The Middle Eastern state of Jordan is often lauded in the Western
press as the ultimate ideal of a liberal, Western-friendly Arab nation.
Jordan is ruled by a monarchy, the members of which are extremely
popular in the West. Queen Rania al-Abdullah has appeared on the covers
of many American magazines, including Vanity Fair
King Abdullah has signed a number of free trade agreements with Western
states. Jordan, majority Sunni Muslim, also includes a Christian
minority. But do Americans over-estimate Jordan's liberalism? Is it
less Western, and more Middle Eastern, than we want to believe?
- Not-So-Democratic The New York Time's Michael Slackman reports
that King Abdullah has "dismissed the prime minister and replaced him
with a palace aide and
loyalist, dissolved Parliament and postponed legislative elections for
a year." Slackman explains:
While King Abdullah often talks about
human rights and democracy, the
reality here is often quite different, rights advocates say. Last month
the internal security forces were criticized by human rights groups
when two prisoners died in custody.[...]
Jordan’s actions are nothing
out of the ordinary in the Middle East,
where kings, emirs, sultans and presidents rely on elected institutions
to claim legitimacy and give citizens the perception they have a stake
in the direction of the state, political experts said. But those
institutions have little independent power or authority.
- Jordan's Approach Works Reuters's Alistair Lyon quotes Beirut-based analyst Rami Khouri. “When you look around the Arab world, there are not a lot of calm,
stable societies," Khour says. "Jordan is a
model that works, whether we like it or not.”
- Closest We Get to Middle East Democracy Syria Comment's Joshua Landis agrees.
"He is probably right and this is in the face of the king’s
recent dissolution of parliament. Democracy has few real proponents in
the Middle East today." Landis writes, "Despite all the Washington
institutions that are ostensibly designed to 'promote democracy' in the
Middle East, Washington has few real
- Dating in Jordan Reveals Conservative Culture Global Voices writer Amira al-Hussaini explores dating in Amman, Jordan's capital. "For me, the question of the 20- and 30-something singles scene in Amman
continues to sadden me with its lamentable stratification and
fragmentation — everyone having to keep so many secrets. It seems that
most of the singles in Amman struggle with similar issues — disclosure
of who is seeing whom, when to disclose any such liaison, and of
course, the steep drop off between the generations, where family
members’ opinions are significant in relationships between adults.
Of course there is the added complication of Muslims and Christians
mixing on the dating scene in Amman."
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