AMMAN, Jordan (AP) -- Jordan's King Abdullah II fired his government Tuesday in the wake of street protests and asked an ex-prime minister to form a new Cabinet, ordering him to launch immediate political reforms.
Apparently this was NOT bending to pressure from the Muslim Brotherhood but rather a preemptive move to prevent a repeat of the situation in Egypt.
As though 24 hour cable news doesn't provide enough images, the advent of social media is making it far easier for these movements to spread. Social media provides an unparalleled platform for coordinating and recruiting members for demonstrations. The Egyptian people have already outmaneuvered the Mubarak Administration by going old school for Internet access when the government shutdown the servers. The Egyptians used satellite phones, dial-up modems and radio packet switching to get their emails and Tweets out.
Like Mubarak, King Abdullah suspended the ability of opposition parties to challenge his authority. In the past, such measures worked since it was difficult to mount any large scale support. Furthermore those who dared challenge Mubarak or Abdullah faced stiff prison sentences in not so friendly jails. Social media has radically neutralized the ability of a single leader to deny dissenting groups a voice. The same social media that allows flash mobs to form dancing to "I Gotta Feeling" shows its versatility it getting like minded individuals at the same point in time and space to protest governments.
What is a political leader to do? President Obama's Administration pursued the Cyber Security Act of 2009 which would have allowed the President to declare martial law of the Internet. Of course legislation is rarely able to stop cover all of the different possibilities. If you shut down the servers, that still leaves dial-up modems and radio packet switches. Granted these are incredibly slow but it would still allow people to communicate with their digital devices. Shut these down and you still have short-wave, CB and HF radios. It would be very difficult to deny all radio frequencies without also denying military and first responders access to airwaves.
Which country is next? Yemen, Iraq and Albania are all possibilities. Azerbaijan, which produces 914,000 barrels of oil a day, is the largest country in the Caucus region of Eurasia. It is also Shiite. The combination of being Russia's largest oil field with a Muslim population makes for a potential battleground should the Muslim Brotherhood protests continue.