tv NEWS LIVE - 30 Al Jazeera June 4, 2018 12:00pm-12:33pm +03
see crossings from north africa obviously these are emergency centers my interest is to work in order to reduce the number of people arriving increase the number of deportations this isn't easy to do nor is it possible to do in a quarter of an hour but in the coming weeks we want to give new signals to cut costs and cut my good attention durations jordan's prime minister may be forced out after days of anti austerity protests in the capital amman sources have told al-jazeera that king abdullah will ask you to resign in a meeting at the royal palace the united nations is calling for calm in mali after dozens of people were injured during anti government protests opposition figures accuse security forces of firing live ammunition at demonstrators which the government denies many are calling for transparency in next month's presidential poll when president abraham kater seeks reelection those are the headlines the news continues on al-jazeera but first it is inside
story. the to. be in the am i am. i am coming with the arrow with. am. the biggest anti-government protest in jordan in here tax wise it's the cost of living else terry to measure stoking demands for the prime minister to resign what role are regional powers playing in the crisis this is inside story.
hello and welcome to the program fully back to hundreds of jordanians have spent the past few days voicing their anger at proposed tax increases and what they say is yo ready intolerable high cost of living they accuse a government of covering up failed economic policies and demand the resignation of prime minister. jordan's economy has struggled in recent years because of the conflicts in neighboring syria and iraq and a shortfall in foreign aid so can a compromise be reached to avert a full blown crisis but back question to our guests in just a moment but first how the hawks reports. they're the largest anti-government rallies in five years in what's regard as one of the most stable middle east countries the protest movement initially started by trade unions has swelled nationwide as jordanians show their frustration. ostrom up with the how local white citizens now have no power the searching for the children's daily food
women are looking in garbage containers to feed their kids and every day we are surprised by rising prices and you texas the problem is not just the tax law the jordanian citizen right now. his pockets are empty are completely empty. saw the government has to listen. to the sound of the people jordan is one of the most expensive. countries in the region and on the top of the wards two with no resources that's on just for the people of jordan. the increase in sales tax and employees being taxed more has infuriated the protestors and they want the government to resign king abdullah has stood by prime minister hani milky despite calls to fire him the king's been instead calling for talks between m.p.'s and government ministers but moki is under international pressure to reform jordan's economy and cut its thirty seven billion dollar debt that is equivalent to ninety
five percent of g.d.p. and then. the international monetary fund approved a seven hundred million line to jordan two years ago to lower public debt and increase growth jordan relies heavily on financial help from the u.s. u.a.e. and until recently saudi arabia which has cut funding king abdullah is a key u.s. ally in the strategically important region which borders syria israel and iraq with regional time or has worsened the kingdom's money problems and it sheltering one point four million syrian refugees that according to the hashemite government and those refugees look no closer to returning home. it's also has a large population of refugees from the war in iraq plus two million palestinian refugees have settled in the kingdom the the king recently reversed plans to raise petrol prices fall in protest and these latest protests against austerity measures are further demands for change. their.
well let's bring in our guest joining us from amman is dhoni an independent journalists focusing on middle east and palestinian affairs in beirut we have rami koori senior fellow and professor at the american university of beirut and here in doha ibrahim for a hot associate professor in conflict resolution at the doha institute for graduate studies thank you all welcome to inside story let me see if i can start with you in amman the protests over austerity measures in jordan have been going on for some time now until now they've been fairly small in scale and hadn't spread so why has the discontent in your opinion finally boiled over. well it's an accumulated feeling of anger and frustration among all centers of and all classes in jordan that. they can consider it if governments have been
dealing with the jordanian citizens with total disregard no accountability nonsense of good governance or no sense of the concept of social justice so the income tax deferred income tax was just a trigger that just brought everything to the surface and united many people including people who are have been staunch loyalists and have been critical of the opposition in the past they've brought them out on the seas especially among young people if you can i go i see new i see i meet new people who've never thought would go on the sheets to them to protest against the jordanian government and they're sending not only the sending the palace a message that enough is enough so what then lam is has been the government's response to the protests and more specifically what has the king's response dollars response been to the discontent is a fully aware of just how angry jordanians are right now. frankly again i don't
know and i'm not sure because there are no there's nothing to suggest that he's aware he made a statement during a meeting of the higher council political counsellor a pretty policy paralysis council saying that people shouldn't be left alone to gird the responsibility and the burden of the debt and the crisis but in effect all measures including price hikes. sis taxes horrendous service taxes and the float income tax i have no sense if he has a sense of the depth of the anger because i don't think so because otherwise there would have been a revision announcement that he. ready to revise all policies to assist all police is while us for the prime minister every time he speaks he provokes more people into joining the protests the king has to understand that unless there is
a fundamental revision of the policies they'll be no quite into ok rami khouri in beirut your thoughts what do you see as the root cause of this crisis in jordan and is the conflict in syria only to blame for the economic problems and the situation that jordan has been faced with in recent years. i've lived in jordan for about thirty years and from the seventy's till the early two thousand and six period several of these waves of demonstrations and i was there just a few days ago for four days and talked to many people in the government and outside the government so my impression is that this is a structural chronic problem in jordan because the the fact is that the central government has been unable to make any tangible lasting progress on the central vulnerability of the country which is a growing population it was two million when i was there in the seventy's it's now
about nine million with the refugees massive expansion and population and the government can't possibly keep up either with the economic growth rate to provide jobs or with the expenditures to provide essential services including housing security education etc. so this is a problem the jordan has grappled with unsuccessfully for the boat the last forty years there are political reasons for this there are regional tensions wars all across the region and shifting global alliances and so it's a combination of all of these things and it happens over and over again and it's probably going to have the same result this time with the king stepping in changing some of the provisions continuing with some of the austerity measures and then we'll do it again in seven years and i would like to talk a bit more about the regional influence and the shifting geopolitics in the region and the impact it has on jordan in just a few minutes but i want to bring in abraham here in doha for
a zipper on your thoughts on these protests as we said it's not the first sign that we've seen. demonstrations in jordan do you feel that it's different this time around that it's more serious this time around. oh well i agree with that i mean it's a structural problem actually a jordanian economy is dependent now there is a jordanian that is about thirty five billion dollars which is about ninety percent of the g.d.p. ninety percent of the jordanian g.d.p. so it's definitely a structural problem that this did has accumulated all this long without being the government has been able to deliver you know to respond to these challenges in addition it's not only about this but also there is a widespread corruption or at least perceived corruption among the people because most of you look at the slogans there is then this protest most of them talking about corruption as one reason and in addition of course there is the elephant in
the room is the political factor which is the regional pressure that this is jordan is receiving from from the region because of its position on jerusalem and many can be of that i think we will discuss it but that's that's definitely in my view this could. this is probably unprecedented in the past six or seven years actually there were so a lot of protests in the past during the arab spring but i don't think that we have seen this level of protest of protest taking players specially in my view of the reason actually that this tax increase has hit the middle class in jordan. as a result of that we are seeing people protesting and participating in these protests we are seeing communists islamist bathurst you name it from all types of political affiliations joining all these supporters responding to the rejecting
the government increase demanding the government to resign let me just talking about this widespread anger as abraham says there is real. is everyone that seems upset over these issues in jordan there's already been a general sales tax hike this year a subsidy on bread has been scrapped there's been an increase in fuel and electricity prices i'm just curious to know how jordanians are getting on a daily basis and you know what will it take for this to subside what do people want from the government immediately. the living conditions are deteriorating and the middle class the stone was hit hard but if you go outside our man and in some poverty pockets and how man you find that people are really getting the spirit or if visited villages are saddam man of north and south and i was insult oh it's a city. near
a man that has been witnessing for the last two hundred days. nightly protests every night there's people feel that it's things continue like that they will not be able to make things meet and they don't feel that there was a serious effort on the part of the government to find alternative solutions to cover the deficit the easiest solution is to levy taxes and to live in taxes with at a time when there is rising in unemployment and their high prices hike prices they think is unlike other times in the that the other my other friends are talking about it this time around it's not enough to sack the prime minister people are really placing the blame at the door of the palace i've been to the protests and the sentiment is so strong including of people who usually support the state that feeling that is not that the governments the conservative governments are no longer
are no more than puppets for the palace so this is why is dangerous they're placing the blame at the door of the king that and and that there's also a feeling in jordan yes there are regional pressures but how can the king face the region pressure pressures if he are lou if he loses his constituency this is the main question if you don't lose you don't face pressures from america or from other party by. it in it in your feet list. ok let me is let's talk about these regional precious and why what happened in jordan matters is just graphical position and regional role have shaped foreign policy and been crucial to internal stability king abdullah's hashemite dynasty is the custodian of sacred sites in jerusalem he's angered the u.s.
by criticizing donald trump's decision to recognize u.s. them as israel's capital america spends nearly one point three billion dollars in jordan every yes money sends every year to jordan bases in the kingdom are launching pads for u.s. military operations the jordanian government partially supported the saudi arabia led. by downgrading ties but the jordanian embassy wasn't closed a five year aid package worth around three point six billion dollars from the states ended eighteen months ago so rami khouri to what extent is what's happening regionally and you know the shifting geopolitics of this region affecting and impacting what we're seeing in jordan right now this current crisis. it's affecting it very much in fact it's one of the several new developments that make this set of demonstrations and this wave of popular protest more significant and more dangerous
than all the previous ones the first thing is that historically meaning from say the fifty's on whenever you had anger inside jordan economic stress there the government the king king hussein in the past and king abdullah more recently always could find some counterbalancing power to come in and give them a couple hundred million dollars five hundred million dollars didn't vestments and patch up the deficit they can't do that anymore because all of the critical elements around them that supported them the e.u. the americans the saudis the go for something the japanese others they've pretty much either maximize what they can give or they've gotten tired or they don't have good relations with jordan as close as as they used to the second thing is the outlet you had for hundreds of thousands of jordanian workers to go work in the gulf and other places to compensate for the lack of jobs at home that doesn't exist anymore and third thing is the political position taken by the saudi intimate out they and other leaders trying to create
a new arab leadership that is close to the israelis that close to trump pressuring cut wanting to remake the arab world in the scimitar the jordanians don't go along with this the government and the people don't particularly want to be part of this new process so there is no mechanism anymore today for jordan to find relief in regional or global partners as it used to in the past and that's why they felt they had no option option other than to go to the i.m.f. if i can just add to that one other point to which is at the popular level what's happening in jordan i was exactly what happened in the arab uprisings in this psyche of ordinary people i don't mean the results will be the same but people the reason people are so angry is because they perceive now that there is no so. safe savior coming there's no sucker coming there's no relief coming to help them and they a lot of people see themselves in perpetual poverty of vulnerability and marginalization for generations to come that wasn't the case in the past but they're starting to be
hundreds of thousands of jordanians who feel this and that's what we're seeing every in free at your thoughts on these external forces and powers and their role in the current crisis in jordan some analysts have said jordan stands over jerusalem has been a source of tension with saudi arabia which as we have seen recently is increasing be toeing washington's line is there a direct connection to be made between the kingdom stands on jerusalem and its current economic woes well in last february king abdullah was meeting with students from the universe they were jordan and he spoke a clearly about this he said that we are under tremendous of pressure economic pressure as a result of our position on jerusalem and he went ahead to say that jerusalem will always be a good line for us so they've in italy jordan has not subscribed to the this forming alliance. in the region on the issue of jerusalem from the get on and all
of that and what's called the ultimate deal the american saudi is via the alliance . king abdullah has refused to be part of this king abdullah was someone to riyadh just before the fall i see. of islamic cooperation summit in istanbul in riyadh was someone that we had on was as not the goal of this summit and he went actually from riyadh still it was the ball in an open defiance to the regional pressure on the issue of jerusalem and he maintained his position that jerusalem we have not compromising on jerusalem we will.