Riots In Jordan Put Gulf States On Edge
Will Abdullah II be the next Arab leader to fall?
June 13, 2018
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The oil-rich Gulf States – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates – are not known for easily parting with their petro-dollars. But this miserly instinct dissipates when the Sheikhdoms perceive a direct threat to the stability of their respective governments. On Sunday, the three nations led by Riyadh pledged to provide Jordan with a cash infusion of $2.5 billion to help the arid kingdom prop up its free-falling economy. Separately, the European Union announced that it would provide Jordan with $23.5 million. The hefty Gulf State bailout is testament to how seriously they view the problem.
Jordan has recently experienced a spasm of popular unrest and widespread demonstrations, sparked by tax increases and painful austerity measures implemented by King Abdullah II’s prime minister, Hani Mulki, to deal with growing debt. In 2016, cash-strapped Jordan secured a $723-million loan from the International Monetary Fund. The economic reforms instituted by PM Mulki were tied to this loan but proved to be widely unpopular.
Jordanians watched as subsidies on basic food items were eliminated and standards of living declined while taxes increased. Paychecks got smaller while everything became more expensive. This was enough to push Jordanians over the edge. As the riots spread to every province and major town, Abdullah moved quickly to quell the unrest by firing his prime minister and reversing previously implemented tax hikes and austerity measures.