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Jordan’s Prime Minister Quits as Protesters Demand an End to Austerity

Many residents of Jordan trace their origin to the Palestinian territories, so anything involving those talks is politically delicate. The Persian Gulf monarchs have shown more interest in building a common front against Iran with Washington — and, tacitly, Israel — than in confronting Israel over the Palestinians.

Economics alone could also explain the decision of the Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait to discontinue aid to Jordan, Mr. Saif said; the gulf kingdoms have raised their own taxes and prices in an effort to move their economies away from dependence on oil.

“They are trying to consolidate their own budgets,” he said.

Last Wednesday, more than 30 labor unions and professional groups staged a strike in Jordan, the largest in years, to protest the austerity bill, which they said would penalize the poor and the middle class. Doctors walked out of hospitals wearing white lab coats, lawyers walked out of courtrooms in their black robes and shopkeepers shuttered their stores, hanging signs that read: “We are closed. We are on strike.”

Source: NYT > World

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