• A growing number of Jordanians believe king's measures are "cosmetic" steps designed to contain public outrage and discontent.

The enemies of reform and transparency in the King Abdullah's Hashemite Kingdom have begun targeting women who dare to speak out against dictatorship and corruption.

Some Jordanians claim that the enemies belong to the the notorious and much-feared General Intelligence Department. They note that in several cases over the past few months, security agents posing as street thugs have attacked pro-democracy activists in various parts of the kingdom.

Other Jordanians have expressed fear that their country could be descending toward anarchy and lawlessness as a result of growing street protests and violence. "The Arab Spring seems to knocking on Jordan's doors," remarked a Jordanian newspaper editor. "Unfortunately, the king and the government are continuing to bury their heads in the sand."

Earlier this week, a masked man stabbed and moderately wounded Inas Msallam, a Jordanian university stunted and blogger who had played a vital role in anti-government protests in the kingdom over the past few months.

Msallam, a fourth-year student at Jordan University, was attacked shortly after she criticized the monarch's uncle, Prince Hassan bin Talal.

The prince enraged many Jordanians after he had raised doubts as to whether those who are demanding reforms and democracy really represent a majority of Jordanians.

Msallam wrote on her blog: "All those who watched the interview with Prince Hassan have condemned his statements. Those who once thought that he was the right man in the right place have now reconsidered their stance."

The victim's mother, Noor Turkumani, said her daughter was targeted by "terrorists" and "thugs."

The mother added that her daughter had received death threats by phone because of her involvement in anti-government demonstrations and defense of student's rights on campus.

Although Jordanian security forces and government officials have strongly denounced the stabbing of the young woman, some Jordanians hold the authorities responsible.

These Jordanians point out this was not the first attack on its kind against anti-government protesters.

Earlier this month, another prominent Jordanian woman, Toujan Faisal, received death threats after she called for reforms and an end to corruption in the kingdom. When she was invited to speak at a seminar on reforms a few weeks ago, Faisal was assigned several bodyguards from Jordan's General Intelligence Department, which also provided her with a police vehicle to ensure her safety.

Faisal, who was the first female member of the Jordanian parliament, was held in custody for 15 days in 2002 after she sent a letter to the late King Hussein demanding reforms and transparency.

Although King Abdullah has taken a number of measures to fight corruption, many Jordanians feel that the kingdom still has a long way to go before it implements real reforms and democracy. Even worse, there is a growing number of Jordanians who believe that the king's measures are "cosmetic" steps that are designed to contain public outrage and discontent.

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