King Abdullah’s ‘Crisis Response Team’

According to al-Monitor‘s translation of an article by Al-Hayatthe Jordanian government has formed a ‘crisis response team’ to address the ongoing political crisis between the government and the opposition. According to the article:

According to confirmed information obtained by Al-Hayat from official sources, serious efforts are underway by former prime ministers, senior figures in various government institutions and politicians close to the decision-making circles to form this crisis-response team, which is expected to end the mounting tension in the country and build new understandings between the state and active political sides.

In the official meetings, these figures have called for launching a series of urgent meetings between the government of Prime Minister Abdallah Ensour and the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies, in order to quickly reach political understandings that would end the political stalemate witnessed in the country since the outbreak of the pro-reform, anti-corruption popular protests in January 2011.

Both the makeup of this ‘crisis response team’ and the very fact that the government established it are both instructive about the nature of the current political situation in Jordan. First of all, the types of people on it — “former prime ministers, senior figures in various government institutions and politicians close to the decision-making circles” seems like they are all from the same clique that has dominated political power until now. Additionally, it is worth noting that there are enough former Prime Ministers to form a committee on their own, including three in the last year. In short – the very people on this committee are the same ones who are looking for a way to continue the status quo of repeated promises and no reforms.

According to this article, the committee has made reaching out the Muslim Brotherhood a priority, and Zaki Bani Arshid, a veteran of the Islamic Action Front has said that his party is willing to engage in dialogue with the government. However, he also outlined his differences with the government and said that the biggest risk is elections that result in a continuation of the status quo.

If the government were serious about reform they would not have convened a committee of those most likely to have a vested interest in protecting as much of the status quo as possible. What the regime seems to want is a dialogue that gives it credibility and allows it to make more promises of reform while preserving an untenable situation as long as possible.