The Struggle to Establish Liberal Democracy in Jordan

Jordanian Politician Marwan Muasher

Following is an interview with political activist and columnist Rami Dabbas. Mr Dabbas is a civil engineer by profession who writes for several media outlets, including Ciranada, Israel Today and Pegida Canada. He is a pro-Israel advocate, peace campaigner, and political activist speaking out against terrorism.

In this interview, we spoke about democracy in Jordan, and his attempts to begin a political party in this Muslim-dominate country. In Canada, and indeed throughout the world, many are struggling with the concept of tyranny by their governments because of Covid restriction. This has made the political system of democracy far more valuable in the minds of many.

Mr Dabbas has experienced tyranny in the Middle East, and thus he is passionate about the establishment of democracy in his country. 

CC: Rami Dabbas is a Jordanian political activist. In 2019, he and a group of Jordanians established a political party called the Jordanian Liberal Party. We asked him what are the party’s policies in the Jordanian and Arab arena? 

Mr Dabbas: Firstly, our policy stems from His Majesty King Abdullah II and we stand behind the wise Hashemite leadership. Secondly, our party’s economic policy calls for transforming Jordan into a free market society. Our party supports Jordan’s regional alliances with Saudi Arabia and the Emirates. We realize the importance of not severing the country’s relationship with the Arab world, as well as supporting strategic alliances with the West and the State of Israel through the Wadi Araba Treaty. In society, we call for freedoms for all. We also stand against the regimes that reject the liberalism of Jordan, such as Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood and organizations that support Iran and its ideology. We also call for the ban of these organizations in Jordan.

CC: What are the aspirations of the Jordanian liberal party in its relationship with the state of Israel and America, and is the Jordanian liberal party aware of and in agreement with the Canadian liberal party due to the similarity of names and liberal creed?

Mr Dabbas: First, we call for the strengthening of Jordan’s strategic alliances with the West and for closer normalization and cooperation with the State of Israel in all fields. Secondly, we do not have any problem with fundamental liberal concepts as they were initially laid out. We are open to the whole world except for those that threaten our existence.

CC: Can you tell us about yourself as a Jordanian political activist and a little about your work in Jordan?

Mr. Dabbas: In 2013 I joined an International Eurasian movement with local activists and the Syrian embassy in Amman and we opened a local branch in Jordan. Due to threats, we later shut down this project. While active, we organized demonstrations in cooperation with pro Bashar Assad nationalists and Communists.

In 2013, I thought Assad’s war against the Syrian people was a war against terrorism but I was wrong, Bashar only fought opposition Syrian rebels, not ISIS, while the West fought against ISIS .Bashar Assad is a sectarian who said in the media that he is the protector of Christians while in fact he did not protect minorities. When ISIS came to kill them, he saved some and let others be killed to claim that Sunni people are terrorists. He was playing both sides of the card.  

After I left the Eurasian movement, I started writing in newspapers, practiced Evangelism with foreign and local Christians, and also joined the normalization movement in Arab world in cooperation with local journalists and activists in 2017 . At that point, Eurasianism had no future in Arab world. I later joined TV media in Israel and other Christian channels to promote Peace with Israel with local Christians. In 2019 in cooperation with NGOs in Jordan, we established a political party called the Liberal. We mainly look to liberal members  in Arab world, predomenately in Jordan, promote peace with Israel in addition to promoting a free market economy. Religious freedom in the country is also very important.

I went through many transformations since the beginning of my political and media activity. From 2014 to 2018, I was working in government projects in Jordan in the field of engineering, and later I was appointed as an engineer in the Greater Amman Municipality. I am currently the Deputy Director of the Tender Committee in the Municipality.

CC: Can you talk about religious and political freedoms in Jordan, especially with regard to the State of Israel?

Mr. Dabbas: Religious freedom is safeguarded in Jordan for all parties, from Muslims to Christians, as well as Iraqi Shiite refugees. Conversions are legally allowed in Jordan. There is an Israeli embassy in Amman, and we have Jewish citizens from Israel who reside in the country. However, proselytizing is forbidden by the Islamic government.

In addition to Muslims, our government also contains Christian representation. Our king is a secular Muslim, and in the house of Representative, there are Christians, patriot Jordanians and Islamists. We have a communists party in Jordan and many of them are atheists.

CC: What kind of support do you have among the citizens of Jordan?

Mr. Dabbas: I have a large popular base among my family members and my neighbors, as well as former colleagues. Because of my political activity and my relations with researchers, politicians and activists, many are open to our policies. We are just beginning to become established, and though we have more than the 500 members necessary to register the party, the process is long and complicated. We have been trying to register the party since 2019.

CC: Where do you see your party in five years?

Mr Dabbas: When the time is right, one of the active members will be chosen to run in the Jordanian House of Representatives. On the one hand, we seek to serve Jordan and the Jordanian citizen and at the same time reach the ranks of the major parties in Jordan.

CC: Who or what was your inspiration?

Mr. Dabbas: I was largely influenced by Marwan al-Muasher , a Jordanian diplomat and politician who was Jordan’s foreign minister from 2002 to 2004 and its deputy prime minister during 2004 and 2005. He was Jordan’s first ambassador to Israel and former ambassador to the United States, two strong proponents of democracy. (W)


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