Jordan scroes 4.45/10 in Economist political freedom index

According to the Economist magazine, Jordan ranks 8 out of 20 in predictions of where and how democracy will spread in the Middle East and Africa next year. Jordan scored 4.45 out of 10. I wonder if the Economist took into consideration Jordan’s upcoming national agenda when it arrived at that score. I think, for Jordan, this is not that bad. I mean, let’s look at the bright side, there are only six Arab countries in front of us. Here is one quote of interest:

And the Americans will promote a trio of more or less benevolent monarchies — Morocco, Jordan and Bahrain — as exemplars of their democracy campaign.
Source: [Mail and Guardian online]

According to AFP, the Ecomonist’s "Index of Political Freedom" ranked 20 countries on 15 indicators of political and civil liberties for its annual preview of the year ahead. Here is the full list:

1) Israel: 8.20 2) Lebanon: 6.55 3) Morocco: 5.20 4) Iraq: 5.05 4) Palestine: 5.05
6) Kuwait: 4.90 7) Tunisia: 4.60 8) Jordan: 4.45 8) Qatar: 4.45 10) Egypt: 4.30
10) Sudan: 4.30 10) Yemen: 4.30 13) Algeria: 4.15 14) Oman: 4.00
15) Bahrain: 3.85 15) Iran: 3.85 17) UAE: 3.70 18) Saudi Arabia: 2.80 18) Syria: 2.80 20) Libya: 2.05

UPDATE: Here is the Lebanese perspective from Beirut Beltway.

11 thoughts on “Jordan scroes 4.45/10 in Economist political freedom index”

  1. Little strange that Palestine and Iraq are ahead of Jordan isn’t it. I could understand the propaganda aspect of putting Iraq up there, despte it being an English newspaper…but Palestine? Maybe its because they don’t have monarchies per se. I wonder if someone (perhaps myself even) could come up with a study of the corrolation between political freedom and standard of living/’ overall happiness’. Maybe it will adjust the skewness of the desirablility of political freedom versus desirability of happiness; political freedom is approached as an end nowadays (hello Bushie). Being somewhat of a Kantean, I think it should serve as a possible means to an end – standard of living and happiness.

  2. This is the most absurd article I’ve ever read on ranking political freedom.
    “Israel” ranking first????????
    “Israelis” with Arab origins, both Muslims and Christians, are supressed by the government/judicial systems and considered as lower classes than their Jewish counterparts.
    Not only, but the IDF on many occasions publicly degraded “Israeli” parliament (Knesset)members because of their clear expression of their views on the Palestinian – “Israeli” conflict.
    “Balad received a great deal of Israeli and international attention when the Israeli parliament’s nationalist-dominated election committee tried to ban the party from running in national elections in 2003, claiming it did not respect Israel’s legally-mandated status as a Jewish state and that its leader supported terrorism. This ban was also applied to Azmi Bishara and another Arab member of the Knesset, Ahmad Tibi of the Ta’al party who had formed an electoral alliance with the left wing Hadash coalition.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balad_%28Israel%29
    So how’s that for political freedom?

  3. “I think, for Jordan, this is not that bad”? I hope you are not serious here. Kuwait? Tunisia?! and let me not mention the ones i have silly excuses why they scored higher than jordan (lobbying, propaganda, recent election etc etc…)
    This should makes us think what’s going on in Jordan

  4. Jameed,
    Kuwait does not surprise me.. They have an active parliament and they have recently allowed women to vote. Also the freedom of the press in Kuwait is better than Jordan, at least according to the index provided by Reporters without Borders. As for Tunis, I really have no clue. I was actually surprised that it scored better Jordan….

  5. Emad, I agree with what you wrote, however, bear in mind that the ratings are done on a comparative scale i.e. relative to others on the list. Its fine to list the absolute events that Israel has done in terms of its ‘political misfreedoms,’ but the study disallows you to do so without listing those of the other nations also on the list.

  6. H,
    I understand that the findings are done on a comparative scale.
    But where is it have you seen, within the top three countires at least, parliament members having their freedom of movement restricted by the army that represents the country they represent.
    I have, “Israel” deliberately imposed travel restrictions to and from the 1967 occupied territories.
    “Israel” prevented to nationals of Arab origins from running in Knesset election in 2003. Those two legally representable candidates were Azmi Bchara and Ahmed Tibi, who represent their people’s interests. This act is nothing but clear violation of democracy. Hereby, while condemning Israel’s conducts, we support Ahmed Tibi and Palestinian resistance.
    The indicators of the Economist’s study included 1.transparency
    2.election of Parliament and the head of government
    3.corruption
    4.religious freedom
    5.rule of law
    6.political parties
    7.presence of an opposition
    judicial independence.
    I personally have no access to such information, but I’m sure “Israel” ranks low on many of the indicators specially election of parliament and religious freedom (which is also clearly violated – Not allowing muslim “Israeli” nationals below the age of 45, or so, to enter Al Aqsa mosque on Friday prayers to practice their religious beliefs). It would be interesting if one can find how each country scored on each of the indicators. This should give us a better information about how biased this study is.

  7. Emad,
    Ha! You seem really upset that Israel is number 1.
    But, I also don’t think you have much experience with its society. As you point out, what you call Israelis of Arab origins are Knesset members. Tibi – http://www.knesset.gov.il/mk/eng/mk_eng.asp?mk_individual_id_t=208
    and
    http://www.knesset.gov.il/mk/eng/mk_eng.asp?mk_individual_id_t=29
    are currently members of parliament, I believe (see links), even if other members of parliament have raised objections, because of their sympathies with Israel’s enemies. But then that is what democracy is. Israel has Arab businessman, politicians, sports stars, journalists, etc. It is far from perfect, but is very pluralistic compared to the rest of the Middle East.
    Were you bringing up the point on the Al Aksa Mosque to suggest Israel discriminates against Jews (because most Muslims are allowed there anytime and Jews are rarely allowed up into the Temple Mount complex)? I don’t think most people would think Israel discriminates against Jews.

  8. March 14th 2005 edition of News Week (The Challenge for freedom, Page 18) the report reads:
    “According to the latest freedom survey. Egypt, Jordan, Qatar and Morocco showed improvements in 2004 but none of them rank as fully free. The following scale rates countries in the Middle East and North Africa as free (1-2.5), partially free (3-5) or not free (5.5-7)”
    Jordan, Kuwait and Morocco ranked second with Jordan’s Political Rights at 5 and Civil liberties at 4, same for Morocco. I’ll let you guess what Kuwait’s was.
    Of course Israel ranked first with a score of 1 for Political rights and 3 for Civil liberties.
    Given the instability of the region as a whole, and the nature of our borders, I don’t think Jordan is that bad.
    Either way, I don’t trust indexes (with the exception of the Big Mac Index), as most of them have different scoring criteria.

  9. Amir,
    “Were you bringing up the point on the Al Aksa Mosque to suggest Israel discriminates against Jews (because most Muslims are allowed there anytime and Jews are rarely allowed up into the Temple Mount complex)? I don’t think most people would think Israel discriminates against Jews.”
    No.
    As a matter of fact, I brought that to point out “Israel”‘s religious discrimination against nationals from Muslim origins.
    Contrary to what you said, most Muslim’s are not allowed there anytime. Tune in to Al Jazeera Live on any given Friday and you will see for yourself.
    “IDF”‘s elements are numerously located within the gates of the Old City in Jerusalem to ensure that entry to Al Aqsa mosque is restricted for Arabs below a certain age. In Islam, Friday’s prayer is an important religious obligation, yet the “IDF” strive to restrict Muslim’s religious freedom. “Israel”‘s claim: security purposes.
    On the other hand, Jews in Yemen, Syria, Iran, and other Middle Eastern countries, enjoy religious freedom that is comparable to their non-Jewish counterparts.As a matter of fact, a good sum of them still live in their original countries – and have favoured not relocating to “Israel”, halting allegations that ram around the alleged oppression they encounter in countries with Muslim majority.
    In contrary, and to their comfort, Jews wander around the premises of the Old City freely.
    Wasn’t it Ariel Sharon’s infamous visit to the premises of Al Aqsa mosque – which is located within the Old City – that played a major role in the recent Palestinian – “Israeli” conflict uprising afterall??

  10. Emad,
    You are wrong on several points. First, are you suggesting that Muslims aren’t allowed in the Al Aqsa Mosque at any time – your examples only mention Fridays.
    You say Israeli Jews can wander the old city freely, but so can Israeli Muslims. The issue in question isn’t the Old City, but the Temple Mount compound – you shouldn’t mix the two. To the best of my knowledge Jews can not go into the Temple Mount, which is managed by the Wakf. yes, Sharon went there, but he had to get special permission from the government (and I believe the PA). Normal citizens cannot go there – he was able to pull it off once. Friday prayers are also often fiery anti-Israel diatribes and in the past fiery sermons often result in rocks being thrown at Jewish worshippers in the lower ground surrounding the Temple Mount (i.e. Western Wall) and other security disturbances, limiting who goes there at that time does not appear at all unreasonable. At times when there were no security issues, the restrictions were not there.
    “On the other hand, Jews in Yemen, Syria, Iran, and other Middle Eastern countries, enjoy religious freedom that is comparable to their non-Jewish counterparts.As a matter of fact, a good sum of them still live in their original countries – and have favoured not relocating to “Israel”, halting allegations that ram around the alleged oppression they encounter in countries with Muslim majority.”
    That is simply laughable. At the year 1900 many Arab/Muslim countries had sizable Jewish populations – Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Iran, Morocco. There are almost no Jews there now. How many Jews now live in those countries? Millions of them live in Israel and the US and I have interacted with them enough to call that one out. Portions of my family fled Morocco, and I am currently dating a girl whose family is from Iran. In the last century the Jews were with few exceptions (Turkey stands out) ethnically cleansed from the Arab world. Show me prominent Jews in an Arab country. Show me a sizable population or Jews that are involved in politics in an Arab country the way Arabs in Israel are. Plus, since we are talking about Jerusalem, look at what happened after the Jordanian conquest of the old city in 1948. All the Jews were expelled and the synagogues destroyed. Compare that to Israeli rule after the 1967 conquest.

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