Wednesday, November 22, 2006

New minister for political development

I had decided not to comment on the limited cabinet reshuffle today. However, the choice of the new minister for political development, Mohammad Oran, is too interesting to let slip by. He is an Arabist political activist, who previously served as a MP from the Tafila district, and as the head of the Jordanian Medical Association.

He is a member of the “Arab Lands Party”, which describes its principles here. They believe that the “nation’s” identity is its Arabism, that Islam is the religion on the nation, that Jordan is part of the Arab nation, all of Palestine (from the river to the sea) is Arab, that peace can be achieved if others concede the rights of Arabs to a good life and sovereignty over their land, respect for international legitimacy (?), rejection of military groupings and alliances, and belief in political pluralism and public freedoms.

Oran flag burning
Oran on the right burning an American flag
(image from Ammon News).

As with most leftist and Arabist opposition figures, Oran has had no problem getting in line with the Islamists on various issues. This has included a call to expel the Israeli ambassador and the annulment of the peace treaty. He was chosen to be spokesman for the National Coalition for Political Parties. So, last June he was a party to a meeting between the leaders of political parties and the prime minister, haggling over laws pertaining to political freedoms (political parties, the election law and the anti terrorism law). During the meeting he also called for the release of the Zarqawi deputies, before they were tried.

Oran will now share in the formulation of political freedoms' laws and policies. It will be interesting to keep track of him.



At 11:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read the news in the jerusalem post...and came to your site right away, to specifically read your thoughts on the issue but found nothing :)

I'll be back later for more on the Arab Lands Party priciples...

My vacation starts now :)

At 12:41 AM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Hi Iman: Sorry to disappoint you :) I think that this shows interest in real political development, but whether he will be able to achieve anything is yet to be seen. I would rather wait and see.

Enjoy your vacation.

At 3:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

dear Khalaf
will we really see change or just like always, when the Gov. wants to Neutralize some1 they sign him. I hope that he will face that in a good way coz as we say "ta3my el 3ain, bista7y el tom"...

At 6:26 AM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Ghaith: As I said, I'd like to wait and see. My feeing it is not an attempt to neutralize him. However, there are many security and political concerns (many that we don't know about) that may prevent any minister from acting the way he would like. Obviously, being in power is more difficult than being in opposition.

At 5:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aside from everything, there's an experience I'd like to go through before I die in Jordan; that is, being inside the Political DEVELOPMENT minister's office discussing something about political reform and then his phone rings telling him that oops, try again later, collect your papers and leave the office key on the desk!

Now that would sum up the political development inside Jordan, wouldn't it? Now, as for Oran, I guess it's the same old neutralizing policy, moreover, the King might be leaning towards leftists to pressure Islamists some more.

At 5:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good research Khalaf. I think that a person with such a baggage in his background won't make it in other countries, which actually make me optimistic that the government has an open mind and willing to take risk of involving others who are ideologically so different. So I give a credit for the Prime Mnisiter and I will be watching the guy with you :-)

At 9:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It has been a trend to bring some "opposition" leaders, especially leftists and pan-Arab nationalists to the cabinet. The reason may be some political cosmetics, to neutralize them or may be a genuine case of giving the other voice a shot. I think Dr Oran is a decent man, and I happen to trust him unlike Sameer Habashneh who was a leader in a leftist party- In which I was a member in 1992-1998- and then became a minister and unleashed a savage campaign on the professional unions.


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