Wednesday, April 05, 2006


One of the constitutional mechanisms at the disposal of MP's is called the istijwab (questioning), which is guaranteed under article 96 of the constitution. If an MP has information which he or she needs to verify, they can submit a written question to the government, which must be answered by the relevant minister or official.

Typically, this right is used to hassle the government about something that the deputy knows already. In any case, little ever comes out of these queries. This may be due to two reasons. The first is that some questions are based on false information and the issue can be refuted by the government. The second is that these queries are based on real information, and the deputy wants to extort the government into hiring a few of his relatives or some other narrow achievement. In these cases, the issue is dropped as the deputy is rewarded to close the issue.

Typically, heavy weight deputies tend not use this mechanism very much, as they have access to information through personal methods, and like to use more subtle approaches to get what they want. So, I was surprised to read in Al Shahed today that MP and former prime minister Abderaouf Rawabdeh had sent a query to the government concerning the so-called e-government project. The story is not on-line, so you need to trust me or go out and buy issue 298 and look at page 10.

Anyway, Rawabdeh's inquiry concerned "The e-government project, what is it's status, how much has been spent on it, how much has been achieved, how delay there has there been and who is responsible for the delay".

The reply of the minister of communications and information technology seem to have confirmed Rawabdeh's insinuation that something was wrong. In 2002, 41 million JD was spent on the project; 13 million in 2003; 26 million in 2004 and 45 million in 2005, adding up to about 125 million JD's over the period (the total debt of public universities is about 100 million JD). What do we have to show for this money?

According to the minister of C&IT, the achievements are the completion of the second phase to introduce the interrelated electronic service package for the next three years. Please leave a comment if you figure out what that means. They are also working out the strategies and standards within the technical services project. Yes. They have spent 125 million dinars and still haven't chosen their standards. There is a government directory project, the activation of the public communications center and the HQ of the e-government. Twelve government agencies have been linked together and 7700 employees have been trained to use computers.

Now, it seems that we are no where near being able to get any government service or license through the internet. So, what we essentially have are websites for most government agencies. Presumably, government agencies can exchange information easily over their network.

The minister's answer also has a list of reasons for the tardiness in execution. These include the lack of technical expertise, the lack of relevant legislation, and the low budget given to the project, among others. Low budget. Imagine. 125 million dinars, no tangible achievement and the reason is that not enough money was spent. I think we were ripped off.



At 6:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dearest Khalaf,

I posted a reply to your earlier post (Jordan weapons development) on March 29, but it seems you somehow overlooked my answer. I am pasting here and would would love to hear your opinion:


"As for protecting the throne, it is Jordanians who do that gladly."

Wonder what the British Marines were doing in Jordan a few times in the past 50 years, or the Israelis moving their tanks to Syrian border, or indeed the Pakistani Air Force doing in Amman (one being shot down in 1970). Any ideas?

Let's not hide behind our fingers.

At 7:07 PM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Anon: Jordanians are happy with the monarchy and the relative stability and prosperity that it brings.

As for history, it is true that the Brits helped stop the Syrians and the PLO from taking over the country in 1970. This doesn't mean that it was solely their effort. Jordanian artilary badly bloodied the Syrian forces at the time, and it was Jordanians who fought and ejected the PLO.

For a more detailed account of the 1970 events, I suggest you read this:


At 7:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

[ripped off]
is the first time that people in jordan got ripped off.
the geting ripped off evry day.

At 4:10 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Khalaf, how about if the government use blogs for the e-government project. They reliable, free and they only need an hour of training for the 7000 employees that you've mentioned. Just imagine if those 7000 employees become bloggers working from home.This will also save the budget millions of dollars spent yearly on buying coffee and tea products for those employees to drink them during work hours.

At 11:20 PM, Blogger Me said...

Have just finished a 3 month stint in Jordan and missing it already..! Am currently in cairo which is making me miss it even more...!

At 12:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Khalaf,

Different anonymous person commenting on the first comment here.

I read the article you pointed to, and I am wondering, if Jordanian artilery bloodied the Syrians and stopped their advance, couldn't that same artilety have stopped Israeli advance in 1967?

The Palestinians did indeed wrong in Jordan, but it is sad to see someone like you being proud of those events.

I feel ashamed being Jordanian when here in London I find more support for the Palestinians than amongst "indigenous" Jordanians (to whom I belong to). It is sad, it is shameful.

The Israeli friends I know here keep reminding me that more Palestinians died on the hands of the Jordanian Army than on the hands of the IDF. Might not be true, but close to it for sure.

Don't you think its time that we the "Jordanians", remember the role of the British in dividing us from the Palestinians (red/white shmagh vs. white/black shmagh that the Brits introduced to differentiate the Palestinians from the Jordanian Legions in Her Majesty's Forces).

At 12:24 PM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Anon 2: You have no need to be ashamed of me or anybody else. Everybody is responsible for them selves and their actions. As for me, I have no problem differentiating between Jordanians with Palestinian backgrounds (or Palestinians in general) and the PLO thugs who were kidnapping people off the streets. These same thugs later went to Lebonon, and continued their "struggle" over there, and the Lebanese are still paying the price. Jordan has nothing to apologize for, and ALL Jordanians are benefiting from the security which the 1970 purge brought.

At 10:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 2: I think you should know that in 1967 that Jordan was dragged to war because of Egypt (Nasser) and the rest of the Arab world and their propaganda. And if I remember correctly Egypt media kept calling Jordan government and the king traitors because PM Wasfi Altal said that Arabs are not equipped and not ready to engage the Israeli forces yet.
To be more specific, I think you should know that in 1963 a joint Arab forces were created under the command of Lieutenant-General Ali Amer of Egypt the Jordanian forces was a part of those forces and headed by Egyptian command. And after Nasser’s decision to move the UN forces form the Israeli borders in 1967, Jordan signed a mutual defense treaty with Egypt stipulating that Jordan forces were to be placed under the command of Egyptian General Abdul Moneim Riad. The treaty included a special clause to provide air support for the Jordanian forces in the west bank. Furthermore, the Iraqi’s were responsible for providing any shortage of ammunitions to the forces in the area. The Jordanian forces were asked to take a defensive position until they are instructed to attack after the Egyptians wane the Israeli Air forces.
As you might know, the Egyptians Air Force was put down by Israeli Air Force in the first couple of hours of the war. Even though Egyptians were not able to provide the aerial support required to any offensive in the west bank the Jordan forces were ordered by the Egyptian General to attack. As a result of the Egyptians inability of providing aerial support and ammunitions, the Jordanian forces were intended to lose the war. There are conflicting stories about why the Jordanian forces were asked to attack. However, I’ll leave it to you to research, and draw you own conclusion. But I would like to mention that after the war the Jordanian forces in 1967 war were regarded by all parties as well trained and the most organized forces in that war.
In 1970 the Syrian forces were conquered because the Jordan forces were provided the needed support from their allies. And as far as I am concerned, I could care less who the allies are. I think any Jordanian with some sense of patriotism would be proud of what Jordan army have accomplished in the 1970.

At 5:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

whatever you think the palestinian did or did not do, that is all irrelevant, to a white man in america you are all the same, muslim terrorist. what is sad is the disunity that is found among arabs, the reasons that we are constantly humiliated, have foreing power enter into our land and divide us and constantly on the defensive is because we are not united. jordanians have support for their king when he is only a puppet for the united states and bribes them. the reason that jewish people in israel are strong is because they are united and generate massive support thier unity from all over the world, while arabs are just too happy reliving the past and not thinking of the future, not letting go of their differences to at least fight for their dignity which is being stripped away in palestine, in iraq, in lebanon and well as for jordan i dont know if they ever will have dignity unless they step up and demand a reform in their government

At 7:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi... im jeh studying in the philippines and i have this project concerning your country... i need to do a comparative study on brunei, jordan, nepal and cambodia and my theme for comparison is e-governance... do you know people whom might be important in my study and some links to help me gather information about e-governance in your country??? thank you so much :)

if you do have my email ad is: thanks

At 9:14 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

As e-Government is the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to improve the activities of public sector organisations and it also refers to the standard processes that different government agencies use in order to communicate with each other and streamline. You really have provide a great information regarding this. Keep sharing your post.


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