Jordan’s King Calls for Elections, Opposition Pushes Back
King Abdullah II announced that Jordan will elect a new Parliament by the beginning of next year, amid fears of violence as pro-government and opposition forces called for protests this Friday. The protest organizers, including the Muslim Brother and the Nahda party, outlined seven demands for reform. As David Fox and Katrina Sammour point out in an op-ed for The Daily Star, “These are not the directionless, disaffected Arab youth implicated in anti-regime violence in revolutionary Egypt, but rather the well-educated, Facebook-savvy liberals akin to key Egyptian activists and Google marketing executive Wael Ghonim.” The announcement followed sharp criticism from the Muslim Brotherhood after Abdullah’s announcement that Walid Obeidat will become the new ambassador to Israel. The United States had been vocal in calling for the appointment of a new ambassador, a post that had been vacant since mid-2010
Meanwhile, Jordan and the United States signed five grant agreements worth $356.9 million to support development projects in various sectors. The news came days after the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development agreed to activate its “special funds” for investment in Jordan at a meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Deauville Partnership with Arab Countries in Transition.