News / Middle East

US Supports Jordan's King Abdullah Over Fuel Protests

Jordan's King Abdullah (Oct. 2012 photo)Jordan's King Abdullah (Oct. 2012 photo)
Jordan's King Abdullah (Oct. 2012 photo)
Jordan's King Abdullah (Oct. 2012 photo)
The United States is supporting long-time ally, Jordanian King Abdullah, who is facing protests over higher fuel prices. King Abdullah's political opponents are boycotting January's parliamentary vote because of an electoral law that they say favors the monarch's supporters.

Jordan's government says higher prices for heating and cooking gas are needed to shrink its budget deficit and secure a $2 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund.

The announcement sparked protests across the kingdom, where there have been increasingly-frequent anti-government demonstrations during the past two years, spurred in part by changes to electoral laws.

King Abdullah has outlined a series of reforms, including greater parliamentary powers and broader civil liberties.  But most of his leading opponents are refusing to take part in January's parliamentary elections because they say the new rules make it harder for them to win seats.

U.S. State Department Spokesman Mark Toner says the Obama administration believes King Abdullah is on the right track despite the protests.

"We call on protestors to do so peacefully. We support King Abdullah II's roadmap for reform and the aspirations of the Jordanian people to foster a more inclusive political process that will promote security, stability as well as economic development," Toner said.

Officially, unemployment in Jordan is between 12 and 14 percent.  But experts say it could be as high as 30 percent.  Jordan's national debt is equal to about 10 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product, underscoring the kingdom's need for new IMF loans.

"There are concerns -- economic, political concerns, aspirations -- by the Jordanian people.  We believe that King Abdullah's roadmap for reform addresses these.  But certainly, as we've seen elsewhere, there is a thirst for change," the spokesman said.

Analysts say that public discontent in Jordan comes at a crucial time in the region, with Syrian rebels fighting troops loyal to embattled President Bashar al-Assad.  Some of the violence has spilled across the border into Lebanon.  More than 88,000 Syrian refugees have fled to Jordan.

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Comment Sorting
by: Nora Oliver from: USA
November 16, 2012 6:14 PM
the Americans, without doubt, have great information gathering capabilities... but they suffer from idiotic Arabist interpretation of information... people like Vali Naser... Fouad Ajami... Walid Phares... these are a roster of Arab imbeciles with genetic malformation... who did not see the development in Tunis, nor of those in Libya, nor these in the Algiers... Egypt, and now Gaza... and soon Jordan...

by: Anika from: Germany
November 16, 2012 3:54 PM
to all the Jordanians here... your king is not supported by the US nor Israel nor the UK... they all know how deplorably corrupt he is... he is weak but he knows how to lie to you as if he is supported by bigger powers like the US/Israel/UK... he is not supported by any of them... he is weak and just posturing to cower you into submission...

by: Anonymous
November 16, 2012 3:47 PM
this king of thieves and corruption has dozens of palaces all over the world... while we have nothing to eat!!!

by: Anonymous from: Jordan
November 16, 2012 3:24 PM
where is he??? where is the coward??? where are the Billions of Dollars he stole from Jordan??? soon we will have a country six times the size of Israel...

by: Anonymous
November 16, 2012 9:16 AM
come on... we all know that this guy is finished... soon the "Palestinians" will take over Jordan... and we will have to sent UN "observers" to watch the slaughter of the family of this degenerate "king"

by: Anonymous from: Jordan
November 15, 2012 9:30 PM
only US/Israel can save this coward... here he is finished

by: Anonymous
November 15, 2012 8:00 PM
what a sick joke... if you think that oil subsidies are going to save this "king" you are compromising your position !!!

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