cliché decades old. Yet the combination of political and economic problems the country faces today is without precedent, and the worn tools used to overcome these problems in the past are now inadequate. That matters for the world given that the country is a haven for refugees in a volatile neighbourhood. Jordan needs political dedication to face its challenges and innovative means to overcome them. New plans for political, economic and administrative reform emerged last year, under directives from King Abdullah II, but the question is whether they have any hope of succeeding.…  Seguir leyendo »

Clockwise from top left: former president Donald Trump, Jordan's King Abdullah II, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Getty Images)

President Donald Trump had a dizzying dream for a diplomatic “deal of the century” for Arab-Israeli peace that would unite his allies Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

It never happened, in large part because Jordan’s King Abdullah II would not bend to pressure and make concessions on the status of Jerusalem and other issues affecting the Palestinians. His resistance came at a price: Abdullah’s kingdom has been shaken by tremors over the past several years, encouraged by the squeeze from top political leaders in the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Abdullah’s troubles erupted into public view in early April, when the king’s security forces detained three prominent Jordanians he suspected of plotting to destabilize his regime: Prince Hamzah, the former crown prince groomed by his American-born mother for the throne; Sharif Hassan bin Zaid, a relative of the king and a powerful tribal leader; and Bassem Awadallah, a former Jordanian minister who had become a confidant of the Saudi crown prince, who’s often known by his initials, MBS.…  Seguir leyendo »

Iraqi Foreign Minister Fouad Hussein holds a joint press conference with his counterparts, Jordan's Ayman Safadi (L) and Egypt's Sameh Shoukry, at the ministry in the capital Baghdad, on 29 March 2021. Photo by SABAH ARAR/AFP via Getty Images.

Alliances in the Middle East come and go, often shaped and determined by regional competition and international intervention. The past few years have seen the normalization of relations between the UAE and Israel, the reconciliation between the GCC states following a four-year rift, and the once-strong Saudi-UAE partnership, built on close ties between crown princes Mohammed bin Zayed and Mohammed bin Salman, come under pressure.

An emerging regional alliance worth watching is that of Jordan, Egypt and Iraq, which brings together the region's 'odd fellows'. Egypt has lost its place as the region's so-called centre of gravity, Jordan was sidelined during the Trump era and has since, arguably, lost its unique selling point as an interlocutor for peace to the UAE and Bahrain, while Iraq left the Arab fold long ago.…  Seguir leyendo »

Respaldo entre monarquías

La crisis de Estado que ha vivido Jordania ha provocado una serie de reacciones de apoyo y solidaridad muy apreciables, debido al valor estratégico para el equilibrio de Oriente Próximo de este pequeño país, de apenas diez millones de habitantes. Destaca la primera y más contundente declaración de respaldo al Rey Abdallah II por parte de Mohamed VI de Marruecos. Una llamada telefónica personal para expresar su plena solidaridad y apoyo total a las decisiones tomadas por el Monarca jordano para garantizar la seguridad del país, tras las detenciones practicadas para evitar un intento de golpe de Estado. La iniciativa, tan directa y personal del Monarca alauí, revela hasta qué punto las monarquías son conscientes de la necesidad de respaldarse en un momento delicado, donde los expertos en conspiraciones utilizan herramientas tan popularmente poderosas como las redes sociales, las noticias falsas y todo tipo de injerencias, con tal de favorecer oscuros intereses cercanos al populismo, el nacionalismo o el separatismo para debilitar a los países y a sus cúpulas dirigentes, en este caso monarquías parlamentarias, entre ellas, la española, que ha recibido la hospitalidad de Emiratos Árabes Unidos al Rey Juan Carlos I.…  Seguir leyendo »

¿Qué se esconde tras las intrigas en el palacio de Jordania?

«No soy responsable por la crisis en el gobierno, la corrupción y la incompetencia que se extendieron en nuestra estructura gubernamental durante los últimos 15 o 20 años, y han empeorado». Eso dijo el príncipe jordano Hamzah bin Hussein —en arresto domiciliario (o más bien, palaciego)— en un mensaje grabado en video que difundió la BBC el 4 de abril.

¿Planeaba el hijo del fallecido rey Hussein, de 41 años de edad, un golpe contra su hermanastro de 59 años de edad, el rey Abdalá? En ese caso, sería un duro despertar para los extranjeros que se alegraron debido al tratado de paz que firmaron Jordania e Israel en 1994 y, desde entonces, suponen que el reinado hachemí constituye un oasis de estabilidad en una turbulenta región.…  Seguir leyendo »

A frame maker hangs pictures of King Abdullah II in Amman, Jordan, on Sunday. (Mohammad Ali/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

The world doesn’t usually pay much attention to events in Jordan. That changed dramatically on Sunday, when state media announced that unnamed “foreign entities” had been caught in the act of “destabilising Jordan’s security.” Just to make matters even more intriguing, Jordanians also learned that the army chief of staff had paid a visit to ex-crown prince Hamzah bin Hussein, telling him that his access to social media was being restricted and warning him to cease any communication with his followers. Security forces also arrested key figures from the tribal communities on the East Bank of the Jordan River, some of whom had worked directly for Hamzah.…  Seguir leyendo »

Jordan’s King Abdullah II addresses the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, in January 2020. (Vincent Kessler/Reuters)

Perhaps there’s a real coup plot amid the rumors that have been swirling around Jordan’s King Abdullah II and his charismatic half brother Hamzeh bin Hussein. But what’s certain is that we’re watching a riveting episode in the Jordanian version of “The Crown” — in which the messy family politics common to most royal dynasties are afflicting the Hashemites.

The most worrying aspect of the Jordan flap is that Abdullah may have contracted the obsession with imagined social-media enemies that has destabilized other Middle East leaders, from Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi.

Tuesday’s order by Jordan’s public prosecutor banning the media from discussing his case seems just the latest example of Arab royalty’s social-media panic.…  Seguir leyendo »

Prince Hamzeh bin Hussein, right, and Prince Hashem bin Hussein in Amman, Jordan, in 2006. (Mohammad abu Ghosh/AP)

Jordan’s Prince Hamzeh bin Hussein — eldest son of Queen Noor and the late King Hussein — was put under house arrest Saturday in connection with an alleged conspiracy to “undermine the country’s stability”. Videos posted on social media showed heavy security forces in the wealthy Dabouq neighborhood in West Amman where several royal palaces, including Hamzeh’s, are located. Some 20 individuals were arrested or detained.

A few hours later, Hamzeh recorded a video message via satellite phone that his attorney shared with the BBC, stating that his phone and Internet access and his security detail were all removed. Expecting to lose his satellite connection as well, he said he was being detained for speaking out against government corruption and its intolerance of any political dissent.…  Seguir leyendo »

Shadi Alnsoor/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images. A Syrian refugee looking out of his makeshift tent dwelling in Amman, Jordan, December 12, 2013

The Haddad family have moved since I first visited them in Jordan last year in 2018: they’re still living in the same building in East Amman, but this time ten-year-old Saber led me past the door of the apartment I knew and up to the next floor. It was cosier, because it was smaller, and therefore cheaper—150 Jordanian dinars a month (about $210) rather than 250 dinars ($350) for the more spacious floor below. Spacious, yes, but the old one felt more desolate as a result. The furniture seemed sparse, if, on occasion, innovative. The baby’s cradle was a plastic vegetable crate, lined with blankets, hung from a water pipe in the ceiling, free to swing.…  Seguir leyendo »

At a protest against the United States’ Middle East peace plan on May 28, 2019, near the U.S. Embassy in Amman, Jordan, a placard reads in Arabic, “Kushner, Jordan is neither to buy nor to sell.” (Andre Pain/EPA-EFE/SHUTTERSTOCK)

The recent visit of Jared Kushner to Amman left many Jordanians worried that the Kushner plan, or President Trump’s alleged “deal of the century,” will try to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at Jordan’s expense.

Less than a year ago, Jordanians were on edge over rumors regarding a Trump administration peace plan, including a potential confederation between Jordan and Palestinian territories — a proposal that was floated as new but was in fact quite old and a nonstarter for Jordan. Even as a political crisis in Israel could jeopardize the plan, regional meetings and summits on the horizon have Jordanians concerned about what the Trump administration has in store.…  Seguir leyendo »

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 »

Syrian refugee children stand in front of their home at Al Zaatari refugee camp, in the Jordanian city of Mafraq near the border with Syria, in February. (Muhammad Hamed/Reuters)

Over the past month, fighting in southern Syria has displaced more than 300,000 people — the most at any one time in Syria’s nearly seven-year civil war. More than 60,000 of these Syrians fled south, hoping to find safety in Jordan. But Jordan’s government closed the border and refused to let them in, claiming the country has already done enough to help Syrian refugees.

Many Jordanians reacted angrily to the government’s position — #OpenTheBorders became a top trending Twitter hashtag in the country as people called the decision shameful and vowed to share their bread with the refugees. Some Jordanians matched words with actions, organizing private relief efforts to help those trapped on the border.…  Seguir leyendo »

Last week, Jordan’s King Abdullah II appointed former education minister Omar Razzaz as the new prime minister after protests rocked the country. And Razzaz has already made several concessions to the protesters over taxes. But more interesting is that Razzaz said a “new social contract” will be a top item on his government’s agenda. What does a new social contract mean in the Jordanian context, and how would this help Jordan to overcome its persistent political and economic problems?

A history of short-lived governments

Dissolving the Cabinet and appointing a new prime minister is a traditional Jordanian response to popular dissent.…  Seguir leyendo »

Jordanian protesters shout slogans and raise a national flag during a demonstration outside the prime minister’s office in the capital, Amman, on June 4. (Raad Adayleh/AP)

Ramadan is the month of fasting and reflection in the Arab world. For many, it is also a month to reach out to others, to make things right. But this Ramadan is like no other in Jordanian history. This Ramadan has been marked by fasting and some of the most massive protests in Jordanian history.

A single-day strike about taxes quickly morphed into days of protests and demonstrations, not just in the capital, Amman, but all over the country. The protests brought down a prime minister and his government, and led to at least the temporary suspension of controversial state policies.…  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 »

Worshipers arrive for Friday prayers at al-Azhar mosque in Cairo on Dec. 28, 2012. (Khalil Hamra/AP)

In a recent interview, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman made headlines with a striking claim that he will try to return his country to “moderate Islam” as part of his broader reform efforts. Though it is unclear what, if any, tangible changes this will produce, his remarks are part of a growing trend among leaders in the Arab world to use elements of the state-sponsored religious establishment, or “official Islam”, to counter extremist ideologies.

Some countries have been far more successful than others at harnessing the power of official Islam to challenge popular Islamist movements and limit radical ideologies. In a new article, we examine how regimes have used official religious institutions in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia after the 2011 uprisings shook the region.…  Seguir leyendo »

How to Treat Refugees With Dignity

Since 2011, the civil war in Syria has killed more than 470,000 people, mostly civilians. Millions of people have been displaced, and nearly five million Syrians have fled, creating the biggest refugee crisis since World War II. By far the greatest burden of receiving Syria’s refugees has fallen not on the United States or on Europe, but on Syria’s neighbors: Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. Together, these countries are hosting most of the five million Syrians.

Each is coping with huge challenges, with different degrees of success. In my visits to those three countries, I‘ve been struck by how much more dignity has been accorded to Syrian refugees in Turkey than in Jordan, and especially in Lebanon.…  Seguir leyendo »

Crédit pour la photographie d’entête: Farras Oran pour SEP. De gauche à droite: Hiba, Asma et Fatima.

En Jordanie dans le camp de réfugiés de Jerash qui abrite près de 30’000 palestiniens, des artistes rémunérées produisent de très beaux châles, coussins, nappes, vestes, sac à main, serviettes de bains, tous brodés avec soin et précaution. Ces objets raffinés, dont Vogue et plusieurs autres magazines ont parlé cet été, sont maintenant vendus à Genève, Paris, Londres, Beyrouth, Abu Dhabi et Amman. C’est le résultat du travail génial de Roberta Ventura, CEO de l’entreprise sociale privée SEP Jordan lancée en 2013.

Le lancement de ce projet inédit est l’aboutissement d’une longue réflexion qui a débouché sur une conviction: l’assistance humanitaire, indispensable dans des situations d’urgence est inadéquate à long-terme car elle instaure une situation malsaine de dépendance économique des populations réfugiées de longue durée.…  Seguir leyendo »

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI, right, and his brother Prince Moulay Rachid in 2015. (Abdeljalil Bounhar/AP)

Of the Middle East’s eight ruling monarchies, Morocco and Jordan are peculiar. Lacking the hydrocarbon wealth of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf monarchies, they carry the reputation instead as moderate kingdoms being guided toward democracy by reform-minded, Western-oriented kings.

For decades they have allowed elected parliaments, legal opposition and vibrant civil societies. During the Arab Spring, they responded to popular protests with reforms rather than repression. For some observers, then, these are oases of stability and enlightenment whose politics mirror Europe’s historical journey toward  constitutional monarchy.

In truth, Morocco and Jordan look good only because the rest of the Middle East looks so bad.…  Seguir leyendo »

Vista aérea de Zaatari, campo de refugiados en el norte de Jordania, en 2012. Foto: United Nations Photo (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)


Jordania y Líbano acogen al menos a 1.700.000 refugiados sirios en condiciones difíciles, lo que está causando tensiones en ambos países.


Los sirios que huyen de la guerra y buscan refugio en Jordania y Líbano tienen que hacer frente a numerosas dificultades provocadas, fundamentalmente, por el desafío que la afluencia masiva de refugiados supone para dos países de recursos limitados, y que no han recibido la totalidad de las ayudas internacionales acordadas. Según se prolonga el conflicto sirio, se hace cada vez más patente que sin un mayor compromiso en el cumplimento de los acuerdos alcanzados en cumbres y encuentros globales, tanto Líbano como Jordania se enfrentan a una mayor inestabilidad interna, que repercute en su capacidad de atender correctamente a la población refugiada.…  Seguir leyendo »