Tuesday, February 01, 2011

those IMF data clearly delineate jordanian vulnerability...,

LATimes | King Abdullah II of Jordan fired his Cabinet on Tuesday and ordered his new prime minister to pursue political reforms to "correct the mistakes of the past" following massive anti-government protests around the Arab world and smaller demonstrations at home.

The new government of Prime Minister Marouf Bakhit has been told to take "practical, swift, and tangible steps to launch a real political reform process, in line with the king's vision of comprehensive reform, modernization and development," according to a statement carried by the state-owned Petra news agency.

In neighboring Syria, the toppling of an Arab dictator in Tunisia and the continuing popular revolt against Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak has inspired talk of staging anti-government protests against the reign of President Bashar Assad.

Several online campaigns have been launched on Twitter and Facebook calling for protests. One group has called for a "day of rage" on Saturday, similar to the Jan. 25 demonstrations in Egypt that sparked the current uprising there. Another Web page with more than 6,000 members calls for protests in Damascus on Friday and Saturday.

"We want to end oppression and torture and insult [to] people," said a 38-year-old Damascus resident who asked that he be referred to only by the honorific Abu Tamaam. He said he would attend protests later this week.

"We want to achieve our freedom," he said. "Syria deserves this."

Jordanians have taken to the streets in recent weeks demanding the government respond to popular concerns over unemployment and corruption, although their demands are markedly more modest than those of their Tunisian and Egyptian counterparts, who called for complete regime change.

The Jordanian grievances have been aimed for the most part at Prime Minister Samir Rifai, who was replaced by Bakhit on Tuesday.