Over the weekend, Saudi Arabias King Abdullah granted the right of women to vote in 2015. Elections for the Shoura Council, will be held this week, but women are not allowed to participate. Elaph.com published a commentary by Essam Abullah, who calls the decision to allow women to vote a step in the right direction, but notes that political rights should not be confused with fundamental rights (such as the right to drive a car) which are very much lacking. Men dominate strict, traditional societies and do not want to give up their hegemony over women, Essam Abdullah writes.
The Egyptian government is denying reports that eight members of the Gaddafi family have moved to Cairo from Algeria. There is absolutely no truth to the [Algerian] media reports, the ruling military leadership said in a statement.
JORDAN ("FAKE") DEMOCRACY
An editorial published on news site JordanZad.com, entitled Government bullying and fake democracy, laments the failure of any form of democracy in Jordan. The government pretends to reform the electoral process, but the bottom line is that MPs will face the most severe government bullying and marginalization, the equivalent to sitting in the back seat of the car, a role reserved for women. Government bullying has contributed significantly to emptying democracy of its true meaning, the unnamed author notes.
The article cites examples of how Jordans government makes unilateral decisions without approval or rejection from the public:
- changing monetary policies of the Central Bank
- joining the Gulf Cooperation Council, a six-member union modeled on the European Union
- raising the debt ceiling unilaterally
- building a nuclear power plan.
Bahrains leading human rights activist, Najeeb Rajab, an active opponent of the ruling Al Khalifa family, said in an interview: Since the beginning of the revolution, we have been monitoring the mercenaries [hired by the government] who are vandalizing and stealing and burning and torturing, but this corrupt government is not prosecuting them. Rather, they are prosecuting young people for participating in protests.
AT A MALL
Protesters on Sunday hid in a mall in Sanabis city, a suburb of Manama. As police raided one part of the mall, the longest-serving unelected prime minister in the world (the only premier Bahrain has had since independence, Sheikh Khalifa al-Khalifa, who came to power in 1971) held a photo op in a different part of the mall to reassure citizens.