A former Jordanian official demands that the constitution be amended...He speaks of American influence on internal decision
Abadi: The tools that work and employ in Jordan are orientalists and do not live in the country’s situation.
Abadi: Religious tourism must be opened to Iranians in non-compliance with the Caeser Trade Act with Syria.
Abadi: Iran does not pose a threat to Jordan; Israel’s enemy is a friend of ours.
Abadi: There is party engineering and interference in elections.
Abadi: The National Security Council is a body outside the framework of the Constitution.
Translated by: Julia Griffin Thomason
Former Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Mamdouh Abadi demanded that the Jordanian Constitution be amended and the constitutional principle that "Jordan's system of governance is a Parliamentary Monarchy," be reactivated. He described the constitutional amendments in January this year as "a real blow to the Jordanian Constitution."
Abadi, who has held several positions in the Jordanian State, said about the seriousness of the political reform in Jordan, “I didn’t see clouds until this moment” (there is a common Jordanian saying that if she wants rain, there were clouds; generally meaning there is a sense of optimism), “On the contrary, I think there are things not in favor of any political modernization. For example, after the modernization, constitutional amendments were made that were a blow to the Jordanian Constitution, which we are proud of, especially the creation of a new body outside the scope of the constitution, which is the National Security Council. I hope to block this item because it is unconstitutional. Article 45 says that the Council of Ministers is responsible for the foreign and internal affairs of the country and not any other body. This new body will be a matter for the House of Representatives."
“This is contrary to the Constitution, the 2014 Constitution, and the 2016 Constitution, and the recent amendments in 2022 were against the spirit of the Constitution. The Constitution must be amended, the Constitution must be restored, and the Constitution must be returned to the 2011 Constitution and returned to have hereditary royal parliamentary rule.”
According to Abadi, "The lack of confidence in the government is increasing, especially in the last 20 years, and this we hear in every council in all parts of the country, we hear criticism and mistrust, and a lack of a sense of a secure future. It is not easy to gain the confidence of the citizen, because we are not in the right field; any progress in the fields of health and education, for example, comes only through the availability of money and we see that the budget is declining with debt and annual deficit despite the 3% increase in population. Secondly the tools that work, appoint, and employ, I feel that they orientalists who do not live in the situation of the country and with the bitter complaints of the people."
He continues: “Also, what happened in the recent trade union elections was a real setback! Since 1967, I have been living through union elections, and this is the first time I did not attend the elections because I felt that there was no integrity. These elections have been since the days of martial law, the real democratic haven in the elections, and now we’re going backwards. These are examples of the reform situation in Jordan, two days after the withdrawal of the Party Law, deputies, dignitaries and ministers come out and form a party in two minutes! Parties are built and formed with thought, but what is going on is called party engineering, there is interference in municipal elections and even club elections.”
Who bears the economic situation of the Jordanian Citizen? Abadi answers, “Those who govern bear the responsibility, a consensus and an association that no one is exempt from today. Governments shall be reduced by their decisions. The King shall be safeguarded from all subordination. The responsibility of the King shall be governed only by royal will and shall be signed by the Prime Minister and the competent Minister who obtains the confidence of the deputies. This composition of our Jordanian Constitution exempts the King from responsibility.”
He says, "Jordan's problem is a combination of management and resources; we cannot remain dependent on others. It is true that we don't have oil or water, but our oil is tourism, so we can compete, through religious, therapeutic, and recreational tourism, and that can be the backbone of the economy. So why are we subject to American orders that prevent the religious tourism of Iranians? The closure of the border with Syria is also in favor of the US Caesar Act, and we are more affected than Syria by this act. "
Is there any American authority over Jordan's internal decision? "Of course, the Americans themselves have said that they do not want to leave a vacuum for Russia and China, and they want to intervene in the region" said Abadi. “The US ambassador is also intervening because that is his job, and here I say to the Arab rulers - America has no end-of-service awards. There are historical events where the Americans, for example, abandoned the Shah of Iran and abandoned the Afghans. Therefore, our priority must be in our interest, and if America is our ally, it must work for our interests and for the bread of our children, and if they do not do so, they are an enemy country. "
On the presence of oil in Jordan, is there a political decision not to extract it? Abadi denied this, considering it a false rumor. He said, “Historically, we hear about it, but topography and geography have a role. For example, Palestine does not have oil, and there is a theory that there is no oil in the Great Rift Valley around the Jordan River, as most of the oil of Saudi Arabic and Syria is in the east, for example. Searching for wells requires a geological survey and this is expensive, and we don’t have these capabilities in Jordan.”
On the benefits for Jordan and Palestine from the Jeddah Summit, he said, “We must talk about what the situation was before Biden came to the region, all the talk that is happening and the statements in the region that Biden is coming to establish a new Middle Eastern NATO that includes Israel, against Iran. This was the general atmosphere, but it would have been at the expense of the Palestinian cause and Jordan. What happened was positive and full of pleasant surprises, starting from the moment Biden landed at Jeddah airport and was received by someone less than the rank of the minister! The speeches that took place at the summit, first and foremost the speeches of the Emir of Qatar, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the subsequent conference of the Saudi Foreign Minister, who said we have not heard of NATO and Iran is our neighbor. This was a surprise.”
“When President Biden said Saudi Arabia would increase oil production, on the second day the Saudi Foreign minister clarified ‘we are committed to OPEC Plus, which includes Russia; Saudi Arabia defends its interests. Increasing production means a lack of revenue and income.’"
But why is Jordan’s attitude toward Iran shifting? The Jordan official believes that “Saudi Arabia’s position has changed, but my position is that Israel’s enemy is Iran, and the enemy of Israel cannot be an enemy of Jordan, but a friend. There are small details that are not strategic like borders and militias, but we as Arabs are historic neighbors with Iran; that understanding is more meaningful than any hostility between Iran and Jordan. Israel wants the Arabs to be enemies of Iran and Tehran does not pose a threat to Jordan.”