FREE Subscription to our
just enter your email address
View Previous Issues



Jordanians calls for Arab boycott

By Ibtisam Awadat,
Star Staff Writer
April 13, 2002

Opposition political parties, Professional Associations and other institutions are calling on all Arabs to boycott US products and in particular those companies that support Israel.


Jordanian Student holding a Boycott Israel Campaign banner

Jordanians welcomed the Iraqi move to cut its oil exports for one month in support of the Palestinian people starting from Monday 8 April. To create greater international impact, political observers noted other oil states are demanding the same action be taken. However, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait said they would not sever their oil exports.

Meanwhile, a popular initiative was launched to boycott US products,

The economic significance of the Iraqi move to suspend its oil exports will remain limited unless other oil states take the same procedure. If Libya and Iran join the Iraqis in their one-month suspension, OPEC will not be able to compensate for the market. "The production of those states [Iraq, Libya and Iran] comprises 30 percent of OPEC's, which is about seven to eight million oil barrel a day," Dr Jawad Al Anani, former deputy prime minister told The Star. The boycott by the three countries will create severe shortage.

The Iraqi decision was announced by President Saddam Hussein on the occasion of the establishment of Arab Baath party. Its implications are expected to be effective in putting pressure on the United Nations.

"According to the Oil-for-Food program, the UN takes 30 percent of Iraq's oil revenues." Al Anani believes that when these financial sources stop, the UN will certainly move to take action.

Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on 5 April Islamic countries should stop supplying oil for one month to countries with close relations to Israel.

Other analysts note the Iraqi move will lead to disturbance in the oil market and may affect oil prices. "The US administration doesn't understand [anything] but the language of their own interests," Dr Mohammad Saqr, economics professor at the University of Jordan told The Star.

Hence, economic pressure on the US will make it feel "Israel is nothing but a burden on their economy," Saqr noted.

The move is considered a message to all Arab regimes who claim they are unable to change the ongoing instability and force the Israelis to stop their aggression.

Jordanian popular organizations are fed up with the silence of their political regimes towards the Israeli massacres. There is a more pressing trend to take more forceful action. Opposition political parties, Professional Associations and other institutions are calling on all Arabs to boycott US products and in particular those companies that support Israel. Their names have already been circulated to many internet users. However, the magnitude of the Arab boycott of US products is minimized by economists.

"The boycott will not affect the US economy as a whole, however, the losses of grand US soft drinks, fast food and clothes wear will produce the required pressure," Al Anani explained. The Americans will understand the boycott as "a message of support [to the Palestinians] and they fear this would only be a first step which the Arab world will take to harm their economic interests," he added.

Dr Khaldoun Al Nasser, spokesman of the National Constitutional Party (NCP) believes the boycott should be applied more in the Gulf states since they are the biggest consumers of American products.

"The demonstrations, strikes and rallies will result in sabotage and chaos and only serve the Zionist enemy."

Al Nasser believes the Arab people demonstrated their role and "it's now time for Arab diplomacy to operate, not people," he added. More than 410 demonstrations in Jordan alone led to clashes with the police, damaging public and private properties and paralyzing economic life in Jordan because of the ongoing public strikes. Al Nasser believes "the spasmodic stand in the Jordanian street will badly affect the Palestinians and serve Zionist plots."