Government And Royal Motorcades In Jordan

I have a bone to pick with these government and royal motorcades that careen through the streets of the capital at stellar speeds, stopping for no one and breaking the speed limit by leaps and bounds. I know these drivers are well-trained, but you know what, the rest of us citizens never got a special course in stunt-car driving. We just drive. We use our vehicles to get from point A to point B while trying not to hit anyone in the process. We have enough to deal with besides these annoying motorcades.

Imagine a stream of giant black suburbans, cruising up to your car, inches from hitting you, and then flashing their high-beams and red-blue lights, blazing their car horn, and while one guy is shouting at you from behind a loudspeaker, another guy has half his body outside the black-tinted windows, waving around a hand-held stop sign telling you to essentially get the heck out of the way.

First of all, if you want us, the citizens of the country to believe that no one is above the law and that everyone should abide by it, stop breaking the law so obviously and so in-your-face. Not only is it in violation of Jordanian law, but it reiterates the notion that in Jordan, some people are more important than other people, and those people are above the law and tend to be in government. It is downright hypocritical to expect us to abide by rules that you obviously don’t abide by.

Second of all, you are a danger to pedestrians and a danger to motorists. I don’t care if you were trained to drive on the set of Fast & Furious – you’re just a couple of cars amidst a population of average drivers trying to get by. Swerving around them, coming damn close to hitting them, and doing all sorts of stunts that a traffic cop would have you pulled over within the first 10 seconds, is just downright irresponsible and should not be tolerated.

Third of all, if whoever you’re carrying is something that important and security is a concern, hence the speed – how about driving normally? I swear to God that if you just tried to blend in with the rest of us, no one would notice you. If the person you’re driving needs to get somewhere quickly, try leaving half an hour early. Or better yet, if they’re that important: take a helicopter.

Let it be known that I have never, and never will change lanes under the assumption that the caravan of cars driving next to me or behind me are carrying someone who is more important than I am and therefore is allowed to operate above the law, which, as far as I know, is meant to treat every citizen equally. I don’t even care if there’s a huge suburban about to ram the rear bumper of my truck: I WILL NOT MOVE. I am driving within the speed limit and well within my legal right to drive in my lane. But more importantly, I will not move for anyone who insists so blatantly on reducing me to a second-class citizen simply by a) breaking the law and b) doing it in the rudest and most dangerous manner possible.

Please, officials, whoever you are, do something about this. Please, please tell your drivers to cool it. Tell them to tell their friends. If possible, change the entire system that supports and enforces this kind of driving behavior. I, and a few other million motorists, would be very grateful if that happened.

And that’s all I have to say about that.


p.s. I feel obligated to clarify that the belief that the aforementioned vehicles are either government or royalty is simply an assumption. I haven’t a clue as to whom is being driven, primarily since they are large cars with black-tinted windows that are driving at an unfathomable speed. That being said, it should also be pointed out that even that assumption is based on what I believe to be, a widely-held perception that they are government and/or royalty driven, owned, etc. This perception tends to be further solidified by the presence of security-clad people who wear an official-looking uniform and are both behind the wheel and waving that stop-sign wildly from a window. It’s the reason why the typical response of a lot of motorists is usually “shiklo 7ada mohim” (looks like someone important). I should also note that I am not against officials having security in the first place – my concern is rather with the on-the-street impact of that security.

p.p.s: I am also against tawjihi, university, wedding and funeral motorcades. Yes, I’m really not a motorcade kind of person.


  • Dude, read the law again there is an article that gives them that right and there is a fine if you cause a delay or trouble.

  • I think its damn important for these envoys to abide by traffic law. i dont think the way their appointed drivers should be justified under any law, if truly exist. if such a law exist, its pity and stupid. it is very intimidating and frightening to drive amongst these envoys. most of our roads here are 2-laned and do not tolerate this reckless driving.
    i think you are the first to write about this Naseem and i think it is truly a problem that has to stop!!

  • One of my most frustrating Amman driving experiences. It gives one a heart attack when they bear down on you like something our of the Bourne films.

  • I so agree with you Black Iris.

    I remember years ago I stopped at some traffic lights when they turned red and a car just came up quietly beside me and stopped. I looked over and it was King Hussein, we waved and smiled and when the traffic lights turned green he slowly moved off with his guard cars slowly with him.

  • @Jad: Can you please point me to that law if it’s online. i’d be interested in reading it.

    @sami: lol, well, ambulances and police are one thing…black suburbans are another. but that being said, i’ve noticed that a lot of the times, police seem to turn on their sirens just so they can get ahead for no particular reason. At other times, they drive at 40 km/h and back up an entire lane of cars behind them who are now forced to drive at a snail’s pace!

  • completely agree with this post. they may be trained to drive like maniacs but we’re not. every time they come swerving and weaving between cars, it sends everyone around them into a panic, scaring the daylights out of others who are unable to move aside for them. we shouldn’t be feeling this while driving our country’s roads (or at any time for that matter). it’s ridiculous and primitive. what’s with that guy hanging out of the car anyway? and by the way, you forgot to mention that most of the times, that guy who’s supposed to be holding a stop sign also holds a stick. what’s he planning to do? beat the citizen’s out of the way?

    TJoLadies, I’ve heard so many stories like yours where people would find royalty park beside them in traffice only to be greeted with a smile and a wave. It’s nice to feel a sense of pride and joy at such civil and kind act as opposed to panic and fear.

  • As a former British Ambassador to Jordan (1993-97) it is refreshing to see that nothing has changed as far as motorcades are concerned! We learned to adapt to the culture not fight against it. When meeting HM King Hussein at Markha Airport ( a trip taken at least twice a month as HM was a frequent visitor to the UK and I had. officially to see him off and greet him on his return) I used to tuck myself in to the rear of the cavalcade and get back to the Embassy-or most of the way-in record time.

    I suspect some of you younger guys have not been told how scary Amman was in the bad old days of the1960s and 1970s when the King was under constant threat of assassination and his safety and that of senior officials and especially Western ambassadors had to be taken very seriously indeed. Even as late as 1993 I had armed police in my car and we tended to drive fast especially at obvious ambush points: traffic circles and intersections. Sorry for any inconvenience caused etc but I did value my life!

    I suspect that it is not quite so dangerous nowadays, Frankly, even 15 years ago, I was more worried about regular Amman drivers (some of the worst in the world in my extensive experience) than the hovering terrorist. And I fear that half the problem now is that VIPs expect motorcades as a mark of respect if nothing else and old habits of over protection die hard

  • You are the man nas,

    Always talking bout issue that concern us the normal citizens.

    I sometimes stay in my lane just to annoy the motorcade behind me, unless it was the King or queen “special case :)”

    I was once walking in Turkey and i crossed a street light which was red, and it was the president of Turkey in a motorcade stopping at the red sign. He also waved and smiled.

  • The only time a motorcade came across from me i went back home swearing and cursing the day i came back to this country. I did not move until they were about to hit me!

    The tactics they use to intimidate and instill fear in the population are preposterous! Enough already!!!!

    Next time, I plan to stay in my lane, put on my 4-way flashers, slow down, pull up my windows, and blast up my music. You think they’ll intentionally hit me? I wouldn’t be surprised… bring it on!

  • Check article # 31 – point # 4
    ‫يعاقب بالحبس مدة لا تقل عن اسبوع ولا تزيد على شهر او بغرامة لا تقل عن )٠٥( خمسين دينارا ولا تزيد على )٠٠١( مائة‬
    ‫دينار كل من ارتكب ايا من المخالفات التالية :‬

    ‫٤. عدم اعطاء اولوية المرور للمواكب الرسمية ومركبات الطوارىء اثناء قيامها بمهامها .‬

    The law can be found at

    And if you search for tickets value you will get this
    وصف المخالفة ترتيب تصاعدي ترتيب تنازلي قيمة المخالفة الدنيا * قيمة المخالفة العليا **
    عدم اعطاء اولوية المرور للمواكب الرسمية و مركبات الطوارئ اثناء الواجب 50 100

    and of course, we do not have any definition of motorcades so anyone with fake honk can be a royal! even Iraqies, I swear once an Iraqi GMC honked with the same panicing motorcades.

  • It is just amazing that one of the few things that bother an enlightened citizen about an autocratic kleptocratic 19th-century royal regime that dominates every aspect of its citizens’ life is the way the plantation masters travel around in the land that they literally own [or at least handle it with that mindset] !!!

    This is just as absurd as claiming that one of the biggest issues that bothers anyone is the fact that the self-centered fame-starved brand-obsessed WEF lecturer is using twitter instead of wat-wet to promote her pretentiousness.

    Something as trivial as the fact that the “royal palaces’ cars” in these motorcades are exempt from the 12JDs they have to pay for new license plates (by law), or that the minister of interior can issue a regular license plate to these cars without paying the custom fees is a much bigger violation of the constitution than an obscure prince or some parasitic sharif stopping traffic on a major street to arrive in time for the opening of a major industrial facility or a private school’s graduation ceremony.

    But hey, at the end of the day it is all relative and can be viewed from different perspectives; while some people find rape absolutely reprehensible, some others may take offence to the lack of a contraceptive or the insufficient foreplay during the crime.

  • @Musa: hmm, regularly, despite my disagreements with you, you tend to have a valid point, but you seem to have missed the mark here. what happened? i have to admit, in a weird way, i’m a bit disappointed.

    see, the thing is, I’ve complained about, ranted or discussed a lot worse things on this blog, so you taking this (or that watwet post) as a sample of my underlying “perspective” and then cementing it in stone is as silly as it is absurd. this rant is simply a sample from the everyday annoyances we face as citizens rather than an addressing of the “greater” problems, something I’ve done quite a lot of, and the post that precedes this one is an example of that.

    the truth is, we can’t bash everything in hopes that it will one day simply all disappear. those of us who are interested in real change need to pick our battles one at a time until real change comes about.

    and if you are in to discussing the larger problems then i support you, and I really, really encourage you to start a blog.


    in the meantime, this blog is my dose of free speech and i think i, and every other blogger, should be free to use it to talk about any issue we want, even if those issues are beneath musa.

  • Nas! scream high with your thoughts,what if someday some one will listen…

    i totally agree with you Sir!
    but those people do not abide by a conscious nor by a request
    the abide by a policy or by the law!!!

    you need law makers on ur side buddy!!!

  • Apologies for missing the supposed mark, but maybe it was not as clear since it looked much smaller from the wider perspective.

    Without going around in circles, and judging by your “as long as people are not allowed to truly elect who governs them” statement from the preceding “greater issues” post, it seems that we have reached a point where many change-seekers realise that the “circus-act” parliaments and the temporary corruption-laden governments are nothing more than accessories for the single decision maker, who is undoubtedly above the law.

    While dedicating the battles to the petty outcomes of this abnormal situation (the palace’s clear infringement on every aspect of life without any sort of responsibility) may be regarded as a noble act (especially among half-assed reformist), the sheer volume and range of these annoyances will automatically deem voicing them repeatedly – absurd (as in unreasonable and useless, for the lack of a better word for the Arabic term A’bathi). Just look at the number of (whining, moaning, and complaining…) columns in daily newspapers analysing the symptoms in between articles that praises the disease – usually by the same authors.

  • @Basel: I don’t think anyone voicing an opinion should stand alone. If done collectively, your voice, coupled with my voice, coupled with 10,000 other voices can have an impact as history has proven time and again.

    @Musa: I disagree with regards to your take on the repetitive voicing of concerns. I think we (as Jordanians) have an obligation to do that in a collective and sustained effort towards solving those problems, one at a time.

    The alternative is for us to all sit back and say “what’s the use?” and acquiesce.

    I don’t think that’s how problems get solved.

    The formula of leaping over mountains instead of climbing one steep at a time is neither rationale nor attainable. And neither is giving up on the climb itself.

  • I am glad to know that there is a law asking me to step aside when, ahem, they pass!!
    Is there a law giving me the right to sue them when they step over me inside my , crowns riddled,1995 Sephia ??

  • Man, I’ve been meaning to write almost this EXACT post since the end of the school year (time flies when you’re being a bum). The only thing I was going to add is that the senseless individuals who make such decisions should know that 2:10 pm is a BAD time to go from the King Hussein Club to, well, anywhere. Between the schools past the second circle and Colleea Islamiyyah, traffic is a nightmare. So, if your guy is THAT important, pick a time when you could realistically protect him. Because, really now, all you seem to be doing in this case is trying to show us how important he is…

  • This was always a sticking point for me – the topic of motorcades. perhaps in my mind I’d always considered that the person being driven/protected was someone who indeed needed protecting. I’m not sure how many of you would agree with my definition of a patriot, but should our country ever come under threat, i would be there on the front lines, ready to defend her with my last breath. I guess i used to consider furiously changing lanes and swerving out of a motorcade’s path, in effect, protecting and serving my country. I always assumed it must have been either royalty of the highest effect, or an extremely high ranking military official. Anyway, who is being driven is another issue, what utterly changed my mind was an incident that occurred last week when a motorcade came charging down Medical Street just as i was changing into the middle lane and almost ran me into the back of a slow moving bus. Now the part that really unstuck this sticking point for me, was the fact that my two-year-old son was in the car with me. I found myself so overcome with the horror of what might have occurred had i not reacted fast enough and found “just” enough room to squeeze by (even now, writing this i feel a lump swelling in my throat), that i couldn’t care less who’s being driven and whether they need protecting or not. NO ONE’S LIFE IS WORTH MORE THAN MY SON’S, OR ANY OTHER CHILD’S FOR THAT MATTER. So if taking a helicopter ride, driving incognito, or just taking more care on the roads is the answer, for the sake of our children, who ARE our great country’s future, PLEASE, BE MORE CAREFUL AND CONSIDER WHO ELSE IS BEING DRIVEN/PROTECTED. I may not wear a fancy uniform, or have flashy red and blue lights, but it’s my duty, as with every parent, to protect my son, but you don’t see me endangering others.

Your Two Piasters: