Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Fertile Crescent

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Fertile Crescent

Article excerpt

Female Candidates to Run in Jordan

The March 4 Jordan Times, quoting Jordanian National Commission for Women (JNCW) official Salwa Nasser, reports that at least 53 women "have so far expressed interest in participating in the June 17 parliamentary elections, following the government's introduction of six parliamentary seats for women in February." According to Nasser, JNCW members have met with several candidates to explain the new government quota and determine exactly how many women will be running per constituency.

According to the new law, if a female candidate wins more votes than a male competitor in their respective district, she wins an immediate seat in the Lower House without employing the quota. If that does not happen, the government will pick up to six candidates-based on percentage of the vote received-and appoint them to parliament.

Nasser expressed a hope that Jordan's women candidates "will organize themselves and choose the most qualified to run, so that there will be more than six women in Parliament." In addition to helping the candidates organize, the JNCW is setting up several workshops for female candidates, and has established a media unit to promote candidates and provide them with necessary information before, during and after the elections.

Lebanon De-Mining to Finish Early

According to a report in the Feb. 25 Daily Star, the two-year Operation Emirates Solidarity (OES) project aimed at clearing land mines in south Lebanon is set to finish a full year ahead of schedule-with impressive results. At least 28,944 anti-personnel mines and 295 anti-tank mines have been removed thus far, along with 784 unexploded munitions. Of an original 317 mine fields, only 89 remain to be dealt with, and those should be clear by June at the latest. South Lebanon U.N. representative Staffan de Mistura described himself as "very satisfied, frankly, although I won't be fully satisfied until it's over."

The project began in May 2002 with a $50 million donation from the United Arab Emirates. Two companies, UK-based Bactec and Zimbabwe's Minetech, were contracted to clear tour general areas. A fifth area is being considered for clearing, noted Bactec project manager Osama Ghosaibi, but the move has been delayed by Israel's refusal to hand over maps of mine fields north of the Litani River. Interestingly, while Bactec found former Israeli army positions to be well-mined, the mine fields the Israelis supposedly laid to protect former South Lebanon Army outposts turned out never to have existed. …

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