JORDAN: ROUGH POLITICS
In Jordan's Lower House of Parliament, largely wedded to the status quo, Prime Minister Marouf al-Bakhit barely managed to win a 53-50 vote of confidence following accusations of involvement in a murky casino deal involving King Abdullah's closest advisers and confidantes. The representatives already voted to indict former Tourism Minister Osama Dabbas on corruption charges. But in an extraordinary act for Jordanian politics, Dabbas returned this week to the small city of Salt, the heart of his tribal support base, and promptly blamed senior officials for the scandal at an open press conference. Dabbas said he refused to serve as a scapegoat for the aborted casino-construction project, blaming the head of the intelligence agency and a former confidante to the king for orchestrating the deal.
BAHRAIN: TICKET HOME
Moheet.com quotes official sources as saying that the 1,000 Saudi soldiers currently guarding key government buildings in Bahrain will begin withdrawing next week. Soldiers from the UAE and Saudi Arabia arrived in Bahrain in March to help quell the insurrection there against the ruling Al Khalifa family.
EGYPT: DINOSAUR TWEETS
Wael Ghonim tweets about government officials: "Government dinosaurs: Old, thinking little, making many mistakes, moving slowly, devoid of vision, weak of hearing and severely damaging anyone around them."
Al Jazeera features a question-and-answer interview with Tunisian writer Habib al-Salaami, who just published "The women of al-Bustan" in Arabic, a story of a modest family living in the Tunisian capital. On Tunisia , al-Salaami says that "society is the result of ambivalence and acceptance of the control of what some would call extremist religious thought." Add to that the layer of repression exercised by deposed President Ben Ali for decades "who rulsed Tunisia based on fear. And this has impacted the behavior of the Tunisian, who doesn't feel safe with anyone and resorts to deceit, lying and hypocrisy to protect himself."
Al-Salaami says that other, larger themes unite the Arab world: Swinging between "past and present, between tradition and modernity, between tradition that still has a strong presence in the patterns of our thinking and the desire for modernization."