Around three in the afternoon, Jordanians get angry about how bad their lives have become, a drive-time radio show in Amman called Call Rainbow Street, and sincerely complain about the lack of work and economic hardship caused by the coronavirus epidemic.
But in recent months, the show’s popular host Mohammad Ershan has noticed something he has never seen before. The conveners blamed King Abdullah, an ally of the West and a moderate power who has been in power for 22 years, for their grief.
“People are now saying that the king has been blamed for all the nepotism, corruption – they are now saying this out loud on the radio, in the protests,” Ershan said.
King Abdullah wrote down what he described this week Attempted sedition His own half-brother – the charismatic young prince who has become embroiled in deep resentment among the growing poor in the small kingdom.
Jordan has a population of 10 million, with 3 million refugees and guest workers in the Israeli border, the occupied West Bank, Syria and Saudi Arabia. The unprecedented drama raises concerns about the stability of the wealthy Hashemite kingdom, which has been run by the same family since 1922.
Much of the sedition attempt remains unknown. King and his government say Prince Hamzah, the 41-year-old son of the late King Hussein of Jordan and his successor until his fall in 2004, has moved away from public criticism of the government’s failure to act. They say he is working with a former finance minister in a relationship with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Prince Hamzah “is in my care”, the king described a form of house arrest for his honest brother on Wednesday, saying there was an attempt at sedition.
As intense investigations continue, 17 people, including former finance minister Bassem Awdallah, who was once the head of state and a member of the prince’s staff, were arrested.
Jordan’s economic woes, however, remain in plain sight, and Prince Hamza has resolved issues that have made his popularity unresolved.
Even before Jordan sank into the epidemic, it was deeply teddy, growing barely 2 percent a year, and one in four working-age people was unemployed. One year later – after the death of nearly 600 crore coronaviruses and a severe lockdown – almost half of the country’s youth are unemployed after the fall of tourism.
Jordan’s economy has been plagued by external factors – conflicts in Syria and Iraq have blocked trade routes and markets while sending tens of millions of refugees across the border – repeated changes of government have also disappointed investors, said Majen Hammoud, vice-chairman of the Jordan Economic Forum. “Successive governments have missed great opportunities that could have a very significant impact on Jordan’s unemployment crisis,” he added.
In the midst of a weekend recording, the prince criticized corruption and nepotism that the people of Jordan regularly join in their failure to find jobs. Radio host Ershan said, “Prince Hamza was smart – he used the language of people on the streets who think their lives are consistently lagging behind,” said radio host Ershan.
For decades, subsequent Jordanian governments – with King Abdullah as the 14th prime minister during his 22-year rule – have promised financial institutions such as the IMF, as well as more jobs and reforms to the economy dependent on US aid and tourism, as well as tourism revenue.
In reality, however, they have moved slowly, warning of unrest in the tribal south that erupted in protests after the IMF’s directive was cut in 1979, analysts said. The reorganization of the militaryly isolated Bedouin tribes, which counted the army for employment in 2011, was almost induced by Jordan’s own Arab coup. In 2018, mass protests delayed the resignation of the Prime Minister and the planned tariff hike.
The epidemic has only exacerbated these challenges. Jordan’s banks remain relatively healthy – with deposits rising to just ৫০ 50 billion by the end of 2020 – but this has pushed small businesses deeper into debt, the World Bank said.
In Amman, 59-year-old Mazdi Mutlaq Yasim runs a small women’s clothing store, leaving another high-end store inside a shopping mall that closed during the Kovid.
Still renting a mall for supervision and her son’s education in the UK, her two daughters have money at a university for college fees. While his job was limited before he graduated from college in the 1980s, he had no children.
“We need help, but we know the government can’t help us – it’s a poor government,” he said. “It’s too bad to see the future and to admit it at my age, it makes me very sad – sometimes I can’t breathe.”
Lockdowns have hurt government revenue as a result of most sales tax revenue. As a result, it will fight to continue creating public sector jobs that have helped maintain Bedouin loyalty.
Outside of Amman, a small tribal leader said he had traveled to the capital with 100 resumes in hopes of finding a job for at least one fellow tribe, but he had not been named in five years.
“There was a time when you could promise your son’s future, and help him get married and send him out into the world,” she said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Without a reliable public opinion poll, it is difficult to assess the popularity of Prince Hamza. (“We all love her,” said a group of young women in a coffee shop at a high-quality hotel in Amman. “She’s amazing.”) The prince, however, is unrefined.
Professor and columnist Amer al-Sabaileh said, “Prince Hamza had no role in running the country.” He shows them [ tribal leaders] Marriages, their janazas, sometimes driving their own cars – images of the (late) King Hussein.
Al-Sabaileh said it would be difficult for King Abdullah to find a post-Kovid economic landscape after conducting disagreements without alienating Western donors, al-Sabaileh said. “The real challenge for Jordan has not yet come,” he said.