Suleiman Nabulsi's Cabinet, 1956
مجلس استشاري سليمان النابلسي
Democracy in the Middle East: a concept repudiated by reality and contemplated by countless statesmen, diplomats, and political scientists. Why is the Middle East so resilient to democracy? While there is not one answer, the past can help elucidate a puzzle that has confounded generations.
Enter Suleiman Nabulsi's Cabinet. It is 1956, King Hussein of Jordan assumed the Hashemite crown in 1953, but he is still young, untested, and facing countless enemies both within and without his nascent kingdom. Arab nationalism, a belief that asserts all Arabs are of one nation and one destiny, has swept the Middle East with Gamal Abdul Nasser, the charismatic president of Egypt, at its head. The popularity of Arab nationalism in Jordan has forced King Hussein to move farther from the west, marked by his refusal to sign the British-led Baghdad Pact and dismissal of Glubb Pasha, the British commander of the Arab Legion. Importantly, King Hussein called for free parliamentary elections in October 1956. The new government, led by Suleiman al-Nabulsi and his nationalist allies, is Jordan’s first democratically elected government. Faced with hostile neighbors and undemocratic foes, Nabulsi and his cabinet have a daunting task ahead of them. The 1950s is known as Jordan’s liberal decade, but will the kingdom embrace democracy, or will it descend into tyranny?
Alec Hoffman is a senior studying political science and history. He is the senior co-president of Clark University Model United Nations and has chaired committees at ClarkMUN XI and XII. Outside of MUN, Alec is the captain of Clark University’s men’s cross-country team and a member of the Page Union. Pursuant to his interests regarding the Middle East and refugees, Alec studied in Amman, Jordan last year, where he began researching his honors thesis in political science. He looks forward to meeting everyone at ClarkMUN XIII and is excited to see Jordanian democracy given another chance!
Chair e-mail: AlHoffman@clarku.edu