Abdullah Punishes Fayez for Royal Loss of Face

The government formed by new Jordanian prime minister Adnan Badran, a 69-year old academic, was sworn in before King Abdullah II in Amman on Thursday, April 7. The new prime minister announced that his 26-member cabinet would be dedicated to liberal reforms in the kingdom.

Badran succeeds Faisal al-Fayez whose administration lasted less than two years.

According to DEBKA-Net-Weekly‘s Middle East sources, the king fired al-Fayez and his foreign minister Hanni al-Mulki because he held them responsible for failing to get his new initiative accepted by last month’s Arab Summit conference in Algiers.

His proposal aimed at upgrading the Saudi “peace plan” adopted by the 2002 Beirut Arab summit but never accepted by anyone else, by inserting a clause urging Arab governments to establish normal relations with Israel ahead of progress towards a peace settlement with the Palestinians.

This text did not survive the Arab foreign ministers’ advance drafting of resolutions. Al Mulki was accused of not trying hard enough. As a result, the Algiers summit simply re-affirmed the 2002 Saudi resolution instead of upgrading it and the king decided to stay away from the conference.

By switching governments, the Jordanian monarch also extended his own authority at the expense of the policy-making prerogatives of the new administration.

Our Amman sources report that Abdullah told his close advisers that his court will henceforth retain authority over defense, foreign affairs and homeland security.

The Badran government will be left mainly with running the economy.

This enhances the standing of the new finance minister, Bassem Abdullah, 41, an economist with strong International Monetary Fund connections and a close friend of the king.

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