Israel has grown accustomed to existing in a sea of hostile and unstable nations, but that may grow even worse with the news that King Abdullah II of Jordan has sacked his entire government in response to protests. Seeking to head off a crisis like the one in Egypt, Abdullah has promised a new set of political reforms that will “correct the mistakes of the past”:
Jordan’s King Abdullah II fired his government Tuesday in the wake of street protests and asked an ex-prime minister to form a new Cabinet, ordering him to launch immediate political reforms.
The dismissal follows several large protests across Jordan— inspired by similar demonstrations in Tunisia and Egypt — calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Samir Rifai, who is blamed for a rise in fuel and food prices and slowed political reforms.
A Royal Palace statement said Abdullah accepted Rifai’s resignation tendered earlier Tuesday.
The king named Marouf al-Bakhit as his prime minister-designate, instructing him to “undertake quick and tangible steps for real political reforms, which reflect our vision for comprehensive modernization and development in Jordan,” the palace statement said.
ABC correctly notes that the connections that matter most to the US between Jordan and Egypt are the US itself and Israel. They are the only two Arab nations with diplomatic relations with Israel, which prompts the question of just how coincidental these developments really are. While neither nation is known as a bastion of political freedom, they tended to be more moderate than other Arab and Muslim nations in the region, particularly Saudi Arabia (a US ally that does not recognize Israel), Yemen, and of course Iran. They also tended towards more secular rule than Islamist, especially in Egypt where the government has suppressed the Muslim Brotherhood.
Their relative moderation, as well as relatively healthy middle class, could explain their sudden lurch towards instability, especially in light of Tunisia’s uprising earlier. But if one asks the cui bono question, the answer so far has to be Iran, who at least must be delighted at what looks to be the start of an unraveling of US and Western influence in the region.