Jordan and the Faltering Fortunes of the Arab Spring

(Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies-Tel Aviv University) Asher Susser - The Arab Spring initially emboldened the opposition in Jordan to demand sweeping reform. In early 2011, a seemingly unstoppable revolutionary tide was bowling over regimes one after the other. But the longer-term outcomes of the revolutions in Egypt and Libya, and especially the sectarian bloodbath in Syria, were horrifying to most Jordanians. More than 400,000 Syrians are currently seeking refuge in Jordan, as did about 500,000 Iraqis before them. Spokespersons for the regime could ask with considerable justification what it was that Jordanians had to complain about in their oasis of stability which, moreover, did not share their neighboring regimes' reputation for brutal repression. Indeed, less than a handful of protesters have been killed by the security forces in over two years of demonstrations in Jordan, due to the strict orders of the king not to use excessive force. While these demonstrations reflect the perseverance of the opposition and the depth of popular disaffection, they also indicate the staying power of the regime. Protests still take place, but at less regular intervals and with dwindling participation. The writer, a professor in the Department of Middle Eastern and African History at Tel Aviv University, is a senior research fellow at the Dayan Center.

2013-05-14 00:00:00

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