The parliamentary elections in Jordan on Jan. 23, 2013 failed to produce a clear answer as to the impact of the Arab uprisings on the Kingdom's real balance of power between the establishment, headed by King Abdullah, and the opposition, led by the Muslim Brotherhood. Both sides stayed deeply entrenched in their initial positions, with the King insisting on holding the election within the limited changes he agreed to, and the Brotherhood insisting on boycotting it given the government's refusal to accept its demands regarding amendments to the election law.
Jerusalem Post Palestinian affairs correspondent Khaled Abu Toameh has recently been writing prolifically on the oppression of the Palestinian people. Unusually for an Arab writer broaching this subject matter, while he does have some criticisms of Israel, the Israelies are not the primary objects of his criticism. In fact, the oppression that he is exposing comes at the hands of the Jordanians, the Syrians and even fellow Palestinians.
One of these pieces noted the redoubled efforts by the Jordanian King to marginalise Jordan's Palestinian population -- which he sees as a threat to his hold on power:
In 2009, Amman quietly began revoking the Jordanian citizenship of thousands of Palestinians, triggering strong protests from human rights organizations and pro-Palestinian groups around the world. ...
An AFP report yesterday indicated that, as predicted, Hamas and Fatah are dragging their feet on actually implementing the latest reconciliation deal.
This suggests that the current deal will go the way of the three previous deals: all have been introduced to much fanfare and then quietly lapsed as, once away from the public eye, no agreement could be reached on how to actually implement the requirements. The reason for this is that while "Palestinian unity" as an idea is appealing to both factions, they...
In December 2011, reports from several directions converged to suggest that Hamas is abandoning the sinking ship of Syria: that many senior cadres have already settled in Gaza and only the upper echelon of leadership that bears symbolic meaning still remains in Damascus. By and large those reports are correct. At the same time, Iran has cut its subsidy to Hamas, which now relies mostly on revenues from commerce through the smuggling tunnels, which can hardly support the Gazan economy.
Despite mass violence in Libya, Syria, and Yemen, and leadership changes occurring in Egypt and Tunisia, Jordan has remained relatively quiet, with only limited protests and few deaths. As the Guardian points out:
Jordan has seen sporadic unrest since January but only on a small scale. Opposition demands - supported by youth groups, civil society organisations and Islamists - are for changes within the framework of the Hashemite monarchy. King Abdullah has pledged to pursue reforms that would allow the formation of future governments based on an elected parliamentary majority but gave no date. The slogan "the people want the reform of the regime" was in striking and deliberate contrast to demands elsewhere for the "overthrow" of rulers.
But does a recent act of police brutality signal a shift in Jordan?