Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Cleaning house

Changes in the Royal court have been announced. The changes seem to fall into a number of categories. On the security front, the most notable change is the removal of Saad Khair. Previously, he had headed the intelligence services, and recently was kicked upstairs to form an "office of national security". The word at the time was that the concept was to to remove the functions related political freedoms away from the intelligence services (the mukhabarat) into this new office, and enabling better coordination between the various security services. Clearly, this has not happened, and the New York Times has given us a black eye for it. My analysis is that Khair's removal has more to do with his lack of achievement rather than being scapegoated for the hotel bombings, which I think most people would conclude. He is being replaced by Ma'arouf al Bakhit, who was appointed as Khair's deputy a couple of months ago, presumably in preparation for this change. Bakhit had previously served as our ambassador to Israel.

The removal of Faisal Al Fayez, the former prime minister from the post the head of the Royal court might be in preparation to install him in the senate. I am sure he would much prefer to stay in the court, but I doubt that his performance as the head of the court was any more impressive than his performance as prime minister. So, he has been replaced by Salem Turk, from within the court.

The changes in religious advisors is notable. Both the head of the supreme religious court, Izzidin Tamimi and the advisor, Ahmad Hilliel, have both been removed. My guess is that in the light of the terrorist bombings, changes in religious discourse are required. A new terrorism bill is being discussed, including sanctions against discourse which justifies or condones terrorism, and the king has stated that "We will not accept for any person, group, or party to justify or defend ideas which feed and support violence and harm to innocent people". Naturally, this is music to my ears. In any case, a new type of religious discourse needs different religious leaders to do it. It will be interesting to see who replaces Tamimi, and how he performs.

The rest of the changes seem to be the removal of deadwood. Hani Mulki was given a job as scientific advisor to the king after a disastrous stint as foreign minister. Apparently, even a job that does not require doing anything proved too much for him. Mohammad Malkawi was given the post after his removal as the head of the armed forces, and Tahseen Shurthum was given the job after removal from the head of public security. It is not obvious they were doing anything. Aqel Biltaji was appointed after removal from the Aqaba Special Economic Zone, after some accusations of irregularities. It is more likely that he was in poor health, as the stories that were later circulated stated. He is an able man, whose greatest contributions were as minister of tourism. It is common for people in high posts to be appointed as advisors for a while after their removal from office, to soften the blow, I suppose.


At 7:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Folks, I think that Khalaf needs our help in arguing with these people. He doesn't have to do everything on his own you know.

See the comments on the post entitled Jordan Attackes: It is not conspiracy nor a “Jordanian Sept 11” by Another Activist

At 7:55 PM, Blogger Rami said...

I've known MR. Bakhit personally, and he is a great achiever, as our embassador to Israel, he managed to solve alot of issues, like prisioner...etc.

I am glad that he's in full charge now.

At 8:23 PM, Blogger Oleander said...

seems like the "deadwood" are now upper house parliament members ;)
I think the whole fiasco around Mulki as foreign minister was taken out of proportion.

At 9:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Deadwood in the senate is nothing new. I think that is what the senate is for, actually.

Obviously, Mulki has attirbutes that defy cursory examination. I which somebody can tell me what he has ever done that can explain why there is always a position for him. Possibly it was his public repudiation of his relationship with Prince Hassan, after the prince was removed from power (and thus no longer of use to the disloyal lowlife).


At 11:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All in all as in any democracy the King decide everything, he shortens and lengthen whoever who wants..! Congratulations for the chosen..


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