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JORDAN: Tribesmen slam Queen Rania, warn of revolt

Queen-Rania-199x300 Three dozen members of powerful Jordanian tribes have lashed out at the country's glamorous Queen Rania and denounced what they called a "crisis of authority," calling for political change and justice against those involved in corruption in the Arab kingdom.

in a joint statement issued over the weekend, the 36 tribal figures also issued a stern warning: If political reform isn't implemented soon, Jordan is likely to face a popular uprising similar to those in Egypt and Tunisia. 

"Political reform is now an urgent matter that cannot be delayed, holding the corrupt and thieves accountable and freezing their assets, prohibiting them from traveling are all part and parcel of political reform," said the statement carried on the Jordanian website Ammon News.

On the topic of corruption, 40-year-old Queen Rania drew particularly harsh criticism from the tribal figures, who accused her of stealing from the country and manipulating and interfering in national politics.

"The queen is building centers to boost her power and serve her interests, against the will of Jordanians," they said. In an unflattering comparison, they likened her to Leila Trabelsi, the wife of ousted Tunisian President Zine el Abidine ben Ali, who was widely known for her lavish lifestyle and high-end hobbies.

Those involved in corruption in Jordan, said the tribesmen, should be brought to justice and stand a "trial of the corrupt who have looted the country and public funds" regardless of their political or business position.

There has reportedly been no response from the royal palace, but Ammon News complained that international hackers had targeted the site after it posted the statement, removing the communique, according to CNN.

If powerful tribal figures turn against the royal family and the government, it could mean big trouble for Jordan. No less than 40% of the Jordanian population is represented in the tribes, and their support and loyalty to the Hashemite ruling family is crucial to the royals, especially in times of crisis and turmoil. 

For the last month, Jordan has watched as domestic demonstrations, inspired by the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, erupted against high commodity prices, unemployment and corruption. After weeks of protests, King Abdullah II decided to sack the country's prime minister, Samir Rifai, and dismiss the Cabinet.

The powerful Muslim Brotherhood movement and its political arm, the Islamic Action Front, have turned down an offer to join the new government, saying they won't take part until Jordan has fair elections.

"We exclude taking part in the government at this juncture and believe we can serve our country better in the opposition," IAF Secretary-General Hamzeh Mansour told the German news agency DPA.

 -- Alexandra Sandels in Beirut

Photo: Queen Rania of Jordan. Credit: Associated Press

Comments () | Archives (24)

I do not think she is doing anything for jordan. It's just for fame

One has to know the history of the confrontation between the 36 tribes men and Queen Rania to fully understand what is occurring. Queen Rania has challenged these tribesmen head on by opposing honor killings, stonings and other practices they support. They believe she is corrupting the government by rallying against these practices. Additionally, they are angry that she does not wear a veil. These tribesmen have yet to produce a single concrete example of these land gifts so we can assess whether they were appropriate or whether they occurred at all. The reality is that they are trying to rally the people of Jordan and world opinion against her because of her fight for human rights.

jordans justice minister calls the murderer of jewish school children a hero and calls for his release.
killing 7 children wounding 5 and their teacher.
some hero,dont these people know the word is COWARD.
thank you.

I am completely astonished with people who demand Facts and evidence.
In a country where people risk persecution if they criticize or even question the monarchy – how can such evidence be gathered and verified?

Isn’t the fact that any criticism/questioning of royal figures is punishable by law evidence enough?

There is more to corruption than theft. There is oppression of free speech. Indoctrination of a classists system where royal figures are held in almost holy regards. There is endless list of titles and entitlements that the royals grant themselves. There is restriction of fair trade due to preferential deals the monarchy (and close elites) suspiciously took part in. And the list goes on.

One only needs to come across a royal convoy, such as that of the queen on her way to pick up the children from school, to realise the contempt the royals hold for the Jordanian subjects. They never observe traffic lights, they drive in scarily high speeds and almost every one in Jordan knows that once you see the black jeeps with the bright neon lights “coming at you” you move out of the way because they are ruthless. They send the message out loud and clear that they own the streets.

What’s also astonishing even more is people in the west celebrating this couple. I wonder how you would feel if you are FORCED to call some one “majesty”, FORCED to move out of their way even though the right of way is yours, FORCED to go out and cheer and celebrate their birthdays when you are a student at school , ONLY because they were born into privilege!

The people who dared practice their rights of freedom of speech were prosecuted in military court and imprisoned. Look up Tojan Faisl, Layth Shbelat and Mohammdah Al Abbadi. A lot of stories were also fabricated to legitimise their prosecution.

The fact that I am forced – as many others are- to write anonymously for fear of persecution of myself and my family is evidence enough. The fact that this article and associated comments thread is probably blocked / censored in Jordan should be ENOUGH evidence.

Dear H, strong words indeed, I agree with you that Enough is Enough.
There’s been a lot of talk about land, rights of Jordanians and corruption, so I ask you to present facts and not accusations. If its true, I’d like proof that her family does own the land, so that we can put this issue to rest.
The actual article quoted opinions and was built alot on assumptions, trying to catch on to the hype of what’s going on in the region. Since this article was published, there have been developments and reactions to it, I hope that you are following. Corruption is a global issue, it happens in Jordan, in the US, in Europe, in Asia.
In 2010, Jordan witnessed several high profile corruption cases being referred to the courts, an indication that the country isnt hiding the fact that we have such cases.So please lets add fact to the arguement, Enough is really enough

ok about my comment below... thats supposed to say "we love our Monarch" etc...

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.. the people in jordan are poor... it is not a country of oil wealth or anything else for that matter. And as for corruption; please tell me how Majdi Yasin (her brother) is worth over $100 million... i want to know.. as far as i knew they were a middle class family in Kuwait of palestinian orgin. Do not tell me he worked hard for his money MY FAMILY HAD OVER 5000 ACRES in JORDAN that HE TOOK AND SOLD... WHY you ask??? GREED ...... and dont get me wrong we love out monarch, however her and her family have ruined our country. WE WANT OUR LANDS BACK! and please dont be under the impression that we dislike her cause she is palestinian... King Hussein's 3rd wife was palestinian and we adored her!

Average Jo You have just proven how naive the average voter can be.
If you think standing at a Glamour Event shows the empowerment of Jordanian Women I guess you think that Pamela Anderson is a great role model for 6 to 10 year old american girls?
Get real, empowerment is not about marketing your looks its about putting forward equality and the right of free speach.
Why is it that people like Free Voice are forced to call this "woman" Her Majesty and to speak out anonomously? Thats not respect its indoctrination, bullying and basic abuse of power.
I wonder how many of these posts are from PR firms?
A Jordanian yes you may be right that a lot of you are for the leadership but there may be a lot more that aren't how about a referendum or just a free election to find out how many ? Now there's an idea!

Alot of people are talking for Jordanians and claiming to be sure of what we are thinking. I am Jordanian,and can tell you that alot of us are for our leadership and our country.
Jordan has its challenges, but there have been achievements too ,we are proud of.

Samer - you can have her and have her husband and all their cronies too. Many Jordanians will be more than happy to see their backs. They can take their millions and disappear. I am sure Jordanians will even sign a piece of paper to say that they won't even prosecute them for their crimes. I think I will puke if I see her again one more time on American morning TV with her silly humus sandwich stories!

This is not about her being Palestinian or female. It is about her influence and the influence of the corrupt regime and the way they are corrupting society. It is also about them being thugs and imprisoning innocent people to settle old scores. It is also about her meddling in political affairs. Even the USA amabassador to Jordan reported in one of his cables (released by Wikileads) how she "chimed in" discussions and that she was providing unsolicited and unwelcome opinions or in other words interfering in the meeting. Here is the link to the Wikileak cable:

The real issue here is that of legitimacy and competency. The Hashemites have had around 90 years to prove their worth and introduce reforms, and they have failed miserably. Time for someone else to give it a go. With what has happened in Egypt, nothing will stay the same!

A Queen who's main message is education for all to end poverty is someone I'm proud of. She may have the glamour factor, but she's also brought alot of attention to Jordan, tourism is up and Petra is on the map.
Alot of a listers and stars are asked to wear expensive dresses by designers, the same support great causes, she might be doing the same

to "the Searcher": please be our guest and have her. Would you be willing to support her lifestyle out of your own pocket like the miserable people of Jordan?

A professional PR team? Could it possible that she is only trying to provide a platform for "empowered hardworking Jordanian women", and showcase their achievements locally and abroad?
She never claimed to be doing it on her own...

36 do speak for a lot more than one imagines. They keep silent for fear of persecution by the authorities. I believe they can also be persecuted if the titles her majesty/his majesty are dropped in any mention of the king and queen. A symbol of classicisms that some Jordanians bizarrely are happy to embrace. Like some of the commentators here who insist on using titles on this cyber space.

As for the work the queen has done, let us not forget that the queen employs a large professional PR team who polish her image nationally and internationally. It is ridiculous to presume that all these developments have been brought about singlehandedly by a queen! After all we would be fools to think that such women would dedicate their full time to the well being of the others instead of enjoying all the perks this life has to offer to them. Jordan has its institutions and organizations run and supported by incredible hard working women. To suggest that one person is responsible for empowerment of women and youth in Jordan is not only ludicrous but also offensive to feminists like me who refuse to be portrayed internationally by a queen who is empowered by wearing dresses that cost more than the average national wage of her subjects in Jordan.

To suggest that the reform can be brought about only by Islamists is also false. This has been proven wrong by the reforms in Tunisia and Egypt.

Unfortunately, there might be an element of male sexism surrounding the tribes demands. Jordan is vastly conservative and women in official post are in a constant struggle to prove they are capable. In this case, can we really blame the tribes for lashing out on the queen when she has proven them right? She has proven to them, that a woman is not fit for politics as she is easily distracted by glamour and stardom. A slap in the face for genuinely empowered Jordanian women.

BlackIris is absolutely correct. Jordanians hate people of Palistinian origins. They are treated like second class citizens. If you are Jordanian you are given things on a plate... unlike a Palestininan Origin living in Jordan. Anyone remember Queen Alia ?

With a deep love for the middle east and it's people my prayer is that the unrest in Egypt is settled quickly. We spend a few weeks in the middle east every year and Jordan is one of our favorite places to visit along with Egypt and Israel as we love exploring ancient ruins. It's amazing that the only wish of the arabic/israeli man in the street is a simple desire for enough work to be able to support their families. In Jordan, however, people appear to enjoy a much better way of life than other arab countries.

King Hussein was a humanitarian and benevolent ruler. Had his son, Prince Hamzah, been of age to rule, he would now be king of Jordan. Such was not the case and King Hussein made Abdullah his successor with the stipulation that Hamzah be Crown Prince. Well, as we all know, Abdullah with the consent of his other brothers took away the title from Prince Hamzah quickly enough. Had Prince Hamzah become king, none of this would have occured. Prince Hamzah cares about the Jordanian people and eschews the glamorous party life Abdullah so enjoys. Hamzah is a humble man who yearns for the betterment of every Jordanian as he has proved from a young age. Abdullah doesn't even speak fluent Arabic and evidently leaves the working of the country to his cabinet while he enjoys the bon vivant life.

This worries me. Notice the tribes said they wanted her husband to keep her out of politics, making it clear that (1) she's the property of her husband and (2) politics is not a realm where women belong. The tribes resent her not only because of her family origins, but because she's a strong women, who displays some independence.

The Queen has done a lot for women in the areas of health, education, and social reforms, and I doubt that these ventures sit well with the very conservative muslims in the country.

I worry that many of these Middle East protests won't be led by reformers, but will be led by radical Islamists. During bad economic times and the uncertainty that brings, religion has more appeal.

Obviously, we don't get to pick what kind of revolts other countries have. But it could be that the Middle East will become more dangerous, not less.

Her Majesty has and is working hard to better education in Jordan,empower youth and women, and promote tourism...along with the will and support of many Jordanians...Jordan is a country of 6 million, 36 do not speak for all of us


There is no evidence to support their claims because there are no means of investigating. Unlike constitutional monarchies across the world where expenditures and income are made public and subject to scrutiny and criticism by the public, Jordanian monarchy answers to no one. No one knows what the royals are paid from tax money. What they own, what businesses they have shares in, if they pay taxes or not. I believe any attempt to even raise the question is punishable by law.

Frankly, I am sick and tired of people who say that only reason for criticism is the Queens Palestinian route! What a laughable and ridicules argument. The Jordanian monarchy, for strategic purposes, never marry into Jordanian families, so any criticism to the current queen or any future queen is bound to be a criticism to a non-Jordanian monarch. A similar argument could easily be made about the king who is also of non Jordanian origins being half Hashemite half English!

The point is- freedom of speech. Regardless of whether the claims are correct or not, the censorship of royals when it comes to their status and wealth is questionable, if they have nothing to hide then allow or even encourage the change of constitution to allow the public to monitor and if necessary criticize their expenses. If they have nothing to hide then I am sure there would be no problem.

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