A tough crowd
Members of parliament were not particularly impressed by Mullah Nader's explanation on the land sale issue. Some even called on him to resign. It is possible that they were speaking to the cameras, but still the same this reflects widespread dissolution and skepticism on the management of the economy in general and the land sale issue in particular.
Nariman Rousan, who has a penchant for saying embarrassing things, accused the government of being run from behind the scenes by Bassem Awadallah. She said that all these deals are "suspicious" and compared Awadallah to Israeli Spy Eli Cohen (who almost became defense minister of
Many people suspect Awadallah to be behind many of the initiatives to sell state property, among other things. However, this is not a personal issue.
Most of the MP's comments on the land sale defense were skeptical and angry. Samih Bino suggested that a "high security official" owns a lot of land in the area, and that Dahabi consulted with him on the issue. Abelraouf Rawabdeh pointed out that once the land becomes under the control of a private company (even if run by the SSC), then it will be out of the jurisdiction of parliament to monitor what happens. He also pointed out that this land was originally confiscated for the public benefit, and not private investment.
In summation, Mamdouh Abbadi estimated that 95% of the deputies were against the sale. An account by MP Bassam Haddadin suggests that the afternoon session, without the cameras, was less rowdy.
Editorial comments on the meeting were also interesting. Majid Toubeh (Al Ghad) highlighted the widespread anger throughout the country as a main driving force for the "parliamentary intifada". The PM's explanations were not convincing, and parliamentarians accused him of insulting people's intelligence and for not being forthright.
Other columnists took a wider view, discussing the debate on wider economic policies. Mohammad Abu Ruman slipped up by suggesting that only the "neoliberal" economic team have any concrete plans, unlike their opponents. Samih Maitah took a different track, and said that everybody has the same plan, although there is skepticism over the intentions of the "neoliberals", and a belief that they don't care about the social ramifications of their decisions.
Anyway, none of these discussions will amount to a hill of beans. If they did, we might hear something different.