Corruption In Jordan: Business As Usual

An anti-corruption group says three Arab states are among a dozen worldwide where corruption has seen a significant increase in the past year.

The Arab nations named by Transparency International were Jordan and the Gulf states of Bahrain and Oman.

The Arab countries with the least perceived corruption were Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. [BBC] and [TI]

We went from last year’s ranking of 40th, to a staggering 53rd.

Stating the obvious: until Jordan gets serious about fighting corruption, not only will the status quo remain, but things will begin to move backwards.

And I mean really serious.

Not the form-yet-another-committee-where-the-corrupt-are-also-its-members kind of serious.

But dead serious.

The jail-a-corrupt-official-caught-with-his-hand-in-the-cookie-jar kind of serious.

Otherwise, all this crap about reform, progress, building sky scrapers will remain crap. The reason they conduct such studies under a doing-business framework is because no investor is going to think about putting their money in a corrupt system.

What use is a stable country, if its system is unstable?

Then again, those delegated the task of fighting corruption in Jordan enjoy the perks of the status quo. So like the old rule goes: if it ain’t broken, then don’t fix it.

5.3 million Jordanians would argue different, but I wouldn’t worry too much about them.

They’re poor.


p.s. I’m personally looking forward to other reports this year, like reporters without borders. I think this year we’ll finally be able to give those bastards in Turkmenistan and North Korea a run for their money. They’ve been in last place for far too long.


  • that explains the catastrophic state of poverty and unemployment in Jordan despite the small population, when compared to Algeria or Morocco. they are trying to censor Jordanian blogs because Jordanian blogs are keeping an eye on them.

  • and thanks for the courageous stance. but look over your shoulder often. they might pin something on you. this is a time honored tradition in the arab world.

  • I found two particularly interesting points in the blog: One is that the UAE has the lowest “perceived” corrutpion (good that they added perceived) because that is a load of bull….
    Secondly, Adli, I am not sure if you meant that Morocco or Algeria are fairing better than Jordan in terms of corruption rates. but if u were, then you should know that Morocco has a 70% corrutpion rate.. thats more than half the population! You pay any police officer and get away with anything!

  • Screw the poor commoners who demand for their voice to be heard. What’s wrong with officials lining their pockets occasionally.

    And I’m being facetious, for all you overly-serious people.

  • Dave, what overly-serious people? You are either serious or not. You either care or don’t.
    Sana, I totally agree, same works for Egypt.
    As for the article, I would like to say that these reports measure various parts; it showed that Jordan ranked 37 out of 145 countries on scale. They measure different aspects as: the efficiency of the court system, the procedures of anti-corruption department, involvement in counterfeiting, press freedom – which highly developed in Jordan – and so on.
    I would say that Jordan is progressing whether some people are feeling it or not. As a country changing from a fully parental role to an open market method, it’s very common to show negative indicators as inflation and unemployment especially being a small country. Corruption is picking up: TRUE yet it creates a field to develop, such a field will only prosper in a dynamic society.
    Social development is not happening till now; you can not see a wide range of people supporting a newly introduced behavior YET.
    Government covering the whole country does not work anymore and never did by the way! The government true role is to establish an ever growing base that economy will grow through.
    AND regional disturbance can not be ignored, some caution is needed, Jordan can not throw all its previous and current structure at once. Sudden changes will overwhelm negatively!

  • I agree with you corruption is a serious disease, and it’s killing our country and it will be the major block against progress and raising the standard of living for all the sects of the Jordanian society.

    But I see poverty is very much interwinded and go hand in hand with corruption in addition to lack of faith (as who does not fear Allah certainly he is gonna be more prone to it).

    There is a huge polarization between the classes in our society that will bring disaster sooner or later. Lack of jobs for people (good paying jobs that will go with the increase of daily life expenses) is another additional factor to be considered.

    But yes I do agree with you it has reached an alarming level, with all the other phenomena causing it, that every sincere citizen of this country should worry about.

  • Dear Roba Assi: You removed my post below on your blog entry.

    how come those who pretend to be freedom of expression fighters are the ones to censor at the drop of a pen. i posted something and you deleted it. you want to criticize but you don’t want to be subject to criticism. what hypocrites.


    “This year’s [annual Ibn Khaldoun essay contest ] theme addresses the relationship between free-market economic policies and freedom in the Islamic societies. ”

    That’s an easy essay to write, because it’s no more than a sentence.

    For free-market economic policies in the US to thrive, freedoms in the Arab world must be subverted. Freedoms mean scenarios like Turkey, Lebanon, Palestine, Iran, all produce nationalist regimes and movements that are too independent for the US and its security and economic objectives. For America’s interests to be preserved, Arabs despots are needed to do America’s dirty work to the determent of their own people, and in return they get American protection and approval. remember the congressional bill declaring the last Jordanian fraudulent elections “free and fair elections.” Do you think the US wants to see elections in places like Saudi Arabia that will produce a regime that will make sure no American military base will exist on Saudi soil. In return for the despots’ services to uncle sam, he closes an eye on the massive corruption and destruction of national wealth and the destruction of progress and freedoms. Fact is the more an Arab country falls under American hegemony, the more repressive and corrupt. the more it moves away, the less repressive and corrupt. and PLEEEEEZZZEE do not regurgitate US propaganda about axis of evil

    But I am surprised you will share with us a contest of an organization run by zionists such as William Sumner, card-carrying neo-con and a registered republican, the party of arab genocide.

    Some Jordanian bloggers are so persistent about shoving the US as judges and juries of our progress down our throat when the rivers of blood never stopped s and the support for despots never ceased. Why?

  • Lol Nas, I think she got upset because Roba deleted her comment, and Decided to post the same comment on a random post on your blog instead.

    someone did it to me the other day when I turned on moderation.

  • hani, freedom of expression is a two way street. you like to be able to say what you wish and you make a fuss when someone tells you to keep it down. but when you do it to others you think you have a god-given right to do so. technically you do have the right to shut people up on your blog. but you can’t silence anyone in this cyber age. big fish east smaller fish, smaller fish eats tiny fish. that sums up the arab intelligentsia. i sincerely doubt that most arab blolggers care for freedoms of expression except theres. and once they are in a position of power, they will shut others up. remember, most of guys in the local intellgesntia were once ardent leftists fighting for their political rights and freedoms of expresson. once they got a nice government job, they became champions of repression. have you read Jamil Nimri’s article on web censorship on al-ghad? they guy made me puke. and so will most of you when you are given a nice pay check, a tax-free car, and scholarships for your children.

  • Abdullah,
    faith has nothing to do with corruption, ethics does.
    examples I believe are endless to show religous people caught red handed and “non-believers” did well and were honest with their people. A big problem is when faith and religion goes out of proportion, and constructs everything in life.

    Do not blame uncle sam for everything, they are not the magical power that control and pamper wrongful acts in our organizational body – yes, as corruption is getting into private sector as well -.

    Hani Mani,
    I do not think that a blog is a venue for anyone to express their total free opinion as they want! Its owned by someone, who posts what he/she wants, he/she may support or block any idea that they want/dislike in their OWNED BLOG, its freedom as well!

    It is really frustrating to see only negative comments about the country. No one is recognizing any good happened with less than the last decade?

  • ahmad, what good? all of Jordans’ positives are directly attributed to its hard working people. we don’t mix between government and people. the latter is Jordan.

    there is a state of general decline in Jordan thanks to the government. because we love jordan we are angry at those who are causing it harm and are trying to hide behind cheap slogans about loving jordan and protecting jordan’s image.

    remember what the thugs from the ministry of health did to Who-sane’s father? and how they tried to intimidate him under the cover of harming jordan’s image? what they mean is protecting their image from scandal due to their failures and corruption.

    we love jordan. we love the people of jordan. put your definition of loving jordan, is to close an eye on those who betrayed Jordan.

    we need to evolve the definition of loving jordan. if that means to watch corruption and failure destroy jordan and keep silent so loneg as we are doing fine. than you are on your own. our love for jordan compelled us to say enough is enough. and so long as we have no power to make a difference, we will do the minimum, speak out.

    but maybe you can tell us about the positives. we know there is 30% unemployed and poverty. I am not even going to mention the state of public schools, our children’s only insurance against an uncertain future.

    if you consider 30% unemployment and poverty and run down public schools to have a positive side, then i beg to differ. and please don’t anyone dare speak of the glass that’s half full and half empty. if you are willing to tolerate 50% poverty and unemployment, that’s something else.

    the difference between some of us is that some consider 30% misery to be an acceptable percentage. some of us consider it a crime against humanity and a sign of utter failure, if not border line high-reason, and a direct result of runaway corruption that keeps jordan from reaching its full potential so more Jordanians will enjoy a dignified life.

    the only success stories in jordan are security and taxation. but even Stalin and Franco could brag about those. At least Stalin saved the world from Nazis and Franco laid the foundation for modern Spain. Enjoy the half full glass.

  • Ahmad Al-Sholi,
    When a person have faith, fear Allah and knows that He watches him all the time you think he will be corrupted? I am not talking about people who pretend they are religious and they are corrupted inside, those we call munafiqeen Ahmad. Don’t you agree that self policing is far more effective than policing from others? That cannot be attained without faith in Allah my friend. True that there are some who has no faith practice such self censorship but not as effective as the ones who have real strong faith in Allah.
    I am not sure what do you mean by your statement”A big problem is when faith and religion goes out of proportion, and constructs everything in life”
    But if you are trying to take the deen out of our daily life you are negating its function as the deen is the way of life. At least that what I understand from Islam.

  • Frata,
    I am not denaying any of the misery facts that you stated. My point is: where we a super power before and I missed out? everyone is claiming “sag allah 3a ayam zaman”. I want to know exactly:
    1.what was exactly better than now?
    2.what went better? – it can not just be a drop in everything !!! –
    I would like to go by numbers and economic development approach taking global economics and Jordanian Socio-demographical Economy into consideration.

    Faith makes some people better people, yet its not everyone background. Meaning that if you are the minister of agriculture, I as a citizen demand that you obey the law, work for the benefit of the country, minimize costs and deliver better services. Whether you were tribal backboned, religous: Muslim/Christian, communisit, capitalist or liberal is totally your issue. Hope I made myself clear.

  • “1.what was exactly better than now?”

    less poverty. less misery. we are not comparing a golden age with a stone age. we are comparing the gold old get-by age with a mass poverty and mass corruption present.

    you don’t get around too often do you. you are one of those who spends his time at the Nighe or Kanabaye.

  • Perhaps corruption in Jordan is more obvious than in the UAE and Qatar due to the ever increasing divide between the rich and poor, especially in recent times. The difference lies in the ability for the poor to handle the socioeconomic pressures within a nation.

Your Two Piasters: