Posts tagged Jordan
Posts tagged Jordan
Jordan is routinely and unlawfully rejecting Palestinian refugees, single males, and undocumented people seeking asylum at its border with Syria. President Obama should seek assurances from King Abdullah II that Jordan will not reject any asylum seekers at its border with Syria. The risks to their lives in Syria are too serious to send anyone back at the present time.
Photo: Syrian refugees fleeing violence in their country cross into Jordanian territory, near Mafraq on February 18, 2013. © 2013 Reuters
The Arab Spring, the Syrian civil war what they mean for the conflict in Gaza
A lot has happened since the 2008/09 Gaza conflict. While the rebellion in Syria means the Jewish state can expect little substantial interference from one of its long-time adversaries, the Mavi Marmara incident in 2010 means Israel can also expect little public support from Turkey. Here’s a look at the geopolitical situation in the region today.
Thousands if Syrians, many of them children, have escaped from the conflict at home and are now at the Zata’ari camp in Jordan. Rae McGrath of Save the Children explains how they are trying to give enjoyment back to the children and Nasim Abu Zaid, a young mother, describes what life was like before they arrived in the camp.
Jordan’s prime minister quits suddenly
King Abdullah accused of avoiding reforms and using politicians as ‘buffers to absorb discontent’ after third prime minister goes
Jordan’s efforts to maintain stability in the face of the turbulence of the Arab spring suffered a new blow on Thursday when the prime minister resigned – the third time this has happened in the last 18 months.
Awn Khasawneh submitted his resignation without warning after six months in office following a backlash against proposed electoral reforms in the western-backed kingdom that were seen by critics as an assault on civil liberties. A statement from the royal palace said the resignation had been accepted, without elaboration.
His replacement is Fayez al-Tarawneh, who was prime minister in the late 1990s. Jordanian responses to the news suggested it would not be seen as a significant change.
In his public appearances, King Abdullah has acknowledged pressure for reform in the spirit of protests across the Middle East and North Africa but he has been widely criticised for failing to set a timetable to allow the formation of governments based on a parliamentary majority.
Over the past 15 months Jordanian demonstrators have demanded political and economic changes, official accountability and an end to corruption.
Overwhelmingly peaceful protests have never seemed to threaten the regime. But Jordan’s problem is that, unlike Saudi Arabia, it does not have the financial resources to buy off dissent.
“Jordan will seem ‘stable’, until it’s not. And then it will be too late,” commented Middle East analyst Shadi Hamid of the Brookings Doha centre on Twitter.
Labib Kamhawi, a Jordanian analyst, predicted that the resignation would increase pressure on the king to bring in reforms. “There will be increased tension between the palace and popular movements seeking reforms,” Kamhawi told AP.
In a recent report the International Crisis Group criticised Abdullah’s responses. “The king has shuffled cabinets and then shuffled them again, using prime ministers as buffers to absorb popular discontent,” it said. “He has charged committees to explore possible reforms, but these remain largely unimplemented.”
Pictured: Jordan’s former prime minister Awn Khasawneh, who stepped down on Thursday without warning. He had been tasked with bringing in political reforms. Photograph: Khalil Mazraawi/AFP/Getty Images
For Fleeing Syrians, Jordan Offers Bare-Bones Refuge
If you’re trying to escape the turmoil in Syria for the calm in Jordan, you have two choices.
You can go the legal way. Just get in a car and try to drive across the border. But that’s not very easy these days. The Syrian government isn’t letting many people out.
Or you can try the illegal way. Wait until nightfall, climb through a barbed-wire fence. It sounds dodgy, but if you make it over, you’ll actually be welcomed by the Jordanian army. Troops will take your name, give you a drink of water, let you rest.
After that, though, you’re on your own. You might end up in an apartment building that’s become a kind of holding pen for hundreds of Syrians near the border.
About 20 men are staying in one room of the run-down building. They all came from the same village in southern Syria. They don’t want the name revealed, because they are afraid the Syrian government might find out they’ve escaped and punish their families back home.
A Familiar Story
Their story is similar to those of many others who have fled the troubled country. About a month ago, a group of soldiers from their village defected from the Syrian army, refusing to fight for the government. They came back home and started defending their village against security forces, who were, according to these men, arresting and torturing anyone suspected of opposing the government.
One man who wanted to be identified only as Abu Ammar says defectors managed to take control of the village for about 15 days. Then the army stormed it with tanks and mortars, and some of the men fled to Jordan.
The only assistance the men can get right now is at a private Islamic charity. Recent arrivals crowd around the bearded director of the charity. He tells the men he has no cash to help with the rent, but he can provide bags of food.
This is the problem for refugees in Jordan. On the one hand, Jordan is more open to new arrivals than any other country that borders Syria. Yet the government doesn’t have much to offer.
Jordan is already a country of refugees. It has hosted Palestinian refugees for decades. And hundreds of thousands of Iraqis came here after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. Jordan calls them guests and allows them to go to government schools and hospitals for free.
But its resources are limited.
Pictured: A family of Syrian refugees in a camp set up near the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the Syrian border. Jordan has welcomed Syrian refugees, but has limited resources to help them. Khalil Mazraawi/AFP/Getty Images
Jordan’s king receives Hamas leader
Khaled Meshaal makes first official visit since he was forced to leave the country in 1999.
Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal is in Jordan on his first official visit since he was forced to leave in 1999 for what authorities called “illicit and harmful” activities.
The trip on Sunday by Meshaal, who was accompanied by Qatar’s crown prince, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, is seen as a rapprochement between the Jordanian monarchy and the Palestinian Islamist movement.
Jordan’s King Abdullah II held talks with Meshaal, who is usually based in Damascus, and his five-member delegation of top Hamas officials including deputy chairman Mousa Abu Marzouk. Sheikh Tamim attended the talks as a mediator.
Pictured: King Abdullah (R) meets with Khaled Meshaal (L) and Sheikh Tamim at the Royal Palace in Amman [Reuters]