Ammon News, View Points

Soleimani assassination and new US disorder


[1/4/2020 10:20:07 AM]

AMMONNEWS - By Dr Majed Shami - less than 100 hours into the new year, for the world to hold its breath as president Trump gave the green light to assassinate the second popular man in Iran, general Qassem soleimani, the head of Iran's elite Quds Force in an air-strike near Baghdad International Airport, along with senior leaders of the Iraqi Shia militia. Never in the history of the USA a president came to power just to accomplish the dirty agenda of Israeli leaders, from the assassination of soleimani, to the declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, to recognizing the Golan Heights as part of Israel through a presidential proclamation signed on March 25, 2019. All of that was at the jeopardy of the national and international interest of America. Hence, to justify his action to the free citizens of the world and the American public as well, Trump rushed to falsify information that, many Americans were killed by general soleimani. Which is an announcement that is not accurate, unless they were members of ISIS, only then it can be true. Because, if it was not for general soleimani, ISIS would have had been in control of the whole middle east. Such thoughtless and uncalculated act shall open the doors for escalation and direct confrontation not only with Iran, but with all freedom fighters who can no longer digest the foreign policy of Trump administration. It is the first time that the cabinet of the white house pursue such a shameful action , as if it wants to imitate a policy of assassination long adopted by the Zionist leaders of Israel which cultivated the souls of many leaders of Palestine. If such an action will benefit the fair well-being of the national security of America, then it can be understood. On the contrary , such an action will by no doubt jeopardize the international security of America. It is an act that will definitly lead to an unpredictable reactive action not only from Iranian side, but it could come from Iraq, Yaman, Syria, lebanon, and Palestine. It is not clear whether Trump is seeking escalation with Iran, or a political gain for his reelection, or diverting attention from his probable impeachment. Regardless of the intention, the white house put a freez on people wishes for a happy new year 2020, taking the world into a year that might be full of chaos and uncertainty. A year that might resemble that year of 28th June 1914, the date of the assassination of the Austrian archduke, Franz Ferdinand, crown prince of Vienna, and his wife. This event was, however, simply the trigger behind the ignition of the first world war that began in August 1914. Hoping that my anticipation could go wrong.

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Book fair opens its doors to avid and alert FESA students


[12/28/2019 2:26:15 PM]

AMMONNEWS - By By Dr. Omar Al-HajEid - Fresh hopes and optimism surged in the Faculty of Educational Sciences and Arts (FESA), UNRWA as a three-day book fair was held at the Faculty earlier this week. The event was inaugurated by Dr. Ibtisam Abu Khalifeh, Acting Dean of FESA, who reiterated the need for such activities to improve students' reading competence in achieving the educational outcomes in accordance with the UNRWA framework for implementing quality education. The book fair also provides a unique opportunity for improving students' positive attitudes towards reading, self-study and critical thinking skills, added Dr. Abu Khalifeh. "The fair is a qualitative leap forward in education as it enhances skills of scientific research and students’ academic success. It also increases social interaction skills among students," pointed out Head of English language section, Dr. Ghada Abu Al-Einain. The book expo lured hundreds of book lovers and visitors who strove to quench their thirst for reading the many types of bilingual books on display. The exhibition included more than 3000 books. In a press release, the book fair organizer of the event, Dr. Abdalhadi Abu Jweid said: "The book show is an intellectual and cultural phenomenon reflecting the true vision of the Faculty," he noted. "Culturally speaking, the fair offered a widespread, varied and intensely rendered a repertoire of books. It also encourages teaching staff to write books and display them," said Dr. Husam Al-Momani, another staff member at FESA. Many students participated in the fair. "The event offered us an educational–cultural hub as it hosted different cultural activities such as storytelling, reading poetry in addition to delivering speeches,” said Abdullah Sabbah. Another volunteer student, Aya Nizar, added that the exhibition attracted book enthusiasts because of the affordable prices of books in addition to giving the opportunity to look at a wide range of books before purchasing their favorite ones. The exhibition opened its doors to visitors from 9am to 2 pm. with the support of 15 volunteer students. The fair provided a spacious hall for book exhibitors to display their books. The overwhelming majority of books were sold at between JD5 and JD1. A special corner was dedicated to low-priced books up to JD1. A visitor to the book show said she was delighted with the wide collection of books available at low prices. Actually, this intellectual vigor is a distinctive phenomenon enhancing a variety of facets of quality education in universities. It also maintains bridges of communication between educational institutions and publishing houses in an attempt to enhance scientific research.

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Teachers’ Strikes, An Opportunity To Prevent Jordan Becoming A Failed State


[10/10/2019 8:21:00 AM]

AMMONNEWS - By Madeleine Mezagopian- Jordan, a country with high rate of unemployment and poverty, is witnessing ongoing strike in one of its sector, however a crucial one. The teachers of the public schools, a sector with regression in performance and outcomes, resorted to strikes for almost a month with demands and still to improve their living standard if not having their basic necessities met through 50% increase in their salaries. Determined and perseverant representatives of the syndicate of teachers exhibit no compromise to what the government is able or want to cater teachers’ demands. Hitherto, the issue has been handled in isolation of the hardships encountered by the big majority of the public sector, not least with very timid and careful approach by the government. The government whose main argument of limited resources and tight budget did not involve a transparent approach in sharing the people with the records on revenues and expenditures shouldered by the government involving all the institutions e.g. the Judiciary, the Parliament, the Royal Court and the Greater Amman Municipality, inter alia. A candid and transparent discussion based on valid facts and statistics hardly featured the interaction between the two conflicting parties. Proper and constructive dialogue between relevant actors is almost absent which is not surprising in a society where the culture of peace, compromise and tolerance is alien on all levels. A discussion which entails rights and duties, performance and outcomes on behalf of the teachers to promote merit-based compensation is almost absent. The political orientation of the professional syndicates in Jordan continue to undermine the credibility and the intentions of the syndicates’ leadership including that of the teachers’ syndicate who failed to successfully lobby for and promote the interests of its members with the parliamentarians. Given the deteriorating performance of both the staff and of the students, and the poor outcomes of the public schools. A crucial sector like the teachers of public schools with all its components and socioeconomic and political repercussions should have been tackled with comprehensive and coordinated approach by all the concerned spearheaded by the government at the very start of the so called “The Arab Spring” in 2011. An issue highlighted by this author on August 8, 2011 through an article entitled “Reforms in the Arab World: A Genuine Endeavor?” where the need to rehabilitate the public education sector at large in the Arab World including Jordan is emphasized. The deteriorating situation is not detected only in the performance of the public education sector. It equally features the performance of the government at large and foremost of the parliament who had failed in successfully tackling teachers’ demands. An issue equally underscored by this author on September 9, 2018 in an article entitled “Jordan: A failed State?” with the following conclusion: “The current developments in Jordan clearly indicate the government with its two branches, executive and legislative authorities, failed in carrying out its functions which resulted in losing the support and confidence of important segments of its people… Jordan remains in the warn category of Fragile States Index and appointing a prime minister of high credibility and integrity without dissolving the parliament and calling for new parliamentary elections most probably with new elections law and without uprooting corruption in all its forms and restructuring key institutions is a recipe for Jordan to become a failed state.” The above argument is still very much valid. In order to prevent Jordan becoming a failed state, an immediate and courageous revelation of facts and acknowledging failure by all the concerned parties is required. To be followed with the much needed legislations, policies and decisions that secure having the right person in the right place in all positions e.g. the parliament, the executive authority, the Royal Court, the professional syndicates, among others, who can deliver without any additional eligibility requirements except loyalty to Jordan and to its people. Let’s transform the teachers’ strike into an opportunity to peacefully rehabilitate all the sectors and prevent Jordan becoming a failed state.

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Arab Children and Arab Partnership and Solidarity, When?


[9/25/2019 9:43:36 AM]

AMMONNEWS - By Madeleine Mezagopian - While many if not majority of Jordanians spend their time lamenting, complaining and even protesting about current domestic and regional conditions. A much overlooked entity with very low profile continues with great determination serving humanity through not only attending to the health needs of the people with disabilities (PWD). They educate and empower them in an inclusive environment to become confident productive members of the society, Al Hussein Society Jordan/Center for Training and Inclusion (AHS). Scarcity if not lack of resources and absence of skilled human capital are often echoed by ambitious, well intentioned people who cannot deliver amid all the surrounding challenges. Within these same circumstances even with further challenges, AHS not only delivers but initiates, implements and aims at creating inclusive society on all levels. It continues to provide comprehensive upgraded rehab services reaching people with disabilities of all nationalities including refugees across the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. End of 2018 and year 2019, despite still five months to end, bears yet another testament to the colossal contribution of AHS in attending to the needs of the most vulnerable segments of the Arab nation residing in Jordan. AHS bid farewell to 2018 with an international conference “Community –Based Inclusive Development (CBID) in cooperation with the international development organization Christoffel-Blindenmissionian (CBM) which aimed, inter alia, at disseminating awareness on the significance of implementing community-based rehabilitation strategies in all the sectors of the society. AHS provided quality services to more than 2691 people with disabilities, in addition to capacity building of relevant staff and enriching the already existing centers with new programs. 251 out of 310 wheel chairs, donated by Latter-Day Saints (LDS), were distributed to beneficiaries and the efforts continued towards the establishment of the AHS Regional Training Center with the support of CBM. Year 2019 was welcomed with a follow up and future cooperation motivated visit to AHS by the Ambassador of Germany, key AHS partner, to Jordan. Workshops were organized dedicated to upgrading teachers’ skills and knowledge in relevance to protecting children from abuse and music as teaching strategy, inter alia, to be followed with Stanford-Binet Test-Fifth Image training of AHS staff. In March, with the usual generosity of their very few however committed partners, AHS, together with the German Action Medeor organization, organized a training program entitled “Early Intervention and treatment approach for children with HCSB and other neurologic impairment’ which aims at capacity building of the physiotherapists and occupational therapists of the Society staff thus enhancing the status of the Society as an accredited training center for rehabilitation sciences programs. The children of the Society had also their share, however an entertaining one, through attending and interacting with an Irish musical band who performed at AHS with the support of the Irish Embassy in Jordan. In April, motivated by the need to provide its children and adults not only with their basic needs, but to feed them with the latest knowledge. In cooperation with the Rotary Club Amman-Jerash, AHS hosted one of the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) program with the theme “Towards Inclusive Society.” It involved many activities including workshops on artificial intelligence and emotional intelligence of the children, inclusion sport activities when Lieutenant Rula Al Amro introduced her initiative “Sport For All” which enhances inclusion through games and sports. The limit of AHS’ generosity and care is indeed the sky. The spring of 2019 was celebrated with a gift to the Jordanian society at large by AHS through organizing a free medical day of awareness, Rehabilitation Services Day entitled “Joy of Unconditional Giving,” when the staff evaluated the needs of PWD and elderly for different rehabilitation programs. Again the presence of partners was detected through exhibiting the devices sponsored by Action Medeor, while CBM International continued supporting the enhancement of AHS staff through a training program by technology expert coach Pantelis Makris. Proud parents, staff, board members, international and local private partners, hardly any representative of relevant governmental entities, with no media presence, AHS graduated its empowered children during most joyful graduation celebration with the theme “The Joy in Learning.” Last but surely not least, AHS went further from practice towards theory through initiating and eventually signing on June 21 a cooperation agreement with the Hashemite University in relevance to Vocational Diploma in Community-Based Rehabilitation (CBR). Further, the joy of summer was well invested through inclusive summer camp of diverse activities. Aside of the local partners who receive services from more than deliver services to AHS e.g. the Hashemite University and the University of Jordan where 156 and 30 physiotherapy and occupational therapy students respectively received clinical training, in addition to the existing cooperation with Corporate Social Responsibility UAE and with Arcenciel in Lebanon. The sustainability of AHS is dependent on its non-Arab international partners, mentioned above, in addition to others e.g. UPP, OCHA, USAID, HELP, CLASP, Orange. In the light of the above mentioned, yes we must celebrate and welcome international cooperation and solidarity. But shouldn’t Arab solidarity and partnership prioritize such cooperation? Shouldn’t Arab children be first and foremost the concern of Arabs, individuals and organizations?

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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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