Ammon News, View Points

Small businesses and Jordan economic growth.

[8/15/2019 6:46:35 AM]

AMMONNEWS - By Ph.D Hussein Albanna - Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are considered as one of the most effective economic growth driver. At the global level, it is good to know, for example, that 97% of the businesses in UK are SMEs, also, it is a fact that the SMEs work as the base of innovation in USA. World wide, SMEs are the biggest jobs creator. Jordan, with 9 millions of population, may considered relatively as a "small market", which means big diffeculty in getting the benefits of mass production and economies of scale, in this case, multi-national corporations (MNCs) favor exportation to like these markets, instead of investment. In case of Jordan, there is a great opportunity for foreign direct investment (FDI), specially in sectors like tourism, banking, education, and health care services. On the other side, as domestic SMEs, we have greater opportunity in success & growth if we invest more in quality enhancement, innovation, and meeting world standards, then, exportation will be ultimately the best chance. Government should work seriously to support local ventures and entrepreneurship, via spending more on funding startup's costs (with low interest rate loans), preparing feasibility studies, medical insurance, social security coverage, and taxation exemption. By that measures government will minimize the risk of failure and the cost of establishment. Since 1989, Jordan started its economic reform program with World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Inspite of privatization, market liberalization, and taxation restructuring, Jordan still suffering from stagflation, high unemployment rate, high public debt rate, and low GDP growth. Most of the reasons of that negative situation came from neighbouring countries instability and imported crude price burden. Small businesses require low margin of finance, at the same time they create many jobs and innovations. Risk of venture failure is the major inhibitor in front of entrepreneurs, government has the major role in this risk mitigation.

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Weathering the crises

[7/23/2019 9:59:11 AM]

AMMONNEWS - By Khaled Al Shogran - It is rare indeed to see any region in the world that is as geopolitically and geo-strategically important as the Middle East. This reality makes the region a centre of attraction of the international powers. In addition to its abundant oil and gas resources, the strength of the Middle East lies in its location as a place where all world’s cultures, religions and civilisations meet. The political and economic importance of the Middle East makes it a significant link between the West and the East. From ancient times till today, the great powers has vied to bring the Middle East under their sphere of influence through direct occupation with boots and fleets or through establishing permanent military bases. In fact, the great powers’ competition has made the Middle East an arena of conflicts and confrontations that serve their interests. The military mobilisation and political alliances against the supposed enemies and proxy wars have turned the region into an open arms market. However, the interests of the people of the region and their right to a decent life or development and peace are absent in these political calculations and competition. Aspects of instability resulting from the superpowers’ competition for hegemony over the Middle East has brought with it many factors that negatively affected Jordan. The most important of which is that it affected the country’s exports and imports, as well as trade and the flow of Jordanian products into Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Europe. The Saudi-Qatari rift has also affected Jordan’s exports and imports. The Kingdom has also suffered from several waves of forced migration due to conflicts and wars in the region, which constitute a major pressure on the country’s economy, the provision of services, infrastructure and security. Its continuation will definitely affect the country’s demography and development plans. On the political front, Jordan has been entangled in multiple regional crises, which have diverted its diplomatic efforts. This has affected Jordan’s policymaking processes, not to mention the negative consequences and pressures resulting from the strife and attempts to mobilise and act alongside the superpowers on these issues. The Palestinian cause The creation of Israel on Palestinians lands in 1948 has been the direct cause of the Middle East’s instability and insecurity. Of course, Jordan was the first country to suffer from the consequences of the creation of Israel as it received large numbers of Palestinian refugees following each war Israel launched to occupy more territories in 1948 and in 1967. What is more destabilising in the Middle East is Israel's determination to change the realities on the ground by taking more land, establishing more illegal settlements and, more dangerously, igniting conflicts through continuing attack on Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem. In this context, Jordan has never suffered economic and political pressures as the present time and all with the aim of forcing the Kingdom to abandon its historic role of internationally recognised custodianship of Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem. It can be said that the most dangerous aspect of the continuation of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Palestinian issue without a just solution for all parties is to keep the door of instability in the Mideast open. This plays into the hands of extremist groups to recruit more followers under the pretext that the efforts of Arab and Islamic states to realise Palestinian independence have failed to bear fruit. The Arab Spring Jordan, like other Arab countries, witnessed wide protest movements that adopted all the demands of the rest of the people in the region, including reform, fighting corruption, public freedoms and improving the living conditions. But these protests did not last long nor develop into any kind of confrontation with the state. This was mainly due to the fact that authorities in Jordan dealt with these protests in a civilised way. At the same time, Jordanians feared the replications of frightening scenarios in neighbouring countries. As a result of protests engulfing the region, Jordan received more waves of refugees, whether from Iraq, Syria, Libya or Yemen, until the population of Jordan, according to the population census in 2016, reached 10 million, while it was supposed to increase naturally to 9 million by 2030. This put immense pressure on the limited resources, infrastructure, services and development plans as well as security challenges associated with refugee exodus. Moreover, Jordan has to face mounting challenges emanating from the presence of terror cells and the spread of weapons. Regional powers The competition among regional powers on the Middle East has played a key role in making the region always prone to instability. There is an ongoing struggle between Iran and Israel to dominate the region. At the time Tehran is working on spreading its influence in the region through the establishment of extremist Shiite militias in various countries and providing them with money and weapons. Israel is exploiting the gap in Arab-Iranian relations to fuel a conflict and present Tehran as a common enemy. For its part, Turkey plays an important role in the Middle East, where it tries to impose its hegemony, although it has strong diplomatic relations with both Iran and Israel. While Turkey is working by all means to prevent the establishment of a Kurdish state next to it, Israel on the other hand is trying to establish an entity opposing both Ankara and Tehran. Israel on the other side seeks to be the dominant regional power in the Middle East, and is working hard to ensure that no country, including Iran, is qualified to possess the deterrent military power that makes it a rival force. Jordan, which suffered from the threat of terrorism and regional instability, has repeatedly warned of regional rivalry that takes its toll on development and stability.

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After meeting in Israel: America may adopt Bottom-up approach against Iran.

[6/27/2019 8:02:56 AM]

AMMONNEWS - By Dr. Kamal Alzghoul - It seems that the US president has returned to the usual path of American foreign policy, and this was clear when he did not strike Iran after the American drone was shot down over the territorial water of Arabian Gulf .In addition, President Donald Trump said that John Bolton is one of the "hawk's Team" and listens well whenever it comes to talk about the US's national security which has no space for errors based on a hasty decisions. Two basic points suggest that the US President has returned to consult the making- decision experienced team in his cabinet ,First, he didn't respond directly to the drone's incident that happened over Arabian Gulf water , which proves that President's tweets have nothing to do with decisions being taken in the White House, because the White House knows well that a comprehensive war cannot succeed without new EU-US coalition as it happened in the war on Iraq and the during the war on Afghanistan. Second, the Russian-American-Israeli meeting, which was attended by US national security adviser John Bolton, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev and Israeli Security Council chief Meir Shabat, came to announce a bottom-up approach against Iran. Militarily, American advisors with Israeli Air Force may begin to clean up Iranian militias in the region, and, it became clear that Syrian theater took the first priority to engage with Iranian Militias in parallel with setting up an economic peace plan for the Arab Israeli conflict, and the second priority would be the Yemeni theater by supporting the Arab alliance forces. In order to avoid all-out war ,America gradually starts to build up an effective policy, so Russians may participate to eject Iran from Syria, and Bashar al-Assad may be replaced if he refuses to do so, but at the same time, keeping the pillars of Bashar's regime is possible to find a transitional political solution in Syria. Therefore, practical escalations between Iranians, Syrian regime and Russians may start. The rhetoric between Iran and Russia may be escalated. "America is planning a dangerous scenario for Iran" Lavrov's said (Russian secretary of state ) and this statement was a message to Iran to leave Syria. The Syrian opposition may take a long-term approach to impose a new reality on the ground. In summary, the economic sanctions combined with the US militarily engagement with Iran's in Syria, in Iraq and in Yemen, represent the new and clear US's strategy which is being demanded by Democrats as well as Republicans in the US Congress. Generally speaking for U.S, fighting Iranian branches on the ground in Syria is the step to destroy the Iranian central regime before it activates the centrifugal force in the Bushehr nuclear reactor.

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Is Iran surprised by American presence in the Arab Gulf!

[5/9/2019 6:13:10 AM]

AMMONNEWS - By Dr. Kamal Alzghoul- When the United States declared that there is no intention to change the Iranian regime, it means that there are many common interests between the two countries. But whenever it comes to talk about Iranian Nuclear Plant the issue becomes about the matter of Iranian expansion in the region. Donald Trump's Administration is not ready to endure the economic costs of any war, in retrospect; Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S forces from Syria and Iraq came to cut the expenditure over U.S Army in the Middle East. Particularly, Showing off forces in the Arab Gulf by sending the American aircraft carrier “Lincoln” with its B-52 bombers is delivering two messages, one to Iran and another to North Korea. First message is to force Iran to stop uranium enrichment and to stop producing centrifuges related to the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant , and another transitive message to keep going in assertiveness to deter North Korean Nuclear Plant. U.S is pushing its allies to participate in stalling Iranian oil exportation to the U.S rivals such as China and North Korea. In the past years, U.S tried to give Iran a high rank to be the Middle Eastern police officer but it failed because Iran exceeded the red line when decided to build its Nuclear Plant .As the semi-conflict between U.S and Iran escalated, limited strikes against the Nuclear Site in Bushehr is on the table of U.S Military if Iran intercepts the international maritime movement through Hormuz Strait in the territorial water . At the end, Iranian insistence on the regional expansion will be the reason for the U.S to extract Iranian regime by force if the Revolutionary Guards leadership in Iran takes the wrong decision to enter the war. In addition, the convergence of interests between U.S and Iran in Iraq may take Iran to rethink its strategy in the region. Eventually Iran may accept negotiation with U.S after ending the show off of forces taking place in the Arab Gulf. Iran Used to the usual presence of U.S in the Arab Gulf but not like the way Donald Trump does, and that was stated by Ali Vaez Iran Project Director of International Crisis Group. Generally speaking, the convergence of American Iranian interests in many places in the Middle East made Iran surprised by U.S recent escalation. So that, Iran may try to renegotiate the Nuclear Deal again to avoid any clash with U.S. The reason behind avoiding the clash is that Iran doesn’t want to lose its presence in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen which may lead to siege Iran by economic sanctions and change its regime by force.

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The Partnership between Europe and the Arab World through the Lens of Jordan

[5/9/2019 5:53:15 AM]

AMMONNEWS - Following World War II, when millions of people lost their lives and many parts of Europe were left in ruins, French politician Robert Schuman launched the process that would gradually unite European countries economically and politically. It was 9 May 1950. Since then, the process of European integration has continued gradually but relentlessly, deepening and widening what is today the European Union (EU) and reuniting a continent which had been split by the Cold War. The EU today is a unique partnership amongs28 Member States shaping a single market of 500 million consumers, underpinned by a single currency (the euro) and the freedom for its citizens to live, work and travel in any of the Member States. But the EU is much more than a purely economic project: the Union is also a political project. This is embodied by the European Parliament, elected democratically by all European citizens to represent their interests with regard to EU laws and regulations. This expression of democracy will take place on 23-26 May, when people will vote to appoint 751 Members of the European Parliament. Over the years, this political project has grown around core values of respect for human rights fundamental freedoms, democracy, equality, and the rule of law . These are also the values that the EU promotes globally through its projects and partnerships with governments, organizations and individuals, to enhance economic growth and foster peace and security, especially in the countries close to us. One stark example of that is the EU’s close relations and strategic partnership with the Arab world, built over decades on the basis of our shared history and common interests. An important step to further this cooperation was taken recently, when the EU and the Arab League held their first ever summit in Sharm El Sheikh to boost the Euro-Arab partnership and address global challenges jointly. During the summit, both sides reaffirmed that stronger regional cooperation is key to finding solutions to common challenges. The Leaders of Europe and the Arab World agreed to promote peace in the world and in the region, and in particular peace between Israelis and Palestinians. On this particular issue, the EU has worked in sync with Arab states, stressing its firm position on the two-state solution as the only way to achieve a just, lasting and comprehensive peace between Israelis and Palestinians. In Jordan this partnership is most apparent. It is a partnership that has been growing since 1979, 40 years ago, when the EU decided to open its Delegation in Amman in order to promote ties in all sectors and support the Kingdom's economic development. Since 2002, this partnership has been enshrined in our Association Agreement, which is built on our common values and aims at promoting our political and economic relations. This association has been a cornerstone in identifying the key priorities that build our partnership. They include cooperation on regional stability and security, including working hand in hand on the Middle-East Peace Process and in finding a political solution to the Syria crisis. We strongly believe in Jordan’s significant role in promoting stability, moderation and inter-faith tolerance in the Middle East. Given the economic challenges that Jordan faces, the most important priority today lies in promoting sustainable and inclusive economic development based on knowledge and innovation, leading to the creation of more jobs for all Jordanians—women and youth in particular. Another priority, fully in line with the Association Agreement, aims at strengthening democratic governance, the rule of law and human rights. Emphasis is placed on our work with both the Government and civil society to promote freedom of expression; freedom of association and women's rights and empowerment in political, economic and public life. The priorities of our partnership are closely aligned with the Government's Renaissance / Nahda plan for 2019-2020. EU projects support many of the plan's concrete actions under its three main pillars, from improving education and health services, to promoting investment and trade as well as empowering the judiciary and developing active citizenship. The EU's enduring partnership with Jordan, an example of how Europe can cooperate strategically with an Arab country, demonstrates how many challenges we share and how our cooperation can help promote peace and prosperity in the region for the benefit of all Jordanians, Arabs and Europeans. *By H.E. Andrea Matteo Fontana, Ambassador of the EU to Jordan

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International Workers’ Day: A Sacred Work is Evoked

[5/8/2019 5:47:41 AM]

AMMONNEWS - By Madeleine Mezagopian - Many countries worldwide dedicate today to workers, celebrate and appreciate their roles and achievements, albeit leaving behind a sacred hardworking workers whose profession is overlooked if not undermined. “I don’t work, I am a housewife.” “We support and encourage the entry of women into the labor market with the establishment of kindergartens wherever women have work opportunities.” The former statement is the usual response of mothers who themselves underestimate their most demanding multifaceted role, keeping in mind one bread earner, whether men or women, is a characteristic of today’s considerable number of families worldwide including Jordan. Whereas the latter statement was accentuated by a speaker during the centennial celebration of ILO. While women themselves underestimate their roles as leaders of families, meeting the needs of their children and their spouses and attending to the essentials of the house at large including managing house economy. Those advocating the status of women in the labor market, instead of introducing this role as one of the most challenging labor of diverse responsibilities, promotes moving this profession from the family institution to other educational institutions. However, the great contributions of these advocates in enhancing the rights of workers at large are highly valued. In the light of the above mentioned, it is high time to revisit this role starting with the title of this most hard labor. Family custodian or family caretaker are two possibilities, Further, this point of departure must be followed with a crucial step of establishing syndicate or union for family custodians/caretakers which, like all professional unions, are designed to tackle relevant rights and challenges, including how to meet all the physical, psychological and mental needs of children and of the spouses. This said, to reward this profession is a must. Whether in form of monthly allowances which can be well translated in the developed countries and other privileges which can be served in both developed and developing countries. Or through highlighting this revered work during international occasions like today, when the public and private sectors adequately reward role models of family custodians/caretakers, males or females, especially those serving the needs of vulnerable family members, both adults and children. Last but surely not least, through giving credit to this profession, not only justice is served pertinent much disregarded arduous profession. But equally family life is honored if not saved, and foremost the dignity of this work is preserved and enhanced. Happy International Workers’ Day and Big Thanks to Great Family Custodians/Caretakers wherever you are.

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Jordan crisis: is it pure economic?

[4/29/2019 5:32:19 AM]

AMMONNEWS - By Ph.D Hussein Albanna - Since 1989 Jordan did not experience like this economic troubles. The annual budget deficit is around (USD 1.7 Billion), and the public debt reached (USD 41 Billion) which represents (94%) of its GDP, all of that led to salient stagflation last years. The major sources of the budget deficit are: Trade halt with Syria and Iraq for many years after ISIS (Dae'sh) control over large area of the borders, the government expenditure burden on the public services as a result of receiving (1.5 Million) Syrian refugees, which maximize Jordan's efforts to meet their humanitarian responsibilities, reduction of crude price that directly influenced Jordanian expatriates' transfers rate from (Arab gulf ) side by side with "nationalization" of the jobs taken place there, and the difficulties of gas importation after "pipes attacks" in Egypt. Year after year, it becomes harder to depart this economic extended " bottle neck ", in spite of governmental efforts to cut down expenditures, and taxation reform policy. Today, there is an "in-depth debate" taken place here in Jordan, argues if the crisis is pure economic or has another political side? Many local voices started "loudly" figuring out other reasons of this economic dilemma, namely: corruption, mismanagement, transparency, and constitutional power structure. Yet, Jordan has the capacity to solve its problems, and "by free!", this may be via more democracy, transparency, press freedom, and more constitutional empowerment of "elected" government and parliament. Middle East needs prosper and stable Jordan, for peace and mutual beneficial relations.

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