Global Security Watch--Jordan

Global Security Watch--Jordan

Global Security Watch--Jordan

Global Security Watch--Jordan


After decades of turbulence, Jordan is an accepted member of the community of Arab states. Yet it also has close ties to the United States, has established a peace treaty with Israel, and has emerged as one of al-Qaeda's most committed enemies. How has the Jordanian monarchy so successfully navigated the perilous straits of Middle Eastern politics?


The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has played a central role in many of the key issues, crises, and problems of the Middle East, despite Jordan’s status as a small country with limited resources. It has also been a key ally in Iraq, in the war on terrorism, and in the search for a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace settlement. It has been a force for progress and stability in a deeply troubled region, and its future stability and security are critical to the region’s future.

All of these facts make 2010 a particularly good time to examine Jordan’s role in the region and its importance in regional security. It has now been more than 10 years since King Abdullah II became Jordan’s monarch, and Jordan faces changing security challenges both without and within. Jordan’s security is highly dependent on the future of the Arab-Israeli peace process and the creation of a viable Palestinian state. Jordan’s security is also affected by Iraq’s stability, and by Iran’s rising challenge and ties to Lebanon and Syria. While it now has good relations with Saudi Arabia, it faces a growing challenge from Islamist extremism and terrorism. Moreover, Jordan faces economic and social pressures from within that could threaten its internal security unless it gets help in developing its economy.

This makes W. Andrew Terrill’s study of Jordan particularly timely and important. He has blended a straightforward and readable account of Jordan’s history and institutions with a useful consideration of the domestic and international security problems that Jordan must address. While one can find a great deal of useful information about the political system that King Hussein built from reading this work, it is also possible to see how the system and priorities have changed under a new king.

As Dr. Terrill points out, some of these changes are stylistic while others are nuanced departures from the policies of King Hussein within an overall . . .

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