Jordan demos force King to sack cabinet

By staff writers
2 Feb 2011

While global media attention has focused on protests in Egypt, demonstrations in Jordan have forced the Kind of Jordan to sack his cabinet. Meanwhile, President Hosni Mubarak has said he will not stand for re-election in September 2011.

In a day of unfolding drama yesterday (1 February 2011), millions rallied in central Cairo and other major Egyptian cities urging Mubarak to step down immediately.

US President Barack Obama said that Egypt's transition "must begin now" and he offered "assistance" during the process. In a short statement, he said that it was not his country's right to dictate the path for Egypt, but that any transition must include opposition voices and lead to free and fair elections.

But US evangelical pastor Jim Wallis, a long-standing advocate of social justice and leader of Sojourners (www.sojo.net), said his country must learn to be "a little more honest about Egypt."

He declared in an article published on Sojourners' website: "President Hosni Mubarak is a dictator, and has run a brutal and corrupt police state for three decades. Why did it take thousands of Egyptians pouring into the street to get the US media to say that? Or to get the US government to admit that there might be a problem there? How many times have there been reports on Egypt’s tyrannical government’s behaviour and systematic violation of human rights over the last 30 years? Why has the US government provided more aid to Egypt’s repressive regime to any other country except Israel? Why don’t many Americans even know that? And why have American presidents and Secretaries of State consistently wrapped their arms around Hosni Mubarak and never bothered to mention his regime’s brutal repression?"

Massive 'people power' protests in Tunisia have already brought about an element of regime change. In Egypt, despite much confusion about the current situation, it looks as if a new political settlement is also on the way.

In Jordan, meanwhile, protesters have been demanding action on unemployment and rising prices, plus the right to elect the Prime Minister.

King Abdullah responded by firing d his cabinet and appointing a new Prime Minister - Marouf Bakhit. The PM has been charged with carrying out "true political reforms", but the Islamist opposition has rejected the appointment and further machinations will follow.

Mr Bakhit, a retired army major-general, served as Jordan's Prime Minister from 2005 until his resignation in 2007, reports the BBC. He also served as the kingdom's national security adviser and its ambassador to Israel.

[Ekk/3]

Keywords: egypt | jordan | tunisia
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