June 11, 2012

Is there anything that distinguishes Ma’an from the rest of Jordan’s regions, and can we attribute the successive events that have been repeated in the city over the past years to the “speciality” that distinguishes the city from other Jordanian cities,

The report “Ma’an: An Open Crisis” seeks to approach the final answer to this question. To this end, a multi-field approach has been employed to cover all aspects of the problem under study in which the political security factor overlaps with the economic and social factor on the one hand, and with the ethical behavior on the other hand.

The report concluded that the phenomenon of violent protest in Ma’an is not the result of a single factor alone, as was the impression, and some previous studies concluded, but rather is the result of a number of overlapping factors.

On the socio-economic level, the report showed that there are some indicators that can distinguish the city from others, but these elements of distinction can only explain a limited aspect of the events that occurred in the city.

On the social level, the family and clan structure showed a unique situation in meanings that could explain some of the collective reactions, as the context of social transformations was reviewed with a historical perspective, and this was linked with the system of values ​​prevailing in the city circles compared to the rest of the kingdom.

It cannot be denied that there are special situations in Ma’an, but the sequence of events reviewed in the report could not be explained according to these characteristics, while issues related to the coordination mechanism between the ruling parties in the Kingdom emerged as an important element in interpreting the context of events. Also, looking at the city of Ma’an as a security problem stripped of its other dimensions did not contribute to finding radical solutions that mitigate the severity of events.

In order to bypass the recurrence of events, whether in Ma’an or in other parts of the Kingdom, dealing with “Ma’an” comes within a holistic perspective that sees the problem in all its dimensions, as it turns out that poor crisis management sometimes exacerbates and deepens some problems.

Although Ma’an is a city that has received and is still receiving official attention, failed experiments such as that of the glass factory damaged the city’s residents’ confidence in the government, which was seeking to improve economic conditions. The result of that effort was counterproductive. In contrast, the recent experience of Al-Hussein University represents the beginnings of a success story. 

 The report concluded that the relationship between the people of the city and the state cannot be described as healthy, as it turns out that there is a dispute over who represents Ma’an in the state’s agencies. Are they the local elites such as the city’s popular committee, or are they the traditional leaders who inhabit the capital Amman, which were historically It is the link between Ma’an and the government, and now, will the situation change after the people of Ma’an elect their representatives in the parliament, so that the relationship becomes clearer and more transparent,

In general, it is difficult to separate Ma’an from the national context, as economic and political development remains a general requirement, and without such development the situation remains a candidate to witness new events that may take many forms, hence the title of the report “Ma’an: An Open Crisis”.

Interest in the phenomenon of violent protest in the city of Ma’an increased, following the events of November 2002, by local and international academic and journalistic research institutions. Among the parties that dealt with the events and conditions of the city in the study was the report of the  International Crisis Group , which was more descriptive than analytical, and began to address the issue of events from where they ended, and did not put the events of Ma’an in their social and economic context, nor did it compare the city with the rest of the Kingdom To touch the privacy houses in the city of Ma’an, if any. As for the other report, it was issued by Al-Hussein University and related to the economic and social reality of families in Ma’an Governorate. The university conducted a survey and issued important detailed data related to the city, while leaving the analytical aspect to those interested and researchers. This report comes as a continuation of previous attempts to understand the nature of what happened in the city of Ma’an. 

As for the report that is in hand, it provides an assessment and analysis of the various aspects related to the repeated outbreak of violence in the city of Ma’an since 1989. The report departs from the issue of theoretical framing within an attempt to approach reality, and analyzes its most prominent political, economic, and social indicators, and the link between them To clarify what the report termed “meaningful reality”. Emphasis will be placed on analyzing the crises that Maan witnessed in order to identify their true causes, and then reaching the concluding observations that may help officials to find a solution to this phenomenon on the one hand, and on avoiding its recurrence in the future in Ma’an or other places in the Kingdom on the other hand.

This report is divided into five parts, where the first part provides a general introductory overview of Ma’an Governorate, while the second part seeks to diagnose the vital economic reality in the city, within the framework of identifying the factors that contributed to the emergence of the phenomenon of violent protest, and refuting some of the circulated impressions about the meaning of reality. or enhance it. In addition, this part aims to determine whether the city of Ma’an differs from the rest of the Kingdom, and whether it enjoys certain privacy or advantages that are not available in other regions in the Kingdom.

The third part of the report deals with the social construction of the city of Ma’an, as it deals with clan alliances and the value orientations of the city. This part helps to identify the role of this social structure and clan alliances in shaping the collective reactions of the people of the city of Ma’an on the one hand, and how to conduct the daily life of the people in normal periods as well as when crises occur on the other hand.

The fourth part of the report includes the history of crises in the city of Ma’an from 1989 until the last crisis in October 2002, and provides explanations and analyzes for these crises. This part aims to identify the main causes of these events and their sequence, as well as the essential obstacles that stand in the way of finding a solution to this problem.

The last part of this report presents the concluding observations, as well as an introduction to proposed solutions to overcome similar crises in the future, based on the analysis provided by the report.

As for the methodology adopted by the report, it is represented in personal meetings with the parties involved in the crisis, including meetings with current or former officials in the state. Also, a large amount of official data was based. In addition, the Center for Strategic Studies at the University of Jordan conducted a survey to identify the prevailing system of values ​​in Ma’an. In addition, part of the report relied on the anthropological methodology represented in participatory observations, through the coexistence of the research team with some of the residents of Ma’an for a period of time.

A number of specialists in social sciences, such as sociology, economics, law, political science, anthropology, and history, contributed to the preparation of this report, and they used multiple methodologies, each according to its specialization. Therefore , the report is characterized as a multi – field  Multidisciplinary  did not follow a uniform or a particular theoretical approach leads to the entrance of drawing conclusions. What dictated this research approach is the nature of the problem under discussion, which aims to answer the main question of the report: “Why are violent incidents recurring in Ma’an in particular?”