They Paved Paradise To Put Up The Abdali Project (and maybe a parking lot)

I recently got to sit down with a few people from the Talal Abu Ghazaleh Organization (TAG) during their ongoing battle with the Amman Municipality (GAM). For those who don’t know the story it can basically be summed up into the following points: TAG purchases land just outside their HQ and on the borders of the Abdali project; the Abdali project begins an expansion phase due to increased interest; GAM tells land owners to sell their land to the project (with the private corp – Hariri investments – at the helm); some sell, others refuse.

Those are the major points but there are about 1000 details in between that have come about in the last two years. And this is the TAG side of the story. Some of the events are pretty much indisputable; they’ve become facts, just “arguable” facts.

TAG is one of the landowners refusing to sell. In fact the GAM has put a “hold” on all the land making it impossible for anyone to sell unless they plan on selling it to the Abdali Project, after which the hold is magically lifted until the transfer takes place.

TAG and others in the area received letters a few days ago telling them to vacate the land because it will be demolished to make room for the Abdali expansion. To be fair, I think in the context of all things we should consider it progress that a government institution actually sent a letter instead of having the occupants being met with a bulldozer and a wrecking ball.

Now I’m not going to go into the details of the mess, and I assure you that things the press has yet to mention are quite juicy (especially the intimidation tactics), but I kind of like my job, and wanting to keep it I won’t give anything away. What I’m interested in, on a personal level, are the questions.

Questions like why is the GAM and Hariri group in bed with each other?

And if you’re a big enough investor, how much political muscle does that come with?

And doesn’t this set a dangerous precedent?

Doesn’t this actually say to investors that hey, the Jordanian government will look after you, at least until you put the money to work; but in 10 or 20 years time, who knows. We could be sending you a letter telling you to make room for something better and someone bigger. In other words: where’s the protection?

And who stands up for the little guy? TAG is a huge corporation. The GAM has stopped them from building on their land and that little obstacle has lead them to rent several entire buildings across the city. But what about the smaller fish who don’t have the lawyers. Is their only option to sell or face acquisition?

Some did sell and that’s fair game; but did all of them sell willingly? Were they given a fair shake?

TAG can afford to fight this simply for the principle of it. But they’re not exactly representing anyone other than themselves. At least up until now.

In relation to the title of this post: the land in that area wasn’t exactly paradise to begin with I know. And I assume many of the people who ever had the misfortune of seeing the insides of the building of its previous occupant, would probably call it a hellhole.

But this is about the principle of the thing. The mindset. The same mindset that makes the overwhelming suggestion that Jordanians, Jordanian land, Jordanian homes, forests, heritage and just about everything is expendable in the name of progress. Remember Dibbin?

The question becomes: how expendable are some things?

Because if indeed the government logo of “the people” being Jordan’s most “valuable asset”, then out market value seems to be plummeting more and more these days.

GAM takes down TAG signs from the latter’s unfinished buildings


  • I think Omar el me3ani is on the board of directors for the abdali project..But a side note, I think i read somewhere that one of the tenants in a residential building was compensated 750JD/M2 for his land, and yet he was still complainig about how he was emotionally connected to his land!!Give me a break..
    But in all, I think that TAG are being stubborn to get more money as a compensation..

  • Mohanned: actually tag isnt looking for money. technically they dont need it. according to them there is no number that would buy them out. they offered gam several alternative solutions.

    they simply want to stay on their land.

  • I think the first solution that the TAG suggested is kind of unrealistic and probably more troublesome in the long run, but the second solution that they suggested seems almost fair, but it needs to be financially assessed first.

    The price of office space in the new buildings will definitely be higher than the current price say in one of TAG’s buildings. So what do they give TAG? An equal amount of square meters? Or an equal value of square meters? Also, it’s really not that easy. TAG would have to temporarily relocate, and already they have incurred financial damages due to the hold that was put on construction of some of their offices, so there are costs that they will have to be compensated for.

    But it’s really ironic, that this government, the one that supposedly has “fighting corruption” as one of the top items on its agenda, has approved the GAM request despite TAG’s objections that clearly and correctly pointed out the obvious conflict of interest, given that Mr. M’ani is both the head of the GAM, and on the board of directors of the Abdali company!!!

  • Some people just dont understand what it means to be attached to their land, what emotional value means, and what dignity means, Mohannad not everyone is willing to sell his land for the right price, even Jordanians of Palestinian origin, isnt that shocking?


    Hariri paid enough people enough money to get his way (lets not say who got paid lest we go to jail or somehow get run over by a car accidentally.) Of course Hariri is a master at investing with other people’s money. When the father died, he left Lebanon with a massive debt that will not be repaid for decades to come. And guess who will pay for it: Lebanese people.

    GAM and others will learn a valuable lesson that Jordanian business will always be sacrificed for the smaller good of those who run country. I would not be surprised if GAM relocated outside the country as a statement of protest, followed by many others. And considering the drastic drop in investments in Jordan over the last few months, this will send a dangerous message, considering the high profile of GAM.

    This is how some loot their citizens’ property in the name of what’s best for Jordan (which really means what’s best for their wallets).

    So when the project is over, Hariri will have gotten a free ride at Jordanian tax payers expense, and the profits will go to a handful of powerful Jordanians, and those who subsidized the Abdali project with their taxes will get inflation and a commercial center that is out of reach for most Jordanians.

    You know, we are supposed to be happy when outsiders invest in Jordan. I am not sure most Jordanians like foreign investments because they seem to constantly get the short end of the stick by having to pay more taxes to compensate the regime for the free breaks it gave to the investors.

    Welcome to Jordan and Hala 3ammi!

  • Mohannad,

    If you are living in a very nice house with a good location and you are not in need for money. Would you sell your property? TAGI is not selling cause they are not in need of Al Hairi’s money and they like their location. Simply, no one can force you in selling your property!! They are not stubborn to get more money for compensation, cause they are not going to leave for whatever price is offered.

    Please visit to learn more about TAGI’s point of view.

  • its the big guns fighting …
    i heard ppl who sold their houses or biuldings sold them at more than market price … but i dont have sources for that …
    TAG wants to stay there because they know whats the future of that area … if they wanted to come back to Abdali in the next years … they will pay ALOT more that what they are getting if they sold now …

  • We live in a country where law prevails, and when some corrupted people or those who have interests, start using there influences to over come the law, that does not give them the right to do what they want. Neither law nor religion justifies that. No one can make the other sell his property without his consent or under threat it would be void. If each one uses his influence, then we would be savages and at the end the stronger will live and the weak will die. Therefore I don’t think that our judicial system would allow that because we have faith in it.

  • You know? i love TAG’s way of uncovering this out, this trajedy represents much more than confiscation(estemlak) his buildings, it represents where is the law and where is rights of the citizens, its all in the pocket of who have authority… and then every one will ignore what is going on except the citizens themselves.

  • Some people just like to get the palastenian origin thing in everything even if the subject is about rice and tomatoes, right?Get over yourself not everyone is against “you” and trying to hit “you” in the back..

    To everyone else, I was talking from business point of view, If I was to be kicked out anyway I will try to suck as much money as possible..And yes even in america they can kick you out of your house if the city has a project that will bring more money, for example O’hare airport is expanding and up to now they demolished 400 houses..

    I am not defending the amaneh and if you read my first comment, I said that El m3ani is on the board of directors for the abdali project, and in a previous post for naseem about the “futuristic amman” I said that he is trying to polish his image after the Ibn el wazeer fiasco..


  • Mohannad I am over myself, and I dont care who wants to hit me from the back, thats their prerogative, and hitting from the back is alive and well these days, so dont act like its not there. TAG on the other hand will be getting it in the back if they leave.
    As for your favorite phrase “even in America” as if everything in America is the precedent for high moral and and economic values. America is the home fo cut-throat capitalism, so when people use the phrase “even in america”, I say: so what? who the hell are they? Cant you judge for yourself what is right and whats wrong? do you have to use references from mozambique or witchita? what happened to good old Jordanian sense of honor. Who said everyone in america supports capitalism? yes we know money talks. we know if you have enough money u can get away with murder ( ala OJ) but does that make it morally right?

  • Markus,
    Habibi, what is your problem? Did you read what I said? And what does OJ have to do with the abdali project? Again, I am not here to get you or for that matter to get TAG, and I suggest that you leave the honor out of this..What I said is from business perspective, it is your problem if you don’t like what I said, and I was not refering to palastenians as you assumed(Maybe because I am jordanian?)

    And by the Way the abdali project represents an gold mine for the GAM from all the taxes it will collect from “future” residents of the area so don’t expect them not to do anything they can..

    But again it is corruption in its clearest picture, all the country is corrupt from the top to the bottom, so we’d better live with for now until we can change it..

  • If we are talking business here, and yes the benifits are BIG, but why not GAM started Legal Actions acording to law from the start???

    This case started according to TAG in 2005 meaning Ma3anni was not the Mayor yet.. in other words GAM wants the land but through negotiations under the table without reveeling to public.

    As a Jordanian “regardless of origin”, I’m supporting public benifiting projects, the problem here is the way of handling with this issue.

    If TAG wants more money, thats thier right, and they deserve it, If they dont want to leave, again thats thier right & Law decide whats next.

    But as Amman citizens, under the name of capitalizem, are we welling to be relocated, its obviuos that Amman will be apartments city not houses, we’ll sell our Family houses and live in apartments in Amman if can aford or relocated out side Amman.

  • This is rediculous. TAG must not give up their rights, although i dont feel comfortable about the company. But the AMANEH is doing a stupid mistake by doing that. By the way I liked the website its a very advanced way to fight back.

  • محمد صلاح برجوس says:

    بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
    قدم او قدمت مجموعة ابو غزالة الكثير ودليل على ذلك نجاح الاستمرار ويكفي السمعة الطيبة للجامعة لكن ماذا قدمت لنا الامانة وما الهدف من تجميد بناية جامعية ومن ستخدمون يا امانة عمان

  • أرجو من الأخوة في عمون نشر هذا الرد كاملا.

    إن البلبلة التي يحدثونها في العبدلي مجرد شوشرة لإبتزاز الأمانة والمستثمرون للحصول على مبالغ مالية خيالية، فلماذا وافقت كلية القدس بعظمتها وإنسحبت. مع العلم أن لكلية القدس مساحة أرض أكبر ومشروع تنموي أهم للشعب والبلد.

    أريد أن أحدثكم عن نفسي، أنا موظف سابق في تلك الشركة التي ما زالت صامدة لخدمة البلد كما تدعي. هذه الشركة التي يدعي مؤسسها أنه عصامي ونزيه جداً جداً جداً. لدرجة أنه لم يسرق مستندات وزبائن سابا ومشاركوهم قبل أن يستقيل بشكل مفاجيء في العام 1972 ليبدء ببناء مؤسسته العظيمة المشكوك بأمرها. ولقد أنهوا خدماتي لأنني كشفت قضية تزوير تمس أمن الدولة وتسببت بإلقاء القبض على المجرم الذي وقع بالصدفة (أولحظه العاثر ربما) بين يداي وتحت إدارتي وقد سيق للتحقيق معه من قبل الجهات الأمنية (وهو موظف محترم ومحترف كما قال عنه مديريهم السابقين)

    لقد عملت معهم لمدة 3 أشهر فقط وقد تبين لي مدى الفساد الإداري الذي تتميز به هذه الشركة عن غيرها من الشركات، فعلى الأقل 85 % من موظفيها فاسدين أو عديمي الشخصية أو منافقين وجبناء أو بلا ضمير، أما البقية فإنهم مغلوبين على أمرهم يمتثلون لما يصدر بحقهم من قرارات عشوائية وتعسفية، لا أعتقد أنهم صابرون على هذا الإذلال خوفاً على تأمين لقمة العيش لمن يعولون وإنما لإعتقادهم بأنهم في يوم ما سيحققون التغيير وسينتصر الخير على الشر ولتحقيق مستقبل وظيفي مرموق أيضاً. على كل أتمنى لهم التوفيق وأن تتحقق آمالهم.

    قبل فترة قام 600 من موظفي المؤسسة المنافقين طبعاً بالتوقيع على عريضة تطالب السلطات التشريعية والحكومة بتغيير موقفها تجاه ما يحدث (أي قضية الإستملاك) مدعيين أن مستقبلهم متوقف على هاتين البنايتين وبهدم هذه المباني سيتشردون هم وأطفالهم في الشوارع، يا الله كم هذا النفاق واضح وتافه. وبينهم وبين أنفسهم يعلمون أن معلمهم (الأستاذ رئيس مجلس الإدارة حفظه الله) غير نزيه كما يقول لا وبل يطلقون عليه النكات ويستهزؤون به في جلساتهم الخاصة.

    برأيي الشخصي أرى أن المنطقة ستصبح أجمل بكثير بدون بناياتهم الإثنتين، وإن المستثمرون بمنطقة العبدلي أهم بكثير جداً للشعب والأردن من مجرد شركة تقدم خدمات التدقيق والملكية الفكرية والإستشارات، فهناك من هو أفضل منهم بكثير في السوق المحلي والعالمي.

    كما أنني أستغرب من أصحاب الشركات والمؤسسات كيف يطمئنون على وضع أعمالهم وحساباتهم بين أيدي هؤلاء وكيف يتعاملون مع شركة يتمتع مؤسسها بتاريخ مشبوه.

    قد يعتقد البعض بأنني حاقد أو إنتهازي لأنني أقول هذا الكلام، ولكن ما رأيته منهم يفوق الخيال وإنني والله لم أكن أنوي التحدث بهذا الموضوع لولا أنني أريد أن أوضح بعضاً من الصورة، وأظهر بعض كذبهم وافتراءاتهم على أمانة عمان.

  • الدكتور طلال أبو غزالة,

    إنني احييك على تمسك انت وابنائك الموظفين لانك مواطن يدافع عن حقه ولا استطيع تفسير وقوف الامانة الى جانب مشروع العبدلي الذي وان تم فلن ينفع الاردن بشيء وانما سيكون لمصلحة المشروع فقط…

    اجمل شيء اقرأه هو: باقون هنـــــا

    والاجمل هي: نبذل جهدا اكبر لنبقى في المقدمة

  • Hi Guys,,,

    If you’re really looking for an educated analysis of this situation, check the following FACTS:

    1. TAG’s land is about 3,000 square meters.

    2. The land and buildings were evaluated at around 6 million JD

    3. At the start of negotiations Abdali offered TAG 8 m JD for the land and then upped it to 10 m JD.

    4. TAG counter OFFERED their land for 22 m JD (so much for “our property is not for sale”

    5. Abdali revised their offer to 12 m JD

    6. TAG revised their offer to 35 m JD !!

    7. After a meeting between loai Abu Ghazaleh and Abdali , TAG revised their offer to 40 m JD

    8. Finally TAG asked for 55m JD based on their calculation that Abdali stands to make a lot of money by the addition of TAG’s property (so all they really ever wanted was a piece of the pie)

    9. GAM had already plans to build 3 road exits to serve the new project, so they had no alternative but to legally confiscate the land and pay fair compensation which is the norm everywhere in the world.

    For all of those who think TAG are heroes fighting the “System”… think again.


    THIS is the REAL story and I look forward to any INFORMED comments.

    Phillipe Shams

  • “All theory, dear friend, is grey, but the golden tree of actual life springs ever green.”
    Johann Wolfgang von Göthe 1749-1832

    Whatever they try to do TAG is REALITY.

    Dr. Nidal Amarin

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