Large protests have gripped parts of the Jordanian capital, Amman, today in a country where criticism of the king is punishable by three years in prison. King Abdullah has been careful not to repeat the errors of Bashar al-Assad’s authoritarian crackdown which quickly escalated matters in neighbouring Syria. So far, Jordanian police have adopted a passive approach to protesters.
Abdullah will be hoping the momentum behind these protests subsides over the coming days. He can still take some relief from the fact these protests have been caused by a hike in fuel prices. This is the vital difference here. The popular uprisings which swept away regimes in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt were principally about corruption and the lack accountability. Abdullah is not yet facing similar criticisms. If he can find a way to manage inflation, then Abdullah may yet stifle the growing rebellion.
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