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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb. 28, 2011 / 24 Adar I, 5771

In Jordan, King Abdullah II getting earful from tribal leaders

By Kim Murphy





Fissures are slowly beginning to take hold


JewishWorldReview.com |

cm Romana, Jordan — (MCT) Faris Fayez grew up hearing about the day in 1970 when his father and other Jordanian tribal leaders summoned the late King Hussein to complain about entrenched Palestinian fighters who were virtually occupying the country.

"King Hussein was two hours late. When he finally arrived, my father stood up — and he used to call the king by his first name — 'Hussein,' he said, 'We feel now that for you we are the cover that the shepherd uses. When you get cold, you cover up with us. When you don't need us, you kick the cover with your feet.' "

The king apologized for being late. He said he didn't know the tribal elders were waiting. He valued their advice. Even better, from their point of view, he unleashed the army against the militants. "A quality man, with a humane view of people," Fayez said.

Over mint tea at his desert home, he turned the conversation to the current king.

"King Abdullah, the situation is not the same as it was with his father. There's negligence in the state. He lets things go. It's like the shepherd that leaves his sheep to go astray. And for this reason, corruption has spread everywhere."

Fayez's Bani Sakher tribe this month showed its displeasure by lining up across the highway between the capital, Amman, and Queen Alia International Airport, blocking the road in protest of the government's use of increasingly valuable traditional tribal lands for development.

Although most analysts think there is little chance of a popular storm like the one that swept Egypt in this quiet kingdom of luxury hotels, impoverished mud hut villages and exotic desert castles, King Abdullah II is facing criticism from a quarter that couldn't be more troubling: some of the tribesmen and military veterans who have been the bedrock of the Hashemite dynasty and are unnerved by the country's large and growing population of Palestinians.

Tribal leaders such as Fayez's father have never hesitated to confront the king privately, but the 49-year-old monarch has faced rare, open criticism in recent months. Since the Egyptian uprising, dissent from leftists and Islamist and labor leaders has escalated into almost-daily street protests and a public letter from 36 tribe members demanding an end to corruption and the king's near-unilateral hold on political power.


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The king has responded by pledging to rewrite the election laws and expand freedoms. He fired the Cabinet and replaced the prime minister with a former military officer and tribesman.

"I want real and quick reform," the king said in a Feb. 20 speech, in which he pledged to investigate corruption, speed up review of the election law and hasten economic progress. "I want quick results. When I talk about political reform, I want real reform consistent with the spirit of the age."

But Jordanians, emboldened by what happened in Egypt, appear to expect much more.

"These are not concessions," Labib Kamhawi, a political analyst and reform advocate in Amman, said of the new government. "The one who appointed the first prime minister who was fired is the king. The one who fired him is the king, the one who appointed his successor is the king, and the one who's going to fire him is the king. These men are mere clerks with high rank. And this is not reform."

About 4,000 Jordanian protesters took to take to the streets of downtown Amman Friday to demonstrate for reform. Their key demands are fair elections and a return to the 1952 constitution as it existed before most power was transferred to the monarchy.

The Muslim Brotherhood, the only real organized opposition in Jordan, boycotted the parliamentary vote last year as a protest against what it said were fraudulent elections in 2007, in which the organization against all reasonable expectations netted only six seats out of 110. Brotherhood leaders, along with other reform advocates, are insisting on a prime minister who is selected by parliament, perhaps in consultation with the king.

"What happened in Tunisia and especially Egypt has brought a big hope — Egypt was the most secure and autocratic regime, and it fell," said Murad Adaileh, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood's executive committee. "People's frustration is increasing because we have started to see a total alliance between the authority of the state and money, which has led to an unprecedented state of corruption."

Privatization efforts have led to complaints that the country was getting raw deals for selling off its golden geese. A businessman with purported close connections to the royal palace landed a lucrative cell phone license for a fraction of what other companies were offering, according to widespread complaints in the local media. Critics said phosphate and potash companies sold to foreign companies quickly showed profits greater than the amount for which they were sold.

"In one year, one profited three times the sales price. This is not just corruption, it is audacious corruption," said retired Gen. Ali Habashneh, who was one of a number of senior military veterans who signed a public letter last year demanding reforms.

Much of the public blame seems to focus less on King Abdullah than on his queen, Rania. The beautiful Kuwaiti-born Palestinian's vacations in St. Tropez in the company of rock star Bono and model Naomi Campbell have not sat well among Jordanians who are reeling under rising food and fuel prices in a capital city that has the highest cost of living in the Arab world.

Public irritation came to a boiling point in September, when the queen hosted an opulent party for her 40th birthday in the scenic desert valley of Wadi Rum. Though some villages in southern Jordan can barely pay for electricity, the party reportedly featured a large number "40" in lights.

The event raised $1.6 million for charity and wasn't that glitzy, said Ayman Safadi, who was deputy prime minister in the government that was sacked this month.

"Any middle-class Jordanian would have thrown a better party," he said. "And the food? I came back and had to order a hamburger because I was still hungry."

Simmering at the heart of the tribal discontent is the issue of Palestinian demography that has bedeviled the kingdom since the 1967 war with Israel.

Tribesmen of Jordanian stock from the East Bank of the Jordan River worry that the growing number of Palestinians who have moved in from the West Bank and elsewhere will erode their traditional hold on money and power.

Although the Palestinian population is officially pegged at 49 percent, most observers believe it has reached 60 percent and is growing. Yet Palestinians typically hold fewer than 20 percent of the seats in the elected lower house of parliament (a figure that slipped to 12 percent in the November elections).

Analysts say true reform will almost surely erode the East Bank Jordanians' hold on power and, in the process, the massive system of public subsidies they enjoy. This is not only controversial but also may be impossible — East Bank tribesmen have traditionally formed the bulk of the army and police.

It means, in stark terms, taking away generations of perks from, as one analyst put it, "the guys with the guns — good luck."

Yet the king's decision to appease the East Bank by restoring many subsidies, raising public wages and appointing a new prime minister from the tribal old guard, many analysts say, is almost sure to slow the pace of economic reforms, crucial to new investment and jobs.

It is in many ways a no-win situation for the king at a time when winning may be a matter of survival.

Safadi insisted that the king remains popular and had made it clear he was committed to reform even before events elsewhere in the region increased their urgency.

Kamhawi, the political analyst and reform advocate, is skeptical.

"The government is not wholeheartedly for reform," he said. "The government considers it its duty now to defuse the tension. And this will not work."

"The issue is not the king, or royalty. We don't care about that. We have so far nobody at all proclaiming their intention to change the regime. But the regime has to accept that this is not an open check to say, 'OK, well, accept the regime as it is.' No. The regime has to change according to the will of the people."

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© 2011, Los Angeles Times Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.