While the pro-West monarchy in Jordan rarely faces any criticisms, thousands flooded the streets in Amman on October 5 demanding real democracy and change.
The Jordanian government and the Arab mainstream media attempted to portray protesters as Islamists to undermine the legitimate calls for reforms. The state’s plans to divide people are not working as protesters have formed a united front against austerity and corruption. There were members of Islamic parties, but there were also people from different backgrounds protesting against inflation and the deteriorating living standards.
Several mass protests have been organized over the past two years. Unlike protesters in other parts of the region, pro-democracy protestors and activists, including leftists, in Jordan have not called for the fall of the regime. Their demands include a real reform to the current regime and an end to the austerity measures, inflation and unemployment.
Early parliamentary elections are scheduled for January 23, 2013. Opposition parties, trade unionists and leftists are planning to boycott the elections because the electoral system remains in favor of the king’s traditional Bedouin loyalists. Despite the support of the tribes’ elder leaders to the monarchy, many young Bedouins are joining the united front.
On the other hand, the United States has sent military troops to Jordan. The US Defense Secretary said the military would help the regime grapple with Syrian refugees, bolster its military capabilities and prepare for any trouble with Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles. However, US intervention will incite more anger within Jordanians, while putting Syria under the threat of invasion in the name of “humanitarian intervention.”