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  #81  
Old 04-02-2005, 12:01 AM
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I haven't really the time to read this entire thread again, so some of my comments may be repetitive of comments by other members or I may be repeating something already addressed. My apologies for this.

I think Abdullah's role as King is different than the role of other Kings, namely European Kings (or Queens as is the case in Denmark and the Netherlands). Their roles are predominantly symbolic while Abdullah has a strong involvement in the running of the Jordanian government and decisions made by them. This in itself requires much more of Abdullah that he be up to date and in touch with what is happening not just in his own country but also in neighbouring regions and the rest of the world which Jordan may have political or social dealings with. I don't think Abdullah is unintelligent, but I also don't think he is all that intelligent either. He also isn't smart enough to have intelligent advisors to make intelligent and educated suggestions to him on the outcome or potential of his decisions or affiliations. Certain world leaders are dumb themselves but they are smart enough to have intelligent people as part of their team and to rely on their judgements. This isn't the case with Abdullah.

Life in the Middle East region is precarious at best. Peace and stability are anomolies. Abdullah's father can say that at least that (in his last years) tried to fight for peace in the region. I think that when King Hussein died the fight for peace was one major unresolved matter. Abdullah has failed to pick up on this mission and try to make his own headway with it when it is clearly an issue that would greatly benefit Jordan were it to be achieved.

Abdullah clearly has his own agenda for Jordan which I don't fault him for. Every new leader, whether elected or heriditarily succeeding into the role will want to set his or her own agenda and leave his or her own mark on the position. But at whose expense is Abdullah's agenda and who is actually benefitting from Abdullah's agenda (whatever it is).

Part of his agenda seems to be focused on garnering more financial aid for Jordan. Since becoming King we've seen him make many visits to heads of states all around the world and to the U.S. But where is the money which is coming from these countries going in Jordan? From what I read about Jordan I don't see much change for the majority of Jordanian citizens.

I think being in a position such as Abdullah's is a selfless position. There are a lot of perks but there are also a lot of expectations and obligations. Frankly, I think Abdullah is too self-serving an individual to be a King. Even as a mediocre king Abdullah is greatly lacking.
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  #82  
Old 04-02-2005, 01:25 AM
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I agree with this last post. In a country where the monarch has to actually take decisions and oversee the running of the country, it is vital that he/she be as well advised as possible. The most brilliant person cannot be expert or even good at everything. Although he made many mistakes, King Hussein did show great good sense when he made his brother Prince Hassan an active partner in running the country and gave him the mandate to do what he was good at, and what the King himself could nor would do. There is no way that King Hussein's reign would be as well regarded as it is today had he tried to go it alone. From what it appears, King Abdullah is very much a one man show.
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  #83  
Old 04-02-2005, 05:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Genevieve
I don't think Abdullah is unintelligent, but I also don't think he is all that intelligent either. He also isn't smart enough to have intelligent advisors to make intelligent and educated suggestions to him on the outcome or potential of his decisions or affiliations. Certain world leaders are dumb themselves but they are smart enough to have intelligent people as part of their team and to rely on their judgements. This isn't the case with Abdullah.
I agree with you, Genevieve. Not only does he lack a good education himself, not only is he not surrounding himself with the best and the brightest, he is forever shuffling the deck, making it very difficult for anyone in his government to accomplish anything requiring even an intermediate-term time horizon. There are experienced, seasoned resources in the country he could call on (e.g., P. Hassan), but he chooses to surround himself with people who appear to be even weaker than he is. Perhaps these people are easier to manipulate and keep an eye on, but are they effective? What has KA accomplished in his 6+ years on the throne? So much of it appears to be smoke and mirrors to me.

Quote:
But at whose expense is Abdullah's agenda and who is actually benefitting from Abdullah's agenda (whatever it is).
The expense appears to be borne most heavily by his own people. KA is managing from the top on down, so the people who most need his help have not yet gotten it. The benefits have accrued mostly to himself and to the people in the country who least need it. :(

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But where is the money which is coming from these countries going in Jordan? From what I read about Jordan I don't see much change for the majority of Jordanian citizens.
A lot of it is to pay the tab for military and security. Little of it is reaching the impoverished masses who most need it.

Quote:
I think being in a position such as Abdullah's is a selfless position. There are a lot of perks but there are also a lot of expectations and obligations. Frankly, I think Abdullah is too self-serving an individual to be a King. Even as a mediocre king Abdullah is greatly lacking.
I think neither KA nor QR has a humanitarian bone in his/her body. They both seem to enjoy the power and the visibility of their positions, but neither seems to step up to the plate and own the full set of responsibilities that comes with them. When KA first rose to power, I chalked it up to his unpreparedness and his inexperience. But six years into it, if anything, I think he is even more drunk on power and less able to see how his rule is a complete failure from the standpoint of the people in his country who are living in abject poverty.
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  #84  
Old 04-02-2005, 06:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shelley
From what it appears, King Abdullah is very much a one man show.
This is rather frightening, if one thinks about it. In most professions, if someone who was uneducated and unprepared for a job were to step into it, he would still be considered a rookie after only six years. In business, he'd be lucky if he managed even one or two other people by then. But this is exactly the position KA was placed in, not entirely his own doing, but his position nonetheless. Right now, there is no Crown Prince, so the default C.P. is his young son. Who's doing the work that then-C.P. Hassan used to do for KH? I don't even think then-C.P. Hamzah could do it, because he was in America attending university. KA doesn't even appear to have a designated regent; rather he rotates that around to whomever seems to be available. He's sent Parliament home and reshuffled the ministers and the ministeries a number of times. KA spends a great deal of time outside the country and a fair amount on private holiday, so who's minding the store? I think this surely must be part of the reason it is difficult to identify any clear accomplishments during KA's rule.

There's also the risk aspect to this lone wolf approach, though. What if something were to happen to KA? No one is being properly groomed for the job. . .there is no depth, no bench strength. I find this very irresponsible of KA, astonishingly bad leadership, for KA and only KA can perform the job of succession planning, and he is leaving his entire country quite vulnerable. After the crazy succession of his father, one might think KA would have heightened sensitivity to the need to plan for a smooth, seamless succession, but he doesn't appear to have grasped the importance of this. It's worrisome. :(
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  #85  
Old 04-02-2005, 06:27 PM
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Whew! I thought I would get a lot of flak for not having read the entire thread before making my opinons and comments known. Good to see that others who have read this thread through also share my opinon on the job Abdullah is doing so far.
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  #86  
Old 04-02-2005, 06:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shelley
From what it appears, King Abdullah is very much a one man show.
I don't know about it being a one man show completely. What about Rania's role in it? I know that likely she doesn't make any (or much) political suggestions or have much input in the running of Jordanian affairs and international policy. But I have this notion that she is behind Abdullah's travels and her own extensive travels to plead for aid from other governmental bodies around the world - all for the sake of Jordanian citizens and improving their lives of course. But of course that money never (or at least the majority of it) never actually reaches the Jordanians who need it. More likely the money ends up with Abdullah and Rania in some form or another, whether it be added luxuries to their home, expensive clothing or personal services (eg. grooming, stylists flown in from London, plastic surgery).

I don't think Rania would be as motivated to travel the world and "work" to plead for her fellow citizens if she didn't think that she might benefit herself in some way.
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  #87  
Old 04-02-2005, 06:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Genevieve
I don't know about it being a one man show completely. What about Rania's role in it?
QR is "just" the wife of a head of state. Her power is derived from that. Shelley is right. . .it's pretty much a one-man show in Jordan.
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  #88  
Old 04-02-2005, 06:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by papillon
I agree with you, Genevieve. Not only does he lack a good education himself, not only is he not surrounding himself with the best and the brightest, he is forever shuffling the deck, making it very difficult for anyone in his government to accomplish anything requiring even an intermediate-term time horizon. There are experienced, seasoned resources in the country he could call on (e.g., P. Hassan), but he chooses to surround himself with people who appear to be even weaker than he is. Perhaps these people are easier to manipulate and keep an eye on, but are they effective? What has KA accomplished in his 6+ years on the throne? So much of it appears to be smoke and mirrors to me.
What is Abdullah's relationship with Hassan now? As you pointed out, Hassan was the Crown Prince for many decades and King Hussein depended on his brother a lot to not only carry out important duties but also on his input, knowledge and expertise of a variety of situations within Jordan and abroad. It would make a tremendous amount of sense and smarts for Hassan to be one of Abdullah's closest advisors if not his top advisor within his team, whether it be publicly known or confidentially.

I agree that I think Abdullah's team of confidents and associates are not exactly your Rhodes Schollars. Over the last 6 years they have advised or allowed him to do many things that didn't make sense or didn't have much positive effect or develop policies which would start a process of change in Jordan.

I think he chooses individuals who are less informed than he is simply because it is a power trip. If Abdullah is as narcassitic as I believe he is, he wouldn't want people who are more educated or smarter than him to outshine or outsmart him. No one wants a subordinate to show them up. But of course even the dumb leaders who do have educated and intelligent advisors and teams recognize that these individuals can only make him stronger by making him look smarter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by papillon
The expense appears to be borne most heavily by his own people. KA is managing from the top on down, so the people who most need his help have not yet gotten it. The benefits have accrued mostly to himself and to the people in the country who least need it. :(


A lot of it is to pay the tab for military and security. Little of it is reaching the impoverished masses who most need it.
It really is a rather vicious and frustrating cycle for the majority of Jordanians isn't it? They see or hear about all this aid money pouring in but know that it will never reach them and not only that, there is not much they can do about it. To protest against it would most likely lead in action (often unlawful) action against them and yet to do nothing would mean that their life is stagnant and unimproved.


Quote:
Originally Posted by papillon
I think neither KA nor QR has a humanitarian bone in his/her body. They both seem to enjoy the power and the visibility of their positions, but neither seems to step up to the plate and own the full set of responsibilities that comes with them. When KA first rose to power, I chalked it up to his unpreparedness and his inexperience. But six years into it, if anything, I think he is even more drunk on power and less able to see how his rule is a complete failure from the standpoint of the people in his country who are living in abject poverty.
Completely agree. Another vicious cyle being that once you have a small taste of power you want more. And you'll do more to get more power at all costs.
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  #89  
Old 04-02-2005, 06:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by papillon
Right now, there is no Crown Prince, so the default C.P. is his young son. Who's doing the work that then-C.P. Hassan used to do for KH? I don't even think then-C.P. Hamzah could do it, because he was in America attending university. KA doesn't even appear to have a designated regent; rather he rotates that around to whomever seems to be available. He's sent Parliament home and reshuffled the ministers and the ministeries a number of times.
Had not thought of things this way. But you make an excellent point.

When you look at the other monarchies the Crown Princes do a lot of work. Look at the schedule that the Prince and Princess of Asturias keep and the amount of abroad trips Crown Princess Victoria and the Prince of Wales make each year. Granted Abdullah and Rania are younger than the Kings and Queens of the other monarchies but the role of the Crown Princes is very valuable and is important and integral in the passing of the torch. Is one really supposed to believe that as the default Crown Prince, an elementary school aged boy who hasn't even hit puberty yet is the second in command and is responsible for the sorts of sensitive business his great uncle Hassan used to do? What a joke!

The fact that Abdullah rotates and shuffles ministers frequently is also a bad sign. One of the things I think made Hussein a memorable king in the end was that he was around for so many years and that for just as many years things were relatively stable politically in Jordan. Whatever else was going on in the region and whatever poverty was being experienced and endured in the country on a daily basis you could at least count on Hussein and Hassan. But with the frequent changes Abdullah makes to his cabinet, you could go to bed one night with one set of ministers and wake up with an entirely different set of individuals. Such instablity is not good for any country and is fertile for unrest.
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  #90  
Old 04-02-2005, 07:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Genevieve
What is Abdullah's relationship with Hassan now? It would make a tremendous amount of sense and smarts for Hassan to be one of Abdullah's closest advisors if not his top advisor within his team, whether it be publicly known or confidentially.
Well, it's strained but, amazingly (in a way), they are not entirely estranged. I doubt KA seeks P. Hassan's advice. If he has, he certainly has shown no signs of heeding it. Even if P. Hassan were willing to serve as a top advisor to KA (at this point, one would have to wonder what might be in it for P. Hassan and why he should trust KA), I think KA is too insecure to willingly put himself in the position of working so closely alongside someone who is so much more educated, experienced, facile in Arabic and other languages, and respected than him. P. Hassan is also a big reminder to everyone of KH. I think these images and reminders would only serve to heighten KA's insecurities and highlight to the consuming public the differences between these men. Unfortunately, KA appears to want to stand tall (figuratively speaking) so, to his way of thinking, he's got to stand next to pygmies to achieve that effect.

Quote:
I agree that I think Abdullah's team of confidents and associates are not exactly your Rhodes Schollars. Over the last 6 years they have advised or allowed him to do many things that didn't make sense or didn't have much positive effect or develop policies which would start a process of change in Jordan.
I can never tell whether he's simply getting bad advice or whether he's getting sound counsel but not following it. But it pays to remember, in the end, KA is an autocratic ruler in a country with high unemployment and few opportunities. So even a political genius would probably have to think twice before asserting him/herself strongly against KA.

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I think he chooses individuals who are less informed than he is simply because it is a power trip. If Abdullah is as narcassitic as I believe he is, he wouldn't want people who are more educated or smarter than him to outshine or outsmart him. No one wants a subordinate to show them up. But of course even the dumb leaders who do have educated and intelligent advisors and teams recognize that these individuals can only make him stronger by making him look smarter.
I think he's outwardly cocky, but inwardly terribly insecure. Excellent leaders--mental Einsteins or not--want to surround themselves with the best and the brightest, because they know that is one key to their success. Whatever his intellectual capacity, KA is not secure enough to surround himself with superstars.

Quote:
It really is a rather vicious and frustrating cycle for the majority of Jordanians isn't it? They see or hear about all this aid money pouring in but know that it will never reach them and not only that, there is not much they can do about it. To protest against it would most likely lead in action (often unlawful) action against them and yet to do nothing would mean that their life is stagnant and unimproved.
True. There is no freedom of assembly in Jordan, so even just gathering (without saying anything) is a prosecutable offense. The people simply don't have a voice. . .this is what so many people forget when they look at KA and QR and buy the schtick they present to the West about democracy and freedom and liberalization in Jordan. I am happy to see more Western journalists dig a little deeper and come to the realization that Jordan is still run by an autocrat who, if anything, in recent times has tightened his hold on freedoms. I think it is incumbent upon the West to hold KA to a higher standard, to require full disclosure and transparency about how our funds are used in Jordan, and to require more substantive results (on the ground. . .for the little guy (and gal!)) before forking over another US$200 million in aid. Of course, the problem with this is that the West has dirty hands, too, so there are no angels in this story. :(
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  #91  
Old 04-02-2005, 07:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Genevieve
When you look at the other monarchies the Crown Princes do a lot of work. Look at the schedule that the Prince and Princess of Asturias keep and the amount of abroad trips Crown Princess Victoria and the Prince of Wales make each year. Granted Abdullah and Rania are younger than the Kings and Queens of the other monarchies but the role of the Crown Princes is very valuable and is important and integral in the passing of the torch.
I think it's not even a fair comparison to cite the examples of European C.P.s because, as you noted earlier, they aren't living in countries where the monarchs are autocrats. So, in many regards, their roles are less significant, less critical to the functioning of the country and to the well being of the citizenry. The youth excuse doesn't really fly with me because, young or not, KA is the ruler, the one and only for Jordan right now, so he has to find a way to make it work. And, anyway, he's in his mid 40s now. Although inexperienced in the job, he is middle aged and should be able to exercise at least a respectable caliber of judgment.

Quote:
Is one really supposed to believe that as the default Crown Prince, an elementary school aged boy who hasn't even hit puberty yet is the second in command and is responsible for the sorts of sensitive business his great uncle Hassan used to do? What a joke!
Well, officially, constitutionally, P. Hussein is the second in command, even if he's not yet doing the job. Obviously, no one is carrying on the day-to-day responsibilities of C.P., and KA is often out of the country, so a whole lot of important matters must be falling through the cracks. And, given this, one has to wonder why KA is running around accepting awards and honorary degrees in the States. Is that really a good use of his time, considering there's a large leadership vacuum when he's out of the country? Who's thinking about Jordan's strategic plan? Who's looking out for Jordan's long-term interests and future? :(

Quote:
Whatever else was going on in the region and whatever poverty was being experienced and endured in the country on a daily basis you could at least count on Hussein and Hassan.
They formed a true partnership. P. Hassan could run the country while KH traveled. . .there was continuity, and people had more confidence in this team than they have in KA going the lone wolf route.

Quote:
Such instablity is not good for any country and is fertile for unrest.
Which is probably why KA has felt the need to clamp down on freedoms and spend so much of the aid money that pours into Jordan on security.
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  #92  
Old 04-02-2005, 07:58 PM
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I think he needs to take a class on terrorism or something. Good and fair leadership and decreasing the factors that feed terrorism-poverty, strife, corruption-is qunitessential if one wants to protect his country from being taken over by terrorism.
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  #93  
Old 04-02-2005, 09:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Reina
I think he needs to take a class on terrorism or something. Good and fair leadership and decreasing the factors that feed terrorism-poverty, strife, corruption-is qunitessential if one wants to protect his country from being taken over by terrorism.
Well, now you are singing P. Hassan's song. He always saw the connection between poverty and national security. When people feel they have a voice--a say in how things run and a way to impact their futures--and believe there is opportunity, they don't go around blowing up all the things that enable them to seize it. So, yes, KA needs to strike a better balance between his spending on security and his spending on initiatives that will lift his people out of poverty. And corruption in Jordan is definitely on the rise under KA's watch, but then he doesn't himself set a good example where that's concerned. Might be another reason why he doesn't want a strong #2.
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  #94  
Old 04-03-2005, 12:31 AM
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Puhleeze can someone who knows how to do these things, correct the spelling of "Abdullah" on this thread ! :p
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