As in many countries across the Middle East, protests demanding economic and political reforms have been held in Jordan in recent days some estimates peg unemployment at up to 30 percent in the kingdom, which is naturally kind of irksome and King Abdullah II, a staunch U.S. ally, wants to make sure they never reach Egypt-like levels. He announced today that he's replacing his prime minister and giving the new one, Marouf Bakhit, a mission "to take practical, quick and tangible steps to launch true political reforms, enhance Jordan's democratic drive and ensure safe and decent living for all Jordanians." Before anyone gets too excited:
"(Bakhit) is a former general and briefly ambassador to Israel who has been prime minister before. He's someone who would be seen as a safe pair of hands," said Rosemary Hollis, professor of Middle East policy studies at London's City University.
"I wouldn't see it as a sign of liberalization. With his previous premiership, he talked the talk of reform but little actually happened," she said.
Maybe he'll feel a little more urgency this time around, with regimes being toppled left and right. To think, this all started with a fruit vendor in Tunisia.
Jordan's king names new prime minister [AFP via Google]