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The True Face of Jordan - Essay Example

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By comparison to many other Arab governments, Jordan appears to be a liberal system in which the people enjoy freedoms that are common in western liberal democracies. It is arguably the most democratic government in the Middle East (Wiktorowicz, par. 3). While most countries in the region are highly authoritarian states that do not allow political participation or free expression, Jordan has gradually, over the past two decades, adopted liberalization measures that have moved it away from its prior martial law and authoritarian centralization of political power.
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The True Face of Jordan

Download file to see previous pages... When these factions have become dissatisfied with their economic situation, their expanded access to political participation has been designed to steer them away from a demand for regime change.
Further complicating the regime's balancing act has been Jordan's relationship with the U.S., which has benefited the country from a global economic standpoint but has been domestically swept under the proverbial rug. The potential for close cooperation with the U.S. such as in the areas of trade and military cooperation to upset the populace within Jordan and cause political upheaval is substantial. Ultimately, the true face of Jordan has been that of a politically precarious regime that has been teetering on the brink of popular unrest due to economic and political policies of the government that have been necessary to ensure its survival.
Jordan's emergence onto the ...
The process, known as "managed liberalization," was geared toward creating "an environment amenable to economic reform" (Cunningham, para 21). These steps included a revival of Parliament and restoration of national elections. "Jordan's political liberalization process has included a variety of elements including: the holding of regular and generally free parliamentary elections in 1989, 1993, and 1997; the institutionalization of the National Charter in 1991 which was authored by a broad-based coalition of societal and official actors; and the elimination of martial law by the early 1990s and the legalization of political parties" (par. 22). Other measures included more freedom of the press, increased freedom of expression, and greater freedom for Jordanians to engage in political activities" (Greenwood, par. 21).
The tumultuous atmosphere of popular dissent in the country, brought on by the poor economy and the end of government subsidies on certain staples such as bread and fuel, required the government to ease the unrest by making such a serious attempt at political reform (Brand 5). Thus, the decision to pursue a more liberal system in Jordan was driven by a shrewd political calculation that popular discontent with the state of affairs in the country would be channeled away from the regime by taking such steps. The evolution of this liberalization process, marked by periodic tightening and loosening of the monarchy's grip, would continue to be governed more by these calculations focused on how best to preserve the king's hold on power rather than on any real dedication to the merits of political reform and democracy. "The Jordanian government's ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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