Jordan’s King Abdullah issues decree forming new cabinet

Jordan’s King Abdullah appointed Omar Al-Razzaz, a Harvard-educated economist outside the ranks of the traditional political elite. (Reuters)
Updated 14 June 2018
0

Jordan’s King Abdullah issues decree forming new cabinet

AMMAN: Jordan’s King Abdullah issued a decree on Thursday forming a new government led by a former World Bank economist and mandated to review a disputed tax system after widespread protests against IMF-driven austerity measures.
Abdullah, a US ally, appointed Omar Al-Razzaz, a Harvard- educated economist outside the ranks of the traditional political elite, last week to replace Hani Mulki, a business- friendly politician who was dismissed to defuse public anger that led to some of the largest protests in years. Thousands of Jordanians took to the streets in Amman and in provincial towns earlier this month against a series of tax rises since the start of the year. Protesters called for sacking the government and scrapping a tax bill which unions and civic groups blamed for worsening poverty and unemployment.
Razzaz’s 28-member cabinet is dominated by a mix of conservative politicians and Western-leaning techocrats who held sway in previous administrations, including seven women, a copy of the royal decree showed.
Official sources said the government is expected to maintain traditional support for US policies in the region and continue with International Monetary Fund-guided reforms.


US bolsters Middle East force with 1,500 troops as Pentagon blames Iran for tanker attacks

Updated 24 May 2019
0

US bolsters Middle East force with 1,500 troops as Pentagon blames Iran for tanker attacks

  • Donald Trump says the additional troops would serve a 'mostly protective' role
  • The US began reinforcing its presence in the Arabian Gulf region earlier this month

WASHINGTON: The US will strengthen its force in the Middle East with 1,500 extra troops, Donald Trump said Friday as the Pentagon blamed Iran for an attack on oil tankers off the coast of the UAE.

"We want to have protection in the Middle East," Trump said as he left the White House for a trip to Japan. "We're going to be sending a relatively small number of troops, mostly protective.
"Some very talented people are going to the Middle East right now. And we'll see what happens."

Shortly after his comments, the Pentagon accused Iran's Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) of being directly responsible for attacks on tankers off the UAE earlier this month, describing it as part of a "campaign" by Tehran driving new US deployments.
"The attack against the shipping in Fujairah we attribute it to the IRGC," said Rear Admiral Michael Gilday, the director of the Joint Staff, adding the Pentagon attributed limpet mines used in the attack to the IRGC. He declined to describe "the means of delivery" of the mines.

The 1,500 extra troops will be made up of a deployment of 900 more forces, including engineers, and the extension of a tour by some 600 personnel manning Patriot missiles.

Officials said earlier that members of Congress were notified following a White House meeting Thursday to discuss Pentagon proposals to bolster the force in the region.
Earlier this week, officials said that Pentagon planners had outlined plans that could have sent up to 10,000 military reinforcements to the region. Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan later said planners had not settled on a figure.
The US began reinforcing its presence in the Arabian Gulf region this month in response to what it said was a threat from Iran.

*With AP and Reuters