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Jordan - Acknowledgments


The authors wish to acknowledge the contributions of the following individuals who wrote the 1980 edition of Jordan: A Country Study: Robert Rinehart, Irving Kaplan, Darrel R. Eglin, Rinn S. Shinn, and Harold D. Nelson. Their work provided the organization of the present volume, as well as substantial portions of the text.

The authors are grateful to individuals in various government agencies and private institutions who gave their time, research materials, and expertise to the production of this book. Special thanks are owed to the Jordan Information Bureau, which provided numerous photographs not otherwise credited, as well as photographs that served as the basis for the art work in this volume. Thanks go also to Dr. Helen Khal for her assistance in obtaining both the photographs and some data on Jordanian social welfare legislation.

The authors also wish to thank members of the Federal Research Division who contributed directly to the preparation of the manuscript. These people include Thomas Collelo, who reviewed all drafts and graphic material; Richard F. Nyrop, who reviewed all drafts and who served as liaison with the sponsoring agency; and Marilyn Majeska, who managed editing and production. Also involved in preparing the text were editorial assistants Barbara Edgerton and Izella Watson.

Individual chapters were edited by Sharon Costello. Catherine Schwartzstein performed the final prepublication editorial review, and Shirley Kessel compiled the index. The Library of Congress Composing Unit prepared the camera-ready copy, under the supervision of Peggy Pixley.

Invaluable graphics support was provided by David P. Cabitto, Sandra K. Ferrell, and Kimberly A. Lord. Harriett R. Blood assisted in preparing the final maps.

The authors would like to thank several individuals who provided research and operational support. Arvies J. Staton supplied information on ranks and insignia, and Ly H. Burnham assisted in obtaining demographic data.


Jordan - Preface


Like its predecessor, this study is an attempt to treat in a concise and objective manner the dominant social, political, economic, and military aspects of contemporary Jordanian society. Sources of information included scholarly journals and monographs, official reports of governments and international organizations, newspapers, and numerous periodicals. Measurements are given in the metric system.

The transliteration of Arabic words and phrases follows a modified version of the system adopted by the United States Board on Geographic Names and the Permanent Committee on Geographic Names for British Official Use, known as the BGN/PCGN system. The modification is a significant one, however, in that diacritical markings and hyphens have been omitted. Moreover, some personal and place names, such as King Hussein, Jordan River, and Petra, are so well known by these conventional names that their formal names-- Husayn, Nahr al Urdun, and Batra, respectively, are not used.


Jordan - History


JORDAN'S LOCATION AS a buffer zone between the settled region of the Mediterranean littoral west of the Jordan River and the major part of the desert to the east contributed significantly to the country's experience in ancient and more recent times. Until 1921, however, Jordan had a history as a vaguely defined territory without a separate political identity. Its earlier history, closely associated with the religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, therefore comes under the histories of the contending empires of which it often formed a part.

By the time the area was conquered by the Ottoman Empire in the sixteenth century, the inhabitants of three general geographic regions had developed distinct loyalties. The villagers and town dwellers of Palestine, west of the Jordan River, were oriented to the major cities and ports of the coast. In the north of presentday Jordan, scattered villagers and tribesmen associated themselves with Syria while the tribesmen of southern Jordan were oriented toward the Arabian Peninsula. Although most of the populace were Arab Muslims, the integration of peoples with such differing backgrounds and regional characteristics hampered the creation of a cohesive society and state.

In 1921 the Amirate of Transjordan was established under British patronage on the East Bank by the Hashimite (also seen as Hashemite) prince Abdullah ibn Hussein Al Hashimi, who had been one of the principal figures of the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire during World War I. Direct British administration was established in Palestine, where Britain (in the Balfour Declaration of 1917) had pledged to implement the founding of a Jewish homeland.

In 1947 Britain turned the problem of its Palestine Mandate over to the United Nations (UN). The UN passed a resolution that provided for the partition of the mandate into an Arab state, a Jewish state, and an international zone. When on May 14, 1948, the British relinquished control of the area, the establishment of the State of Israel was proclaimed. Transjordan's Arab Legion then joined the forces of other Arab states that had launched attacks on the new state. The end of the 1948-49 hostilities--the first of five Arab-Israeli wars--left Transjordan in control of the West Bank and the Old City of Jerusalem. Abdullah changed the name of the country to Jordan, proclaimed himself king, and in 1950 annexed the West Bank. In the June 1967 War (known to Israelis as the Six-Day War), Israel seized the West Bank, and reunited Jerusalem. In late 1989, the area remained under Israeli occupation.

The dominant characteristic of the Hashimite regime has been its ability to survive under severe political and economic stress. Major factors contributing to the regime's survival have included British and United States economic and military aid and the personal qualities first of King Abdullah and then of his grandson, Hussein ibn Talal ibn Abdullah ibn Hussein Al Hashimi. King Hussein has been a skillful politician who has dealt adroitly with foreign and domestic crises by using caution and by seeking consensus. One exception to this style of policy making occurred during the 1970- 71 battle against Palestinian resistance fighters, when the king ordered his mostly beduin-manned army to remove completely the Palestinian guerrillas, even after neighboring Arab states had called for a cease-fire.

During the late 1970s and early 1980s, regional events severely tested Jordan's stability. The election of the more hawkish Likud government in Israel and the expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank lent urgency to Hussein's quest for an Arab-Israeli territorial settlement. Arab ostracism of Egypt following the 1978 signing of the Camp David Accords and the 1979 Treaty of Peace Between Egypt and Israel ended Jordan's alliance with the Arab world's most politically influential and militarily powerful state. Jordan's vulnerability increased significantly in February 1979, when Shia radicals overthrew Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi of Iran. The Iranian revolutionaries threatened to expunge Western influences from the region and to overthrow non-Islamic Arab governments such as that of Jordan. Less than two years later, Iran and Iraq were embroiled in a costly war that caused a further shifting of Arab alliances; Jordan and the Arab states of the Persian Gulf sided with Iraq, while Syria supported Iran. SyrianJordanian relations deteriorated and nearly erupted in military conflict during the 1981 Arab summit conference in Amman, when Syrian president Hafiz al Assad accused Hussein of aiding the antigovernment Muslim Brotherhood in Syria. Finally, the downward slide of world oil prices that began in 1981 drained Jordan's economy of the large quantities of Arab petrodollars that had stirred economic development throughout the 1970s.

The turmoil besetting the Arab states in the 1980s presented Jordan with both risks and opportunities. With the traditional Arab powers either devitalized or, in the case of Egypt, isolated, Jordan was able to assume a more prominent role in Arab politics. Moreover, as the influence of Jordan's Arab neighbors waned, Hussein pursued a more flexible regional policy.

The weakness of the Arab states, however, enabled the Begin government in Israel to pursue a more aggressive foreign policy and to accelerate the pace of settlements in the occupied territories. Thus, between 1981 and 1982, the Arab states reacted apathetically to Israel's attack on the Iraqi nuclear reactor, its annexation of the Golan Heights, and its June 1982 invasion of Lebanon. Israeli aggressiveness and Arab passivity combined to raise fears in Jordan that Israel might annex the occupied territories and drive the Palestinians into Jordan. These fears were fueled by frequent references by Israel's hawkish Minister of Agriculture Ariel Sharon to Jordan as a Palestinian state.




The Jordan Valley provides abundant archaeological evidence of occupation by paleolithic and mesolithic hunters and gatherers. A people of neolithic culture, similar to that found around the Mediterranean littoral, introduced agriculture in the region. By the eighth millennium B.C., this neolithic culture had developed into a sedentary way of life. Settlements at Bayda on the East Bank and Jericho on the West Bank date from this period and may have been history's first "cities." Bronze Age towns produced a high order of civilization and carried on a brisk trade with Egypt, which exercised a dominant influence in the Jordan Valley in the third millennium. This thriving urban culture ended after 2000 B.C., when large numbers of Semitic nomads, identified collectively as the Amorites, entered the region, which became known as Canaan. Over a period of 500 years, the nomads encroached on the settled areas, gradually assimilated their inhabitants, and--by the middle of the second millennium--settled in the Jordan Valley, which became a Semitic language area. At about this time, Abraham (known to the Arabs as Ibrahim) and his household entered the area from the direction of Mesopotamia. The Canaanites and others referred to this nomadic group of western Semites as the habiru, meaning wanderers or outsiders. The name Hebrew probably derived from this term. More abrupt was the incursion of the Hyksos from the north who passed through Canaan on their way to Egypt.

After recovering from the Hyksos invasion, Egypt attempted to regain control of Syria, but its claim to hegemony there was contested by the empire-building Hittites from Anatolia (the central region of modern Turkey). The prolonged conflict between these two great powers during the fifteenth to thirteenth centuries B.C. bypassed the East Bank of the Jordan, allowing for the development of a string of small tribal kingdoms with names familiar from the Old Testament: Edom, Moab, Bashan, Gilead, and Ammon, whose capital was the biblical Rabbath Ammon (modern Amman). Although the economy of the countryside was essentially pastoral, its inhabitants adapted well to agriculture and were skilled in metallurgy. The Edomites worked the substantial deposits of iron and copper found in their country, while the land to the north was famous for its oak wood, livestock, resins, and medicinal balms. The towns profited from the trade routes crisscrossing the region that connected Egypt and the Mediterranean ports with the southern reaches of the Arabian Peninsula and the Persian Gulf.

Midway through the thirteenth century B.C., Moses is believed to have led the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and to have governed them during their forty-year sojourn in the Sinai Peninsula. When they were barred by the Edomites from entering Canaan from the south, the Israelites marched north toward Moab. Under Joshua, they crossed west over the Jordan River. The conquest of Canaan by the Israelite tribes was completed between 1220 and 1190 B.C. The tribes of Gad and Reuben, and half of the tribe of Manasseh were allocated conquered land on the East Bank. At about this time the Philistines, sea peoples who originated from Mycenae and who ravaged the eastern Mediterranean, invaded the coast of Canaan and confronted the Israelites in the interior. It was from the Philistines that Palestine derived its name, preserved intact in the modern Arabic word falastin.

Late in the eleventh century B.C., the Israelite tribes submitted to the rule of the warrior-king Saul. Under his successor David (ca. 1000-965 or 961 B.C.), Israel consolidated its holdings west of the Jordan River, contained the Philistines on the coast, and expanded beyond the old tribal lands on the East Bank. Ancient Israel reached the peak of its political influence under David's son, Solomon (965-928 B.C. or 961-922 B.C.), who extended the borders of his realm from the upper Euphrates in Syria to the Gulf of Aqaba in the south. Solomon, the first biblical figure for whom historical records exist outside the Bible, exploited the mineral wealth of Edom, controlled the desert caravan routes, and built the port at Elat to receive spice shipments from southern Arabia. With Solomon's passing, however, his much reduced realm divided into two rival Jewish kingdoms: Israel in the north and Judah (Judea), with its capital at Jerusalem, in the south. The history of the Jordan region over the next two centuries was one of constant conflict between the Jewish kingdoms and the kingdoms on the East Bank.

In 722 B.C. Israel fell to the Assyrian king, Shalmaneser, ruler of a mighty military empire centered on the upper Tigris River. As a result, the Israelites were deported from their country. Judah preserved its political independence as a tributary of Assyria, while the rest of the Jordan region was divided into Assyrian-controlled provinces that served as a buffer to contain the desert tribes--a function that would be assigned to the area by a succession of foreign rulers.

Assyria was conquered in 612 B.C. and its empire was absorbed by the Neo-Babylonian Empire in Mesopotamia. Judah was taken by Nebuchadnezzar, who destroyed Jerusalem in 586 B.C. and carried off most of the Jewish population to Babylon. Within fifty years, however, Babylon was conquered by the Persian Cyrus II. The Jews were allowed to return to their homeland, which, with the rest of the Jordan region, became part of the Achaemenid Empire.

The Achaemenids dominated the whole of the Middle East for two centuries until the rise of Macedonian power under Alexander the Great. With a small but well-trained army, Alexander crossed into Asia in 334 B.C., defeated Persia's forces, and within a few years had built an empire that stretched from the Nile River to the Indus River in contemporary Pakistan. After his death in 323 B.C., Alexander's conquests were divided among his Macedonian generals. The Ptolemaic Dynasty of pharaohs in Egypt and the line of Seleucid kings in Syria were descended from two of these generals.

Between the third century B.C. and the first century A.D., the history of Jordan was decisively affected by three peoples: Jews, Greeks, and Nabataeans. The Jews, many of whom were returning from exile in Babylonia, settled in southern Gilead. Along with Jews from the western side of the Jordan and Jews who had remained in the area, they founded closely settled communities in what later became known in Greek as the Peraea. The Greeks were mainly veterans of Alexander's military campaigns who fought one another for regional hegemony. The Nabataeans were Arabs who had wandered from the desert into Edom in the seventh century B.C. Shrewd merchants, they monopolized the spice trade between Arabia and the Mediterranean. By necessity experts at water conservation, they also proved to be accomplished potters, metalworkers, stone masons, and architects. They adopted the use of Aramaic, the Semitic lingua franca in Syria and Palestine, and belonged entirely to the cultural world of the Mediterranean.

In 301 B.C. the Jordan region came under the control of the Ptolemies. Greek settlers founded new cities and revived old ones as centers of Hellenistic culture. Amman was renamed Philadelphia in honor of the pharaoh Ptolemy Philadelphus. Urban centers assumed a distinctly Greek character, easily identified in their architecture, and prospered from their trade links with Egypt.

The East Bank was also a frontier against the rival dynasty of the Seleucids, who in 198 B.C. displaced the Ptolemies throughout Palestine. Hostilities between the Ptolemies and Seleucids enabled the Nabataeans to extend their kingdom northward from their capital at Petra (biblical Sela) and to increase their prosperity based on the caravan trade with Syria and Arabia.

The new Greek rulers from Syria instituted an aggressive policy of Hellenization among their subject peoples. Efforts to suppress Judaism sparked a revolt in 166 B.C. led by Judas (Judah) Maccabaeus, whose kinsmen in the next generation reestablished an independent Jewish kingdom under the rule of the Hasmonean Dynasty. The East Bank remained a battleground in the continuing struggle between the Jews and the Seleucids.

By the first century B.C., Roman legions under Pompey methodically removed the last remnants of the Seleucids from Syria, converting the area into a full Roman province. The new hegemony of Rome caused upheaval and eventual revolt among the Jews while it enabled the Nabataeans to prosper. Rival claimants to the Hasmonean throne appealed to Rome in 64 B.C. for aid in settling the civil war that divided the Jewish kingdom. The next year Pompey, fresh from implanting Roman rule in Syria, seized Jerusalem and installed the contender most favorable to Rome as a client king. On the same campaign, Pompey organized the Decapolis, a league of ten self- governing Greek cities also dependent on Rome that included Amman, Jarash, and Gadara (modern Umm Qays), on the East Bank. Roman policy there was to protect Greek interests against the encroachment of the Jewish kingdom.

When the last member of the Hasmonean Dynasty died in 37 B.C., Rome made Herod king of Judah. With Roman backing, Herod (37-34 B.C.) ruled on both sides of the Jordan River. After his death the Jewish kingdom was divided among his heirs and gradually absorbed into the Roman Empire.

In A.D. 106 Emperor Trajan formally annexed the satellite Nabataean kingdom, organizing its territory within the new Roman province of Arabia that included most of the East Bank of the Jordan River. For a time, Petra served as the provincial capital. The Nabataeans continued to prosper under direct Roman rule, and their culture, now thoroughly Hellenized, flourished in the second and third centuries A.D. Citizens of the province shared a legal system and identity in common with Roman subjects throughout the empire. Roman ruins seen in present-day Jordan attest to the civic vitality of the region, whose cities were linked to commercial centers throughout the empire by the Roman road system and whose security was guaranteed by the Roman army.

After the administrative partition of the Roman Empire in 395, the Jordan region was assigned to the eastern or Byzantine Empire, whose emperors ruled from Constantinople. Christianity, which had become the recognized state religion in the fourth century, was widely accepted in the cities and towns but never developed deep roots in the countryside, where it coexisted with traditional religious practices.

In the sixth century direct control over the Jordan region and much of Syria was transferred to the Ghassanids, Christian Arabs loyal to the Byzantine Empire. The mission of these warrior-nomads was to defend the desert frontier against the Iranian Sassanian Empire to the east as well as against Arab tribes to the south; in practice, they were seldom able to maintain their claim south of Amman. The confrontations between Syrian, or northern, Arabs-- represented by the Ghassanids--and the fresh waves of nomads moving north out of the Arabian Peninsula was not new to the history of the Jordan region and continued to manifest itself into the modern era. Contact with the Christian Ghassanids was an important source of the impulse to monotheism that flowed back into Arabia with the nomads, preparing the ground there for the introduction of Islam.




By the time of his death in A.D. 632, the Prophet Muhammad and his followers had brought most of the tribes and towns of the Arabian Peninsula under the banner of the new monotheistic religion of Islam (literally, submission), which was conceived of as uniting the individual believer, the state, and the society under the omnipotent will of God. Islamic rulers therefore exercised both temporal and religious authority. Adherents of Islam, called Muslims (those who submit to the will of God), collectively formed the House of Islam, or Dar al Islam.

Arab armies carried Islam north and east from Arabia in the wake of their rapid conquest, and also westward across North Africa. In 633, the year after Muhammad's death, they entered the Jordan region, and in 636, under Khalid ibn al Walid, they crushed the Byzantine army at the Battle of Uhud at the Yarmuk River. Jerusalem was occupied in 638, and by 640 all Syria was in Arab Muslim hands. Conversion to Islam was nearly complete among Arabs on the East Bank, although the small Jewish community in Palestine and groups of Greek and Arab Christians were allowed to preserve their religious identities. Arabic soon supplanted Greek and Aramaic as the primary language of the region's inhabitants in both town and countryside.

Muhammad was succeeded as spiritual and temporal leader of all Muslims by his father-in-law, Abu Bakr, who bore the title caliph (successor or deputy) for two years. Under Umar (A.D. 634-44), the caliphate began efforts to organize a government in areas newly conquered by the Muslims. The Quran, Islam's sacred scripture, was compiled during the caliphate of Uthman (644-56), whose reign was brought to an end by an assassin. Uthman was succeeded by Muhammad's cousin and son-in-law Ali, the last of the four socalled orthodox caliphs, who was also assassinated in 661.

A dispute over the caliphal succession led to a permanent schism that split Islam into two major branches--the Sunni and the Shia. The Shias supported the hereditary claim of Ali and his direct descendants, whereas the Sunnis favored the principle of consensual election of the fittest from the ranks of the ashraf (or shurfa--nobles; sing., sharif). Muslims in the Jordan region are predominantly Sunni.

After Ali's murder, Muawiyah--the governor of Syria and leader of a branch of Muhammad's tribe, the Quraysh of Mecca--proclaimed himself caliph and founded a dynasty--the Umayyad--that made its capital in Damascus. The Umayyad caliphs governed their vast territories in a personal and authoritarian manner. The caliph, assisted by a few ministers, held absolute and final authority but delegated extensive executive powers to provincial governors. Religious judges (qadis) administered Islamic law (sharia) to which all other considerations, including tribal loyalties, were theoretically subordinated.

The Umayyad Dynasty was overthrown in 750 by a rival Sunni faction, the Abbasids, who moved the capital of the caliphate to Baghdad. The Jordan region became even more of a backwater, remote from the center of power. Its economy declined as trade shifted from traditional caravan routes to seaborne commerce, although the pilgrim caravans to Mecca became an important source of income. Depopulation of the towns and the decay of sedentary agricultural communities, already discernible in the late Byzantine period, accelerated in districts where pastoral Arab beduins, constantly moving into the area from the south, pursued their nomadic way of life. Late in the tenth century A.D. the Jordan region was wrested from the Abbasids by the Shia Fatimid caliphs in Egypt. The Fatimids were in turn displaced after 1071 by the Seljuk Turks, who had gained control of the Abbasid caliphate in Baghdad.

The Seljuk threat to the Byzantine Empire and a desire to seize the holy places in Palestine from the Muslims spurred the Christian West to organize the First Crusade, which culminated in the capture of Jerusalem in 1099. The crusaders subsequently established the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, a feudal state that extended its hold to the East Bank. The crusaders used the term Outre Jourdain (Beyond Jordan) to describe the area across the river from Palestine--an area that was defended by a line of formidable castles like that at Al Karak.

In 1174 Salah ad Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub--better known in the West as Saladin--deposed the last Fatimid caliph, whom he had served as grand vizier, and seized power as sultan of Egypt. A Sunni scholar and experienced soldier of Kurdish origin, Saladin soon directed his energies against the crusader states in Palestine and Syria. At the decisive Battle of Hattin on the west shore of Lake Tiberias (Sea of Galilee), Saladin annihilated the crusaders' army in 1187 and soon afterward retook Jerusalem.

Saladin's successors in the Ayyubid Sultanate quarreled among themselves, and Saladin's conquests broke up into squabbling petty principalities. The Ayyubid Dynasty was overthrown in 1260 by the Mamluks (a caste of slave-soldiers, mostly of Kurdish and Circassian origin), whose warrior-sultans repelled the Mongol incursions and by the late fourteenth century held sway from the Nile to the Euphrates. Their power, weakened by factionalism within their ranks, contracted during the next century in the face of a dynamic new power in the Middle East--the Ottoman Turks.




Mamluk Egypt and its possessions fell to the Ottoman sultan, Selim I, in 1517. The Jordan region, however, stagnated under Ottoman rule. Although the pilgrim caravans to Mecca continued to be an important source of income, the East Bank was largely forgotten by the outside world for more than 300 years until European travelers "rediscovered" it in the nineteenth century.

For administrative purposes Ottoman domains were divided into provinces (vilayets) that were presided over by governors (pashas). The governors ruled with absolute authority, but at the pleasure of the sultan in Constantinople. Palestine was part of the vilayet of Beirut, and Jerusalem was administered as a separate district (sanjak) that reported directly to the sultan. The East Bank comprised parts of the vilayets of Beirut and Damascus. The latter was subdivided into four sanjaks: Hama, Damascus, Hawran, and Al Karak. Hawran included Ajlun and As Salt and Al Karak comprised the area mostly south of Amman. The territory south of the Az Zarqa River down to Wadi al Mawjib was under the control of the pasha of Nabulus, who was under the vilayet of Beirut.

From 1831 until 1839, Ottoman rule was displaced by that of Muhammad Ali--pasha of Egypt and nominally subject to the sultan-- when his troops occupied the region during a revolt against the Sublime Porte, as the Ottoman government came to be known. Britain and Russia compelled Muhammad Ali to withdraw and they restored the Ottoman governors.

The Ottomans enforced sharia in the towns and settled countryside, but in the desert customary tribal law also was recognized. Because of the unitary nature of Islamic law-- encompassing religious, social, civil, and economic life--it was inconceivable that it could be applied to non-Muslims. The Ottoman regime used the millet system, which accorded non-Muslim communities the right to manage their personal affairs according to their own religious laws. The European powers also concluded separate treaties (capitulations) with the Porte whereby their consuls received extraterritorial legal jurisdiction over their citizens and clients in the Ottoman Empire. In addition, France claimed the special right to protect the sultan's Roman Catholic subjects, and Russia to protect the sultan's more numerous Orthodox subjects.

At every level of the Ottoman system, administration was essentially military in character. On the East Bank, however, Ottoman rule was lax and garrisons were small. Ottoman officials were satisfied as long as order was preserved, military levies were provided when called for, and taxes were paid. These goals, however, were not easily achieved. To stabilize the population, in the late 1800s the Ottomans established several small colonies of Circassians--Sunni Muslims who had fled from the Caucasus region of Russia in the 1860s and 1870s. Although the Ottoman sultan in Constantinople was the caliph, Ottoman officials and soldiers were despised by the Arabs, who viewed them as foreign oppressors. Truculent shaykhs regularly disrupted the peace, and the fiercely independent beduins revolted frequently. In 1905 and again in 1910, serious uprisings were suppressed only with considerable difficulty.

In 1900 the Porte, with German assistance, began construction of the Hijaz Railway. By 1908 the railroad linked Damascus with the holy city of Medina. Its purpose was to transport Muslim pilgrims to Mecca and to facilitate military control of the strategic Arabian Peninsula. To protect the railroad, the Porte increased its Ottoman military presence along the route and, as it had done earlier to safeguard caravan traffic, subsidized rival Arab tribal shaykhs in the region.




In the last two decades of the nineteenth century, two separate movements developed that were to have continuing effects for all of the Middle East--the Arab revival and Zionism. Both movements aimed at uniting their peoples in a national homeland. They were to converge and confront each other in Palestine where, it was initially thought by some, they could each achieve their aspirations in an atmosphere of mutual accommodation. The two movements would, in fact, prove incompatible.

By 1875 a small group of Western-oriented Muslim and Christian Arab intellectuals in Beirut were urging the study of Arab history, literature, and language to revive Arab identity. By means of secretly printed and circulated publications they attempted to expose the harsh nature of Ottoman rule and to arouse an Arab consciousness in order to achieve greater autonomy or even independence. The idea of independence always was expressed in the context of a unified entity--"the Arab nation" as a whole. After only a few years, however, Ottoman security operations had stifled the group's activities.

At about the same time, a Jewish revival was finding expression in Europe that called for the return of the Jews in the Diaspora to their historic homeland. The impulse and development of Zionism were almost exclusively the work of European Jews. In 1897 Theodor Herzl convened the First Zionist Congress at Basel, Switzerland, where the Zionist Organization was founded with the stated aim of creating "for the Jewish people a home in Palestine secured by public law." As a result of Zionist efforts, the number of Jews in Palestine rose dramatically to about 85,000, or 12 percent of the total population, by the start of World War I.

The increased Jewish presence and the different customs of the new settlers aroused Arab hostility. The rising tension between Jewish settler and Arab peasant did not, however, lead to the establishment of Arab nationalist organizations. In the Ottomancontrolled Arab lands the Arab masses were bound by family, tribal, and Islamic ties; the concepts of nationalism and nation-state were viewed as alien Western categories. Thus, a political imbalance evolved between the highly organized and nationalistic Jewish settlers and the relatively unorganized indigenous Arab population.

A few Western-educated Arab intellectuals and military officers did form small nationalist organizations demanding greater local autonomy. The primary moving force behind this nascent Arab nationalist movement was opposition to the policies of Sultan Abdul Hamid II.

In 1908 a group of reform-minded nationalist army officers in Constantinople, known as the Young Turks, forced Sultan Abdul Hamid II to restore the 1876 Ottoman constitution. The next year the Young Turks deposed Hamid in favor of his malleable brother, Mehmed V. Under the constitution, Ottoman provinces were represented by delegates elected to an imperial parliament. The restoration of the constitution and installation of Mehmed V initially generated a wave of good feeling among the empire's non-Turkish subjects and stimulated expectations of greater self-government.

It soon became clear, however, that the Young Turks, led by Enver Pasha, were bent instead on further centralizing the Ottoman administration and intensifying the "Turkification" of the Ottoman domains. Arab opposition to the Turkish nationalist policies asserted itself in two separate arenas: among urban intellectuals and in the countryside. One source of opposition developed among Arab intellectuals in Cairo, Beirut, and Damascus, who formulated the ideas of a new Arab nationalism. The primary moving force behind this nascent Arab nationalist movement was opposition to the policies of Sultan Abdul Hamid. The removal of Sultan Abdul Hamid by the Committee of Union and Progress (the umbrella organization of which the Young Turks was the major element) was widely supported by Arab nationalists. The committee's program of institutional reform and promised autonomy raised Arab nationalist hopes.

After 1908, however, it quickly became clear that the nationalism of Abdul Hamid's successors was Turkish nationalism bent on Turkification of the Ottoman domain rather than on granting local autonomy. In response, Arab urban intellectuals formed clandestine political societies such as the Ottoman Decentralization Party, based in Cairo; Al Ahd (The Covenant Society), formed primarily by army officers in 1914; and Jamiat al Arabiyah al Fatat (The Young Arab Society), known as Al Fatat (The Young Arabs), formed by students in 1911. The Arab nationalism espoused by these groups, however, lacked support among the Arab masses.

A more traditional form of opposition emerged among the remote desert tribes of Jordan and the Arabian Peninsula, which were politically inarticulate but resentful of foreign control. The link between the urban political committees and the desert tribesmen was Hussein ibn Ali Al Hashimi, the grand sharif and amir of Mecca and hereditary custodian of the Muslim holy places. Hussein, head of the Hashimite branch of the Quraysh tribe, claimed descent from the Prophet. Hussein and his sons Abdullah and Faisal (who had been educated as members of the Ottoman elite as well as trained for their roles as Arab chieftains) had spent the years 1893 to 1908 under enforced restraint in Constantinople. In 1908 Abdul Hamid II appointed Hussein amir of Mecca and allowed him and his sons to return to the Hijaz, the western part of present-day Saudi Arabia. Some sources contend that Hussein's nomination was suggested by the Young Turks, who believed that he would be a stabilizing influence there, particularly if he were indebted to them for his position. In his memoirs, however, Abdullah stated that Abdul Hamid II named his father in preference to a candidate proposed by the Young Turks. Hussein reportedly asked for the appointment on the ground that he had an hereditary right to it. From the outset, Abdullah wrote, his father was at odds with the attempts of the Young Turk regime to bring the Hijaz under the centralized and increasingly secularized administration in Constantinople. Once in office, Hussein proved less tractable than either the sultan or the Turkish nationalists had expected.

Abdullah and Faisal established contact with the Arab nationalists in Syria. Faisal delivered to his father the so-called Damascus Protocol in which the nationalists, who appealed to Hussein as "Father of the Arabs" to deliver them from the Turks, set out the demands for Arab independence that were used by Faisal in his subsequent negotiations with the British. In return, the nationalists accepted the Hashimites as spokesmen for the Arab cause.


Jordan - WORLD WAR I


On the eve of World War I, the anticipated break-up of the enfeebled Ottoman Empire raised hopes among Arab nationalists. The Arab nationalists wanted an independent Arab state covering all the Ottoman Arab domains. The nationalist ideal, however, was not very unified; even among articulate Arabs, competing visions of Arab nationalism--Islamic, pan-Arab, and statist--inhibited coordinated efforts at independence.

Britain, in possession of the Suez Canal and playing a dominant role in India and Egypt, attached great strategic importance to the region. British Middle East policy, however, espoused conflicting objectives; as a result, London became involved in three distinct and contradictory negotiations concerning the fate of the region.

In February 1914, Abdullah visited Cairo, where he held talks with Lord Kitchener, the senior British official in Egypt. Abdullah inquired about the possibility of British support should his father raise a revolt against the Turks. Kitchener's reply was necessarily noncommittal because Britain then considered the Ottoman Empire a friendly power. War broke out in August, however, and by November the Ottoman Empire had aligned with Germany against Britain and its allies. Kitchener was by then British secretary of state for war and, in the changed circumstances, sought Arab support against the Turks. In Cairo, Sir Henry McMahon, British high commissioner and Kitchener's successor in Egypt, carried on an extensive correspondence with Hussein.

In a letter to McMahon in July 1915, Hussein specified that the area under his independent "Sharifian Arab Government" should consist of the Arabian Peninsula (except Aden, a British colony), Palestine, Lebanon, Syria (including present-day Jordan), and Iraq. In October McMahon replied on behalf of the British government. McMahon declared British support for postwar Arab independence, subject to certain reservations, and "exclusions of territory not entirely Arab or concerning which Britain was not free to act without detriment to the interests of her ally France." The territories assessed by the British as not purely Arab included "the districts of Mersin and Alexandretta, and portions of Syria lying to the west of the districts of Damascus, Homs, Hama, and Aleppo."

As with the later Balfour Declaration, the exact meaning of the McMahon pledge was unclear, although Arab spokesmen have usually maintained that Palestine was within the area guaranteed independence as an Arab state. In June 1916, Hussein launched the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire and in October proclaimed himself "king of the Arabs," although the Allies recognized him only as king of the Hijaz, a title rejected by most peninsular Arabs. Britain provided supplies and money for the Arab forces led by Abdullah and Faisal. British military advisers also were detailed from Cairo to assist the Arab army that the brothers were organizing. Of these advisers, T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) was to become the best known.

While Hussein and McMahon corresponded over the fate of the Middle East, the British were conducting secret negotiations with the French and the Russians over the same territory. Following the British military defeat at the Dardanelles in 1915, the Foreign Office sought a new offensive in the Middle East, which it thought could only be carried out by reassuring the French of Britain's intentions in the region. In February 1916, the Sykes-Picot Agreement (officially the "Asia Minor Agreement") was signed, which, contrary to the contents of the Hussein-McMahon correspondence, proposed to partition the Middle East into French and British zones of control and interest. Under the Sykes-Picot Agreement, Palestine was to be administered by an international "condominium" of the British, French, and Russians, whereas Transjordan would come under British influence.

The final British pledge, and the one that formally committed Britain to the Zionist cause, was the Balfour Declaration of November 1917. The Balfour Declaration stated that Britain viewed with favor "the establishment in Palestine of a National Home for the Jewish People." After the Sykes-Picot Agreement, Palestine had taken on increased strategic importance because of its proximity to the Suez Canal, where the British garrison had reached 300,000 men, and because of the planned British attack from Egypt on Ottoman Syria. As early as March 1917, Lloyd George was determined that Palestine should become British and he thought that its conquest by British troops would abrogate the Sykes-Picot Agreement. The new British strategic thinking viewed the Zionists as a potential ally capable of safeguarding British imperial interests in the region.

The British pledge transformed Zionism from a quixotic dream into a legitimate and achievable undertaking. For these reasons the Balfour Declaration was widely criticized throughout the Arab world, and especially in Palestine, as contrary to the British pledges contained in the Hussein-MacMahon correspondence. The wording of the document itself, although painstakingly devised, was interpreted differently by different people. Ultimately, it was found to contain two incompatible undertakings: establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jews and preservation of the rights of existing non-Jewish communities. The incompatibility of these two goals sharpened over the succeeding years and became irreconcilable.

In November 1917, the contents of the Sykes-Picot Agreement were revealed by the Bolshevik government in Russia. Arab consternation at the agreement was palliated by British and French reassurances that their commitments to the Arabs would be honored and by the fact that Allied military operations were progressing favorably. Hussein had driven the Turkish garrison out of Mecca in the opening weeks of the Arab Revolt. Faisal's forces captured Al Aqabah in July 1917, and the British expeditionary force under General Sir (later Field Marshal Viscount) Edmund Allenby entered Jerusalem in December. Faisal accepted the military subordination of his army to overall British command, but for him the fighting was essentially a war of liberation in which Britain was actively cooperating with the Arabs. The British command, however, considered the Arab army an adjunct to the Allied offensive in Palestine, intended primarily to draw Turkish attention to the East Bank while Allenby mopped up resistance in Galilee and prepared for a strike at Damascus. In September 1918, the British army decisively defeated the Turks at Megiddo (in contemporary Israel), and an Arab force under Lawrence captured Daraa, thus opening the way for the advance into Syria. Faisal entered Damascus on October 2, and the Ottoman government consented to an armistice on October 31, bringing the war in that theater to a close.

Between January 1919 and January 1920, the Allied Powers met in Paris to negotiate peace treaties with the Central Powers. At the conference, Amir Faisal (representing the Arabs) and Chaim Weizmann (representing the Zionists) set forth their cases. Weizmann and Faisal reached a separate agreement on January 3, 1919, pledging the two parties to cordial cooperation; however, Faisal wrote a proviso on the document in Arabic that his signature depended upon Allied war pledges regarding Arab independence. Since these pledges were not fulfilled to Arab satisfaction after the war, most Arab leaders and spokesmen have not considered the Faisal-Weizmann agreement as binding.

President Woodrow Wilson appointed an American panel, the King- Crane Commission, to investigate the disposition of Ottoman territories and the assigning of mandates. After extensive surveys in Palestine and Syria, the commission reported intense opposition to the Balfour Declaration among the Arab majority in Palestine and advised against permitting unlimited Jewish immigration or the creation of a separate Jewish state. The commission's report in August 1919 was not officially considered by the conference, however, and was not made public until 1922.

Mandate allocations making Britain the mandatory power for Palestine (including the East Bank and all of present-day Jordan) and Iraq, and making France the mandatory power for the area of Syria and Lebanon, were confirmed in April 1920 at a meeting of the Supreme Allied Council at San Remo, Italy. The terms of the Palestine Mandate reaffirmed the Balfour Declaration, called on the mandatory power to "secure establishment of the Jewish national home," and recognized "an appropriate Jewish agency" to advise and cooperate with British authorities toward that end. The Zionist Organization was specifically recognized as that agency. Hussein and his sons opposed the mandate's terms on the ground that Article 22 of the League of Nations Covenant adopted at Versailles had endorsed the Wilsonian principle of self-determination of peoples and thereby, they maintained, logically and necessarily supported the cause of the Arab majority in Palestine.

For the British government, pressed with heavy responsibilities and commitments after World War I, the objective of mandate administration was the peaceful development of Palestine by Arabs and Jews under British control. To Hussein, cooperation with the Zionists had meant no more than providing a refuge for Jews within his intended Arab kingdom. To Zionist leaders, the recognition in the mandate was simply a welcome step on the way to attainment of a separate Jewish national state. A conflict of interests between Arabs and Jews and between both sides and the British developed early in Palestine and continued thereafter at a rising tempo throughout the mandate period.

After the armistice, the Allies organized the Occupied Enemy Territory Administration to provide an interim government for Palestine, Syria, and Iraq. In July 1919, the General Syrian Congress convened in Damascus and called for Allied recognition of an independent Syria, including Palestine, with Faisal as its king. When no action was taken on the proposal, the congress in March 1920 unilaterally proclaimed Syria independent and confirmed Faisal as king. Iraqi representatives similarly announced their country's independence as a monarchy under Abdullah. The League of Nations Council rejected both pronouncements, and in April the San Remo Conference decided on enforcing the Allied mandates in the Middle East. French troops occupied Damascus in July, and Faisal was served with a French ultimatum to withdraw from Syria. He went into exile, but the next year was installed by the British as king of Iraq.

At the same time, Abdullah was organizing resistance against the French in Syria, arousing both French ire and British consternation. Assembling a motley force of about 2,000 tribesmen, he moved north from Mecca, halting in Amman in March 1920. In October the British high commissioner for Palestine called a meeting of East Bank shaykhs at As Salt to discuss the future of the region, whose security was threatened by the incursion of Wahhabi sectarians (adherents of a puritanical Muslim sect who stressed the unity of God) from Najd in the Arabian Peninsula. It became clear to the British that Abdullah, who remained in Amman, could be accepted as a ruler by the beduin tribes and in that way be dissuaded from involving himself in Syria.

In March 1921, Winston Churchill, then British colonial secretary, convened a high-level conference in Cairo to consider Middle East policy. As a result of these deliberations, Britain subdivided the Palestine Mandate along the Jordan River-Gulf of Aqaba line. The eastern portion--called Transjordan--was to have a separate Arab administration operating under the general supervision of the commissioner for Palestine, with Abdullah appointed as amir. At a follow-up meeting in Jerusalem with Churchill, High Commissioner Herbert Samuel, and Lawrence, Abdullah agreed to abandon his Syrian project in return for the amirate and a substantial British subsidy.

A British government memorandum in September 1922, approved by the League of Nations Council, specifically excluded Jewish settlement from the Transjordan area of the Palestine Mandate. The whole process was aimed at satisfying wartime pledges made to the Arabs and at carrying out British responsibilities under the mandate.




At its inception in 1921, the Amirate of Transjordan had fewer than 400,000 inhabitants. Of this number, about 20 percent lived in four towns each having populations of from 10,000 to 30,000. The balance were farmers in village communities and pastoral nomadic and seminomadic tribespeople. The amirate's treasury operated on British financial aid established on the basis of an annual subsidy. A native civil service was gradually trained with British assistance, but government was simple, and Abdullah ruled directly with a small executive council, much in the manner of a tribal shaykh. British officials handled the problems of defense, finance, and foreign policy, leaving internal political affairs to Abdullah. To supplement the rudimentary police in 1921, a reserve Arab force was organized by F. G. Peake, a British officer known to the Arabs as Peake Pasha. This Arab force soon was actively engaged in suppressing brigandage and repelling raids by the Wahhabis. In 1923 the police and reserve force were combined into the Arab Legion as a regular army under Peake's command.

In 1923 Britain recognized Transjordan as a national state preparing for independence. Under British sponsorship, Transjordan made measured progress along the path to modernization. Roads, communications, education, and other public services slowly but steadily developed, although not as rapidly as in Palestine, which was under direct British administration. Tribal unrest remained a persistent problem, reaching serious proportions in 1926 in the Wadi Musa-Petra area. In the same year, Britain attached senior judicial advisers to Abdullah's government, and formed the Transjordan Frontier Force. This body was a locally recruited unit of the British Army assigned to guard the frontier and was distinct from the Arab Legion.

Britain and Transjordan took a further step in the direction of self-government in 1928, when they agreed to a new treaty that relaxed British controls while still providing for Britain to oversee financial matters and foreign policy. The two countries agreed to promulgate a constitution--the Organic Law--later the same year, and in 1929 to install the Legislative Council in place of the old executive council. In 1934 a new agreement with Britain allowed Abdullah to set up consular representation in Arab countries, and in 1939 the Legislative Council formally became the amir's cabinet, or council of ministers.

In 1930, with British help, Jordan launched a campaign to stamp out tribal raiding among the beduins. A British officer, John Bagot Glubb (better known as Glubb Pasha), came from Iraq to be second in command of the Arab Legion under Peake. Glubb organized a highly effective beduin desert patrol consisting of mobile detachments based at strategic desert forts and equipped with good communications facilities. When Peake retired in 1939, Glubb succeeded to full command of the Arab Legion.

Abdullah was a faithful ally to Britain during World War II. Units of the Arab Legion served with distinction alongside British forces in 1941 overthrowing the pro-Nazi Rashid Ali regime that had seized power in Iraq and defeating the Vichy French in Syria. Later, elements of the Arab Legion were used in guarding British installations in Egypt.

During the war years, Abdullah--who never surrendered his dream of a Greater Syria under a Hashimite monarchy--took part in the inter-Arab preliminary discussions that resulted in the formation of the League of Arab States (Arab League) in Cairo in March 1945. The original members of the League of Arab States were Transjordan, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Yemen.

In March 1946, Transjordan and Britain concluded the Treaty of London, under which another major step was taken toward full sovereignty for the Arab state. Transjordan was proclaimed a kingdom, and a new constitution replaced the obsolete 1928 Organic Law. Abdullah's application for membership in the UN was disapproved by a Soviet Union veto, which asserted that the country was not fully independent of British control. A further treaty with Britain was executed in March 1948, under which all restrictions on sovereignty were removed, although limited British base and transit rights in Transjordan continued, as did the British subsidy that paid for the Arab Legion.

By 1947 Palestine was one of the major trouble spots in the British Empire, requiring a presence of 100,000 troops to maintain peace and a huge maintenance budget. On February 18, 1947, Foreign Minister Ernest Bevin informed the House of Commons of the government's decision to present the Palestine problem to the UN. On May 15, 1947, a special session of the UN General Assembly established the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP), consisting of eleven members. UNSCOP reported on August 31 that a majority of its members supported a geographically complex system of partition into separate Arab and Jewish states, a special international status for Jerusalem, and an economic union linking the three members. Supported by both the United States and the Soviet Union, this plan was adopted by the UN General Assembly in November 1947. Although they considered the plan defective in terms of their expectations from the mandate agreed to by the League of Nations twenty-five years earlier, the Zionist General Council stated their willingness in principle to accept partition. The Arab League Council, meeting in December 1947, said it would take whatever measures were required to prevent implementation of the resolution. Abdullah was the only Arab ruler willing to consider acceptance of the UN partition plan.

Amid the increasing conflict, the UN Implementation Commission was unable to function. Britain thereupon announced its intention to relinquish the mandate and withdrew from Palestine on May 14, 1948. On the same day, the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel was proclaimed in Jerusalem. Palestinian Arabs refused to set up a state in the Arab zone.

In quick succession, Arab forces from Egypt, Transjordan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia advanced into Israel. Except for the British-trained Arab Legion, they were composed of inexperienced and poorly led troops. Abdullah, the sole surviving leader of the Arab Revolt of World War I, accepted the empty title of commander in chief of Arab forces extended to him by the Arab League. His motive for ordering the Arab Legion into action was expressly to secure the portion of Palestine allocated to the Arabs by the 1947 UN resolution. The Arab Legion, concentrated on the East Bank opposite Jericho, crossed the Jordan on May 15 and quickly captured positions in East Jerusalem and its environs. The Legion also created a salient at Latrun northwest of Jerusalem to pinch the Israeli supply line into the city. Abdullah had been particularly insistent that his troops must take and hold the Old City of Jerusalem, which contained both Jerusalem's principal Muslim holy places and the traditional Jewish Quarter. Other Arab Legion units occupied Hebron to the south and fanned out through Samaria to the north (Samaria equates to the northern part of the West Bank). By the end of 1948, the areas held by the Arab Legion and the Gaza Strip, held by the Egyptians, were the only parts of the former Mandate of Palestine remaining in Arab hands.

Early in the conflict, on May 29, 1948, the UN Security Council established the Truce Commission headed by a UN mediator, Swedish diplomat Folke Bernadotte, who was assassinated in Jerusalem on September 17, 1948. He was succeeded by Ralph Bunche, an American, as acting mediator. The commission, which later evolved into the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization-Palestine (UNTSOP), attempted to devise new settlement plans and arranged truces. Armistice talks were initiated with Egypt in January 1949, and an armistice agreement was established with Egypt on February 24, with Lebanon on March 23, with Transjordan on April 3, and with Syria on July 20. Iraq did not enter into an armistice agreement but withdrew its forces after turning over its positions to Transjordanian units.




The population of Transjordan before the war was about 340,000. As a result of the war, about 500,000 Palestinian Arabs took refuge in Transjordan or in the West Bank. Most of these people had to be accommodated in refugee camps, which were administered under the auspices of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, set up in 1949. In addition there were about 500,000 indigenous residents of the West Bank.

In December 1948, Abdullah took the title of King of Jordan and in April 1949 he directed that the official name of the country-- East Bank and West Bank--be changed to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, a name found in the 1946 constitution but not until then in common use. In April 1950, elections were held in both the East Bank and the West Bank. Abdullah considered the results favorable, and he formally annexed the West Bank to Jordan, an important step that was recognized by only two governments: Britain and Pakistan. Within the Arab League, the annexation was not generally approved, and traditionalists and modernists alike condemned the move as a furtherance of Hashimite dynastic ambitions.

Abdullah continued to search for a long-term, peaceful solution with Israel, although for religious and security reasons he did not favor the immediate internationalization of Jerusalem. He found support for this position only from Hashimite kinsmen in Iraq. Nationalist propaganda, especially in Egypt and Syria, denounced him as a reactionary monarch and a tool of British imperialism.

The Arab League debates following the Jordanian annexation of the West Bank were inconclusive, and Abdullah continued to set his own course. The residual special relationship with Britain continued, helping to keep the East Bank relatively free from disturbance. Although not yet a member of the UN, Jordan supported the UN action in Korea and entered into an economic developmental aid agreement with the United States in March 1951, under President Harry S Truman's Point Four program.

On July 20, 1951, Abdullah was assassinated as he entered the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem for Friday prayers. His grandson, fifteen-year-old Prince Hussein, was at his side. Before the assassin was killed by the king's guard, he also fired at Hussein. The assassin was a Palestinian reportedly hired by relatives of Hajj Amin al Husayni, a former mufti of Jerusalem and a bitter enemy of Abdullah, who had spent World War II in Germany as a proNazi Arab spokesman. Although many radical Palestinians blamed Abdullah for the reverses of 1948, there was no organized political disruption after his murder. The main political question confronting the country's leaders was the succession to the throne.

Abdullah's second son, Prince Naif, acted temporarily as regent, and some support existed for his accession to the throne. Naif's older brother, Prince Talal, was in Switzerland receiving treatment for a mental illness diagnosed as schizophrenia. It was widely believed that Abdullah would have favored Talal so that the succession might then pass more easily to Talal's son, Hussein. Accordingly, the government invited Talal to return and assume the duties of king. During his short reign, Talal promulgated a new Constitution in January 1952. Talal showed an inclination to improve relations with other Arab states, and Jordan joined the Arab League's Collective Security Pact, which Abdullah had rejected. Talal was popular among the people of the East Bank, who were not aware of his periodic seizures of mental illness. But the king's condition steadily worsened, and in August the prime minister recommended to a secret session of the Jordanian legislature that Talal be asked to abdicate in favor of Hussein. Talal acceded to the abdication order with dignity and retired to a villa near Istanbul, where he lived quietly until his death in 1972.

Hussein, who was a student at Harrow in Britain, returned immediately to Jordan. Under the Constitution he could not be crowned because he was under eighteen years of age, and a regency council was formed to act on his behalf. Before he came to the throne, he attended the British Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. When he was eighteen years old by the Muslim calendar, he returned to Jordan and in May 1953 formally took the constitutional oath as king.


Jordan - Hussein's Early Reign


The chief influences that guided the young Hussein were the example and teachings of his grandfather and his own education in conservative English schools. Although Jordan was a constitutional monarchy, as king Hussein had extensive legal powers. For example, the Constitution allowed him to dismiss the National Assembly and to appoint the prime minister and other ministers. In addition, he enjoyed the traditional support of the East Bank beduin tribes. Considered the backbone of the Hashimite monarchy, the Arab Legion was composed of intensely loyal beduins, whose equipment and salaries were paid for by Britain.

The majority of Jordan's population, however, did not consist of beduins. Between one-half and two-thirds of Hussein's subjects were Palestinians, whereas the government elite was mostly from the East Bank. This elite was more conservative and traditional in its political attitudes than the Palestinians, whose spokespersons often reflected a radical brand of Arab nationalism. In Cairo the successful coup d'état carried out by the Egyptian Free Officers movement (headed by Gamal Abdul Nasser) had overthrown the monarchy in July 1952 and established a republic. Palestinians, who generally blamed Britain, the United States, and the Hashimites for their misfortunes, regarded Nasser as a champion of Arab nationalism.

As border incidents with Israel escalated into a succession of reprisals and counterreprisals between Palestinian infiltrators and Israeli security forces, Hussein's problems grew. The Arab Legion tried to secure the armistice line and prevent infiltration, but its numbers were inadequate to provide complete and continuous coverage of the border. In response to the terrorist attacks, Israel adopted the technique of massive retaliation that often went deep into Jordanian territory.

In 1953 and early 1954, Israel tentatively accepted a United States plan (the Eric Johnston Plan) for distribution of the water taken from the Jordan River. Although the plan was recognized as technically sound from an engineering standpoint, ultimately it was rejected by Jordan and the other Arab states concerned because it involved cooperation with--and the implied recognition of--Israel. Given the stress of inter-Arab political relationships, it was impracticable for Jordan to initiate a settlement with Israel, even though there were strong incentives to do so.

Britain agreed to a new financial aid arrangement with Jordan in 1954 in which London evinced an interest in coordinating military and economic aid to Amman, with Jordanian participation, in the context of an overall Middle Eastern defense system. In February 1955, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Pakistan joined Britain in signing the Baghdad Pact, which ultimately became the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO). A high-ranking British military delegation visited Amman to discuss conditions under which Jordan might also become a participant. The purpose of the visit was generally known, and Arab nationalist propaganda, especially from Palestinians and Radio Cairo, raised a storm of protest denouncing the pact and the monarchy as "tools of Western imperialism" and a "sellout to the Jews." In December Hussein asked Hazza al Majali to form a government. Majali came from a distinguished family of tribal shaykhs and was known to be pro-Western. Shortly after forming his cabinet, he stated unequivocally that he intended to take Jordan into the Baghdad Pact. Three days of demonstrations and rioting in Amman began after the announcement, and the Arab Legion was called in to restore order. The Majali government resigned after only a week in power, and it became clear that Jordan would not become a signatory of the Baghdad Pact.

In March 1956, Hussein, responding to the public reaction against joining the British-sponsored Baghdad Pact, attempted to show his independence from Britain by dismissing Glubb as commander of the Arab Legion. Glubb's dismissal precipitated a diplomatic crisis that threatened to isolate Hussein from his principal benefactor, Britain. Relations were strained for many years although the British subsidy was not withdrawn.

Hussein designated Ali Abu Nuwar, an officer known for his nationalist sympathies, as Glubb's successor in the Arab Legion. The name of the force was officially changed to the Jordan Arab Army, and British officers were phased out of the service.

Border incidents with Israel were a continuing source of anxiety in 1956. In October an Israeli task force, supported by aircraft and artillery, attacked the West Bank village of Qalqilyah, killing forty-eight persons in reprisal for a guerrilla attack in Israel. Palestinians clamored for war, and in this crisis atmosphere Jordanian politics ventured into anti-Western nationalism.

In the parliamentary elections of October 21, 1956, the National Socialist Party received a plurality of votes, and Hussein designated its leader, Sulayman Nabulsi, as prime minister. Several National Front Party (Communist Party of Jordan) members and members of the Baath Party (Arab Socialist Resurrection Party) also gained seats in the National Assembly, although independents and the older, conservative parties were represented about equally with the leftists and nationalists. Nabulsi was an ardent admirer of Nasser and shaped the policies of his government accordingly. Nonetheless, when Israel attacked Egyptian forces in the Sinai Peninsula on October 29 and after British and French forces landed at Port Said on November 5, Nabulsi suddenly proved indecisive. Hussein proposed that Jordan attack Israel at once but Nasser discouraged him from wasting Jordan's forces in a war that by then was already lost. British participation in the attack on Egypt made it politically imperative that Jordan end its special relationship with Britain.

Under the Arab Solidarity Agreement that resulted from the Arab summit meeting in Cairo in January 1957, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Syria undertook to pay Jordan the equivalent of US$35.8 million annually for ten years, with Saudi Arabia paying an amount equivalent to that paid by Egypt and Syria together. The money would effectively free Jordan from the British subsidy. Saudi Arabia, however, made only one quarterly payment; Egypt and Syria made no payments. The Anglo-Jordanian Agreement of March 1957 abrogated the basic Anglo-Jordanian Treaty of 1948, terminated the British subsidy, and initiated the turnover of British installations and the withdrawal of all British troops still in Jordan.

In early 1957, Jordan's internal political scene shaped up as a power struggle between the monarchy and the Nasserist Nabulsi government. Hussein and the conservatives suspected that Nabulsi was maneuvering to abolish the monarchy. Nabulsi began negotiations to open diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union and obtain Soviet arms aid. As political tension increased, in April Hussein, exercising his constitutional prerogative, demanded the resignation of the Nabulsi government.

The situation was further confused when, commander of the Jordan Arab Army (then still popularly known in English as the Arab Legion), Ali Abu Nuwar made a statement to Said al Mufti, who was then attempting to form a caretaker government. Said al Mufti misinterpreted the statement to be an ultimatum that any new cabinet be approved by the army. A sequence of dramatic events followed that became known as the "Az Zarqa affair." The public in Amman, sensing the explosive political atmosphere, became restive. Rumors that the king was dead spread at the main army base at Az Zarqa. Taking Abu Nuwar with him, to demonstrate that he, the king, was very much alive and that he was in control, not Abu Nuwar, Hussein set off for Az Zarqa. En route he met several truckloads of troops, who were overjoyed at seeing the king alive but who demanded the execution of Abu Nuwar. At Abu Nuwar's request, Hussein allowed him to retreat to the safety of the royal palace. Continuing to Az Zarqa, Hussein spent several hours amid wildly enthusiastic troops anxious to demonstrate their loyalty to him and to the throne; he returned to Amman after reassuring and quieting the troops. On the next day, Abu Nuwar fled the country. During the balance of April, several cabinet crises occurred, as the remnants of the Nabulsi faction fought a rearguard action against Hussein. Ibrahim Hashim, a Hussein loyalist, eventually succeeded in forming a government and outlawed all political party activity.

Hussein had won a remarkable political victory. What had mattered most was the loyalty of the combat units of the army, and that loyalty clearly belonged to the king. But Jordan was beleaguered--Nasserites were arrayed against the king, the British subsidy was gone, the Arab Solidarity Agreement had evaporated, and the rift was wider than ever between the East Bank and the West Bank. To counteract these disabilities, Hussein unequivocally placed his country in the Western camp and sought a new source of aid--the United States.


Jordan - Hussein - Crisis and Realignment


The United States replaced Britain as Jordan's principal source of foreign aid, but it did so without a bilateral treaty or other formal alliance mechanisms. In April 1957, the White House officially noted that President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles regarded "the independence and integrity of Jordan as vital." Although Hussein did not specifically request aid under the Eisenhower Doctrine--by which the United States pledged military and economic aid to any country asking for help in resisting communist influence--he did state publicly that Jordan's security was threatened by communism. Within twenty-four hours of Hussein's request for economic assistance, Jordan received an emergency financial aid grant of US$10 million from the United States--the first of a long series of United States grants. Washington expanded existing development aid programs and initiated military aid.

In seeking a viable, long-term arrangement for political stability in the face of the hostile, Nasser-style revolutionary nationalism then prevalent in the Middle East, Jordan turned to neighboring Iraq. Iraq, far larger and more populous than Jordan, was also far wealthier because of its oil and other resources. Iraq had usually supported Jordan in Arab councils, although without deep involvement, since the 1948 war. Its conservative government had taken Iraq into the Baghdad Pact in 1955 to ensure continued Western support against the Soviet Union or, more particularly, against radical Arab movements.

On February 1, 1958, Egypt and Syria announced the integration of their two countries to form the United Arab Republic (UAR). This development was greeted with great enthusiasm by the new nationalist advocates of Arab unity, but it made the position of conservative or moderate regimes more perilous. The initial phase of Jordanian-Iraqi negotiation was quickly concluded, and on February 14, 1958, Hussein and his cousin, King Faisal II, issued a proclamation joining the Hashimite kingdoms of Iraq and Jordan in a federation called the Arab Union. Faisal was to be head of state and Hussein deputy head of state.

The Arab Union, however, was short-lived. The Hashimite monarchy in Iraq was overthrown on July 14, 1958, in a swift, predawn coup executed by officers of the Nineteenth Brigade under the leadership of Brigadier Abd al Karim Qasim and Colonel Abd as Salaam Arif. The coup was triggered when King Hussein, fearing that an anti-Western revolt in Lebanon might spread to Jordan, requested Iraqi assistance. Instead of moving toward Jordan, Colonel Arif led a battalion into Baghdad and immediately proclaimed a new republic and the end of the old regime. An Iraqi motorized brigade under the command of Brigadier Qasim seized control of Baghdad. King Faisal and other members of the Iraqi royal family were murdered. Hussein, enraged and overcome by shock and grief, threatened to send the Jordanian army into Iraq to avenge Faisal's murder and restore the Arab Union. His civilian ministers, however, advised against taking this course. In Iraq the army and police supported the coup, and Qasim became president-dictator, taking Iraq out of the Arab Union and the Baghdad Pact.

Jordan was isolated as never before. Hussein appealed both to the United States and to Britain for help. The United States instituted an airlift of petroleum, and Britain flew troops into Amman to stabilize the regime. Ironically, these aircraft overflew Israel, because clearances for alternate routes over Arab countries could not be obtained in time. These events in Iraq and Jordan coincided with the landing of United States troops in Lebanon to bolster the regime there.

For some weeks, the political atmosphere in Jordan was explosive, but the government kept order through limited martial law. The army continued its unquestioning loyalty to the king, and the Israeli frontier remained quiet.

The ensuing two-year period of relative tranquility was broken in August 1960 when the pro-Western prime minister, Hazza al Majali who had been reappointed in May 1959, was killed by the explosion of a time bomb concealed in his desk. Analysts speculated that the conspirators expected the killing to generate a public uprising. It had precisely the opposite effect; beduin troops who moved into Amman maintained order, and Hussein appointed a new conservative prime minister, Bahjat at Talhuni. The plot was traced to Syria and further identified with Cairo. Four suspects were caught, convicted, and hanged, and the army made a show of force. In June 1961, Talhuni was replaced by Wasfi at Tal to improve relations with Egypt, after Cairo implicated Amman for influencing Damascus's decision to secede from the United Arab Republic.


Jordan - 1964 - Development and Disaster


By early 1964, Arab governments and Palestinian spokesmen had become alarmed by an Israeli project to draw water from Lake Tiberias to irrigate the Negev Desert. Nasser invited the Arab heads of state to attend a summit conference in Cairo in January 1964 at which the principal issue was the Jordan water question. Despite Syria's militant rhetoric, the conference rejected the idea of provoking a war because--it was argued--the Arab states lacked a unified military command. Instead, three alternative courses of action were approved: the diversion of the tributary sources of the Jordan River north of Lake Tiberias in Lebanon and Syria; the establishment of the United Arab Command under an Egyptian commander; and the recognition of the new Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), headed by a former Jerusalem lawyer, Ahmad Shuqayri (also cited as Shukairi), as the representative of Palestinian resistance against Israel. The Cairo Conference of January 1964 ended in an euphoric atmosphere of goodwill and brotherhood.

Talhuni became prime minister for the second time in July 1964, pledging his government to implement the spirit of the Cairo Conference "according to the king's instructions." Jordan cultivated friendship with Egypt. In May 1965, Jordan joined nine other Arab states in breaking relations with the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) because of its recognition of Israel. Jordan and Saudi Arabia signed an agreement in August defining for the first time the boundary between the two countries. Under this agreement, Jordan gave up some territory in the southeast but was able to gain an extension of about eighteen kilometers down the gulf from the crowded port of Al Aqabah.

Almost from the start, trouble developed between the PLO and Hussein's government. Shuqayri, famous for his often hysterical political rhetoric, had organized the PLO in Jerusalem in 1964 with the objective of liberating Palestine in cooperation with all Arab states but without interfering in their internal affairs or claiming sovereignty in the West Bank. Conflict arose because the PLO attempted to assume quasi-governmental functions, such as taxing Palestinians and distributing arms to villagers in the West Bank and among the refugees, acts that infringed on Jordanian sovereignty. The guerrilla organization, Al Fatah, was formed in Damascus with Syrian assistance in December 1957, under the leadership of Yasir Arafat.

Jordanian policy since 1949 had been to avoid border incidents and terrorism that would generate Israeli reprisals. Al Fatah and the PLO, however, carried out raids and sabotage against Israel without clearance from either the United Arab Command or Jordan. These attacks, although planned in Syria, most often were launched into Israel by infiltration through Lebanon or Jordan. Israeli reprisals against selected West Bank targets became harsher and more frequent from May 1965 onward. Meanwhile, Syrian propaganda against Hussein became increasingly strident. In July 1966, when Hussein severed official endorsement and support for the PLO, both that organization and the Syrian government turned against him. In reprisal for the terrorist attacks by the fedayeen (Palestinian guerrillas), in November Israel assaulted the West Bank village of As Samu. Israel was censured by the UN, but public rioting against the Jordanian government broke out among the inhabitants of the West Bank. The levels of rioting exceeded any previous experience. As in the past, Hussein used the army to restore public order. Political pressure against Hussein mounted, however, along with armed clashes on the Syria-Jordan border.

Tension also mounted on the Syria-Israel border, where a land and air engagement took place on April 7, 1967. Syria and Jordan severely criticized Egypt for failing to send support. In mid-May Egypt commenced an extensive military build-up in Sinai in response to Syrian allegations that Syria was in imminent danger of invasion by Israel. Nasser declared a state of emergency on May 16 and two days later demanded removal of the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) from Sinai, where it had served as a peacekeeping force since 1957. The UN secretary general acceded to Nasser's demand.

On May 23-24, Nasser announced the closure to Israeli shipping of the Strait of Tiran at the entrance to the Gulf of Aqaba, a measure that Israel immediately declared to be an act of war. Hussein quickly decided that this time it would be impossible for Jordan to stay out of the impending conflict. He hurriedly proceeded to Cairo and on May 30 signed a military alliance with Egypt. Hussein's move represented a response to political pressures at home and the fulfillment of basic pan-Arab commitments. The alliance put the Jordanian army under the field command of an Egyptian general officer.

On June 5, Israel launched a preemptive attack against Egyptian forces deployed in Sinai. The Israeli prime minister, Levi Eshkol, attempted in vain to contact Hussein through UN channels to keep him out of the war. The Egyptian field marshal in overall command of Arab forces ordered Jordanian artillery to open fire on Israeli positions, and Jordan's small air force conducted a bombing raid in the Tel Aviv area. Within hours, however, Israeli warplanes had effectively eliminated the Arab air forces on the ground. After only two days of combat, Jordan's main armored unit had been defeated. Hard fighting continued, as Hussein was determined to hold as much ground as possible in the event that a cease-fire was arranged. By the time he agreed to a truce on June 7, Israeli forces had seized the West Bank and the Old City of Jerusalem.

Of all the Arab belligerents, Jordan, which could least afford it, lost most in the war. Government figures listed over 6,000 troops killed or missing. During the short war, about 224,000 refugees--many of whom had first been refugees from the 1948-49 war--fled from the West Bank to the East Bank. One-third to onehalf of the country's best agricultural land and its main tourist attractions were lost to Israel. On June 27, the Israeli parliament (Knesset) formally annexed the Old City of Jerusalem, an act that the United States and many other nations refused to recognize.


Jordan - Hussein - The Guerrilla Crisis


In the wake of the June 1967 War, Hussein's government faced the critical problems of repairing a shattered economy, providing for the welfare of the refugees, obtaining external aid, readjusting foreign policy, and rebuilding the armed forces. Internally, however, the major problem was the continuing confrontation with the several Palestinian guerrilla organizations.

The Arab League heads of state met in Khartoum at the end of August 1967. The conference reached four major decisions generally considered to represent the views of Arab moderates: resumption of oil production, which some oil-producing states had suspended during the war; continued nonrecognition of and nonnegotiation with Israel, individually and collectively; continued closure of the Suez Canal and the elimination of all foreign military bases in Arab territory; and provision of financial subsidies aid to Egypt and Jordan by Saudi Arabia, Libya, and Kuwait. The total annual subsidy promised for the indefinite future amounted to the equivalent of US$378 million, of which Jordan was to receive about US$112 million. Donor states at first regularly paid their shares in quarterly installments, but Libya and Kuwait withdrew their support to Jordan during the 1970-71 war between the Jordanian government and the fedayeen.

In addition to the Khartoum subsidies, Jordan also received grants from Qatar, and the shaykhdom of Abu Dhabi, and a special grant of US$42 million from Saudi Arabia for arms purchases. Aid also came from Britain and West Germany, with whom Jordan had resumed relations. Although direct United States aid had been terminated, substantial long-term government loans were extended to Jordan for emergency relief, development, and military assistance. In February 1968, the United States resumed arms shipments to Jordan. Jordan narrowly averted financial disaster.

After months of diplomatic wrangling, on November 22, 1967, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 242 as a guideline for a Middle East settlement. The principal provisions of the resolution proclaimed the inadmissibility of territorial acquisition by war; withdrawal of Israeli forces from areas occupied in the June 1967 War; termination of all states of belligerency; acknowledgment of the sovereignty of all states in the area--including Israel--within secure and recognized boundaries; freedom of navigation on all international waterways in the area; and a just settlement of the refugee problem. Jordan, Egypt, and Israel all accepted this resolution in principle but each country interpreted it differently.

King Hussein has been the most consistent advocate of UN Resolution 242. He viewed it as the most viable means by which the Palestinian problem could be resolved while also preserving an important Jordanian role in the West Bank.

The intractability of the Palestinian problem has been due in large part to the widely differing perspectives that evolved after the June 1967 War. For the Israelis, in the midst of the nationalist euphoria that followed the war, talk of exchanging newly captured territories for peace had little public appeal. The government of Levi Eshkol followed a two-track policy with respect to the territories that would continue under future Labor Party governments: on the one hand, it stated a willingness to negotiate, while on the other, it laid plans to create Jewish settlements in the disputed territories. Thus, immediately following the war, Eshkol stated that he was willing to negotiate "everything" for a full peace, which would include free passage through the Suez Canal and the Strait of Tiran and a solution to the refugee problem in the context of regional cooperation. This was followed in November 1967 with his acceptance of UN Security Council Resolution 242. At the same time, Eshkol's government announced plans for the resettlement of the Old City of Jerusalem, of the Etzion Bloc (kibbutzim on the Bethlehem-Hebron road wiped out by Palestinians in the 1948-49 War), and for kibbutzim in the northern sector of the Golan Heights. Plans also were unveiled for new neighborhoods around Jerusalem, near the old buildings of Hebrew University and near the Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus.

The 1967 defeat radicalized the Palestinians, who had looked to the Arab countries to defeat first the Yishuv (the Jewish community of Palestine before 1948), and after 1948 the State of Israel, so that they could regain their homeland. The PLO had no role in the June 1967 War. After the succession of Arab failures in conventional warfare against Israel, however, the Palestinians decided to adopt guerrilla warfare tactics as the most effective method of attacking and defeating Israel. In February 1969, Arafat (who remained the leader of Al Fatah) became head of the PLO. By early 1970, at least seven guerrilla organizations were identified in Jordan. One of the most important organizations was the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) led by George Habash. Although the PLO sought to integrate these various groups and announced from time to time that this process had occurred, they were never effectively united.

At first by conviction and then by political necessity, Hussein sought accommodation with the fedayeen and provided training sites and assistance. In Jordan's internal politics, however, the main issue between 1967 and 1971 was the struggle between the government and the guerrilla organizations for political control of the country. Based in the refugee camps, the fedayeen virtually developed a state within a state, easily obtaining funds and arms from both the Arab states and Eastern Europe and openly flouting Jordanian law.

As the guerrilla effort mounted, Israel retaliated quickly and with increasing effectiveness. In March 1968, an Israeli brigade attacked the Jordanian village of Al Karamah, said to be the guerrilla capital. Although the brigade inflicted damage, it was driven back and in the process suffered substantial losses. The incident boosted Palestinian morale and gave the PLO instant prestige within the Arab community. In reprisal, Israel launched heavy attacks on Irbid in June 1968 and on As Salt in August. It soon became obvious to the PLO that the generally open terrain of the West Bank did not provide the kind of cover needed for classic guerrilla operations. Moreover, the Palestinian population residing in the territories had not formed any significant armed resistance against the Israeli occupation. By late 1968, the main fedayeen activities in Jordan seemed to shift from fighting Israel to attempts to overthrow Hussein.

A major guerrilla-government confrontation occurred in November 1968 when the government sought to disarm the refugee camps, but civil war was averted by a compromise that favored the Palestinians. The threat to Hussein's authority and the heavy Israeli reprisals that followed each guerrilla attack became a matter of grave concern to the King. His loyal beduin army attempted to suppress guerrilla activity, which led to sporadic outbursts of fighting between the fedayeen and the army during the first half of 1970. In June 1970, an Arab mediation committee intervened to halt two weeks of serious fighting between the two sides.

In June Hussein designated Abd al Munim Rifai to head a "reconciliation" cabinet that included more opposition elements than any other government since that of Nabulsi in 1957. Although the composition of the cabinet maintained a traditional balance between the East Bank and the West Bank, it included a majority of guerrilla sympathizers, particularly in the key portfolios of defense, foreign affairs, and interior. But the king's action did not reflect a new domestic policy; rather, it indicated Hussein's hope that a nationalist cabinet would support peace negotiations generated by a proposed UN peace mission to be conducted by Gunnar Jarring. On June 9, 1970, Rifai and Arafat signed an agreement conciliatory to the fedayeen. According to its provisions, the government allowed the commandos freedom of movement within Jordan, agreed to refrain from antiguerrilla action, and expressed its support for the fedayeen in the battle against Israel. In return, the commandos pledged to remove their bases from Amman and other major cities, to withdraw armed personnel from the Jordanian capital, and to show respect for law and order.

Small-scale clashes continued throughout the summer of 1970, however; and by early September, the guerrilla groups controlled several strategic positions in Jordan, including the oil refinery near Az Zarqa. Meanwhile, the fedayeen were also calling for a general strike of the Jordanian population and were organizing a civil disobedience campaign. The situation became explosive when, as part of a guerrilla campaign to undermine the Jarring peace talks to which Egypt, Israel, and Jordan had agreed, the PFLP launched an airplane hijacking campaign.

Within the space of two hours on September 6, PFLP gangs hijacked a TWA jet, a Swissair jet, and made an unsuccessful attempt to seize control of an El Al airplane. About two hours later, another PFLP group hijacked a Pan Am jet and forced the crew to fly to Beirut airport, where the airplane landed almost out of fuel. The next day the airliner was flown to the Cairo airport, where it was blown up only seconds after the 176 passengers and crew had completed their three-minute forced evacuation.

King Hussein viewed the hijackings as a direct threat to his authority in Jordan. In response, on September 16 he reaffirmed martial law and named Brigadier Muhammad Daud to head a cabinet composed of army officers. At the same time, the king appointed Field Marshal Habis al Majali, a fiercely proroyalist beduin, commander in chief of the armed forces and military governor of Jordan. Hussein gave Majali full powers to implement the martial law regulations and to quell the fedayeen. The new government immediately ordered the fedayeen to lay down their arms and to evacuate the cities. On the same day, Arafat became supreme commander of the Palestine Liberation Army (PLA), the regular military force of the PLO.

During a bitterly fought ten-day civil war, primarily between the PLA and Jordan Arab Army, Syria sent about 200 tanks to aid the fedayeen. On September 17, however, Iraq began a rapid withdrawal of its 12,000-man force stationed near Az Zarqa. The United States Navy dispatched the Sixth Fleet to the eastern Mediterranean, and Israel undertook "precautionary military deployments" to aid Hussein, if necessary, against the guerrilla forces. Under attack from the Jordanian army and in response to outside pressures, the Syrian forces began to withdraw from Jordan on September 24, having lost more than half their armor in fighting with the Jordanians. The fedayeen found themselves on the defensive throughout Jordan and agreed on September 25 to a cease-fire. At the urging of the Arab heads of state, Hussein and Arafat signed the cease-fire agreement in Cairo on September 27. The agreement called for rapid withdrawal of the guerrilla forces from Jordanian cities and towns to positions "appropriate" for continuing the battle with Israel and for the release of prisoners by both sides. A supreme supervisory committee was to implement the provisions of the agreement. On September 26, Hussein appointed a new cabinet; however, army officers continued to head the key defense and interior ministries.

On October 13, Hussein and Arafat signed a further agreement in Amman, under which the fedayeen were to recognize Jordanian sovereignty and the king's authority, to withdraw their armed forces from towns and villages, and to refrain from carrying arms outside their camps. In return the government agreed to grant amnesty to the fedayeen for incidents that had occurred during the civil war.

The civil war caused great material destruction in Jordan, and the number of fighters killed on all sides was estimated as high as 3,500. In spite of the September and October agreements, fighting continued, particularly in Amman, Irbid, and Jarash, where guerrilla forces had their main bases. Hussein appointed Wasfi at Tal as his new prime minister and minister of defense to head a cabinet of fifteen civilian and two military members. The cabinet also included seven Palestinians. Tal, known to be a staunch opponent of the guerrilla movement, was directed by Hussein to comply with the cease-fire agreements; furthermore, according to Hussein's written directive, the government's policy was to be based on "the restoration of confidence between the Jordanian authorities and the Palestinian resistance movement, cooperation with the Arab states, the strengthening of national unity, striking with an iron hand at all persons spreading destructive rumors, paying special attention to the armed forces and the freeing of the Arab lands occupied by Israel in the war of June 1967." The closing months of 1970 and the first six months of 1971 were marked by a series of broken agreements and by continued battles between the guerrilla forces and the Jordanian army, which continued its drive to oust the fedayeen from the populated areas.

Persistent pressure by the army compelled the fedayeen to withdraw from Amman in April 1971. Feeling its existence threatened, Al Fatah abandoned its earlier posture of noninvolvement in the internal affairs of an Arab state and issued a statement demanding the overthrow of the Jordanian "puppet separatist authority." In a subsequent early May statement, it called for "national rule" in Jordan. Against this background of threats to his authority, Hussein struck at the remaining guerrilla forces in Jordan.

In response to rumors that the PLO was planning to form a government-in-exile, Hussein in early June directed Tal to "deal conclusively and without hesitation with the plotters who want to establish a separate Palestinian state and destroy the unity of the Jordanian and Palestinian people." On July 13, the Jordanian army undertook an offensive against fedayeen bases about fifty kilometers northwest of Amman in the Ajlun area--the fedayeen's last stronghold. Tal announced that the Cairo and Amman agreements, which had regulated relations between the fedayeen and the Jordanian governments, were no longer operative. On July 19, the government announced that the remainder of the bases in northern Jordan had been destroyed and that 2,300 of the 2,500 fedayeen had been arrested. A few days later, many of the captured Palestinians were released either to leave for other Arab countries or to return to a peaceful life in Jordan. Hussein became virtually isolated from the rest of the Arab world, which accused him of harsh treatment of the fedayeen and denounced him as being responsible for the deaths of so many of his fellow Arabs.

In November members of the Black September terrorist group--who took their name from the civil war of September 1970--avenged the deaths of fellow fedayeen by assassinating Prime Minister Tal in Cairo. In December the group again struck out against Hussein in an unsuccessful attempt on the life of the Jordanian ambassador to Britain. Hussein alleged that Libya's Colonel Muammar al Qadhafi was involved in a plot to overthrow the monarchy.

In March 1973, Jordanian courts convicted seventeen Black September fedayeen charged with plotting to kidnap the prime minister and other cabinet ministers and to hold them hostage in exchange for the release of a few hundred fedayeen captured during the civil war. Hussein subsequently commuted the death sentences to life imprisonment "for humanitarian reasons" and, in response to outside Arab pressures, in September released the prisoners-- including their leader Muhammad Daud Auda (also known as Abu Daud)- -under a general amnesty.




After his victory over the fedayeen, Hussein sought to reestablish his authority in the country and his image in the Arab world through the implementation of dynamic domestic and foreign policies. In September 1971, he announced the formation of the Jordanian National Union to serve as the nation's sole authorized political organization, representing--at least in theory--both banks of the Jordan. The union was not a political party in the traditional sense but, according to the king, would be used "as a melting pot for the Jordanian people." With the exception of communists, Marxists, and "other advocates of foreign ideologies," all citizens were eligible for membership within the union, which would "provide constructive opposition from within its own ranks."

Hussein also introduced a plan for the creation of a federation to be called the United Arab Kingdom. Under the plan, the West Bank and the East Bank would become autonomous provinces within the sovereign Hashimite kingdom. Seats in the National Assembly would continue to be divided equally among representatives of the two regions. The PLO repudiated the United Arab Kingdom and the Jordanian National Union, and neither plan was ever implemented.

Hussein paid a state visit to the United States in February 1973 during which President Richard M. Nixon assured him of his "firm. . . support for Jordan" and promised increased economic and military aid. During interviews Hussein, who earlier had called for United States intervention to bring about a comprehensive Middle East settlement, reaffirmed that he contemplated no partial or separate agreements with Israel that would be prejudicial to Arab unity, but he left the door open for bilateral talks and condemned the PLO for its divisive influence. On his return to Amman, Hussein reemphasized that all of East Jerusalem must be returned but offered to put the holy places there under international supervision.

At the Arab summit in Cairo in September 1973, a reconciliation mediated by King Faisal of Saudi Arabia took place between Egypt, Syria, and Jordan, the "front-line" or confrontation states against Israel. On October 6, less than a month after the meeting, Egyptian and Syrian armies launched simultaneous attacks across the Suez Canal and the Golan Heights that caught the Israelis by surprise. After initially threatening to break through Israel's inner defenses, the Syrians were checked and then thrown back by an Israeli counteroffensive that drove to within thirty kilometers of the strong defense emplacements surrounding Damascus. By October 10, Jordan had mobilized nearly 70,000 men, forcing Israeli troops to deploy in the West Bank. Hussein did not open a third front against Israel but he sent 3,000 Jordanian troops in two armored brigades to the Golan front on October 13, and they saw limited action under Syrian command in fighting near Lake Tiberias. More than 25,000 regular Palestinian troops also were engaged under separate command.

With the Arab armies in retreat, the Soviet Union called a special session of the UN Security Council on October 21 to impose an immediate cease-fire. Although accepted by Israel and Egypt, the cease-fire did not become effective for another three days. On the northern front, Israeli troops retained control of the Golan Heights, and in the southwest they had opened bridgeheads across the Suez Canal and occupied more than 1,500 square kilometers of territory in Egypt. UN Security Council Resolution 338, submitted on October 22, reiterated the Security Council's position on Israeli-occupied territory, first expressed in Resolution 242 in 1967.

At a postmortem on the fourth Arab-Israeli war held in November in Algiers, the Jordanian representative stressed that the ceasefire did not mean peace and called again for Israel to evacuate the occupied territories that combined Arab forces had failed to win back in battle. Over Jordanian protests, the summit conference voted to recognize the PLO as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. Hussein, who conceded in Amman that he did not claim to speak for the Palestinians, supported their right to selfdetermination --"but," he added, "only after the occupied territories are liberated."

Hussein stated on more than one occasion his willingness to leave the liberation of the West Bank to the PLO, but he pointedly boycotted a meeting with PLO officials in Cairo at which Egypt and Syria were expected to deal with the PLO as the "only legitimate representatives" of the Palestinian people--a position that Hussein admitted he had no alternative but to accept in practice. President Anwar as Sadat of Egypt, however, warned the PLO that its refusal to cooperate with Hussein could lead to an Arab civil war on a broader scale than that of 1970-71. When the Palestinians refused to compromise their claim to total sovereignty in the West Bank, Hussein requested a postponement of the Arab summit scheduled for Rabat in October 1974. The purpose of the summit was to give formal recognition to the PLO's role. In an abrupt turnabout in policy, Egyptian foreign minister Ismail Fahmi responded by declaring that Egypt now opposed the return of the West Bank to Jordan and accepted without reservation the PLO claim to represent the Palestinian people.




The Rabat Summit conference in October 1974 brought together the leaders of twenty Arab states, including Hussein, and representatives of the PLO. PLO leaders threatened a walkout if their demands for unconditional recognition were not met. The PLO required a statement from the conference that any Palestinian territory liberated by Arab forces would be turned over to the "Palestinian people" as represented by their organization. Jordan protested, pointing out that recognition on these terms would give the PLO sovereignty over half of the population in the East Bank and that in fact the annexation of the West Bank had been approved by popular vote.

A compromise solution was adopted that nonetheless favored PLO interests. The conference formally acknowledged the right of the Palestinian people to a separate homeland, but without specifying that its territory was restricted to the West Bank. Most important, the PLO was for the first time officially recognized by all the Arab states as the "sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people." The Arab heads of state also called for close cooperation between the front-line states and the PLO but prohibited interference by other Arab states in Palestinian affairs.

The Rabat Summit declaration conferred a mantle of legitimacy on the PLO that was previously absent. It gave official Arab recognition to PLO territorial claims to the West Bank and unambiguously put the fate of the Palestinian people solely in the hands of the PLO. Hussein opposed the declaration, although he eventually signed it under intense Arab pressure and after the Arab oil-producing states promised to provide Jordan with an annual subsidy of $US300 million. Despite his acquiescence to the Rabat declaration and subsequent statements in support of the PLO, Hussein persisted in viewing the declaration as an ambiguous document that was open to differing interpretations. The PLO, along with the rest of the Arab world, viewed Hussein's consent at Rabat as a renunciation of Jordanian claims to the West Bank. Hussein nonetheless continued to have aspirations concerning Jordanian control of the occupied territories. The wide gulf separating the two views was the major source of tension between the PLO and Jordan throughout the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Following the Rabat Summit, the PLO scored an impressive political victory in the international arena. In late November 1974, the UN recognized PLO representation of the Palestinian people, and PLO Chairman Yasir Arafat addressed the General Assembly in Arabic, his pistol at his side. In addition, in a joint communiqué issued the same month, President Gerald R. Ford of the United States and General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Leonid Brezhnev acknowledged the "legitimate interests" of the Palestinians in accordance with the UN resolutions. Nonetheless, a UN draft resolution in 1976 proposing to reaffirm the right of the Palestinians to self-determination-- and including the right to establish an independent state--was vetoed in the Security Council by the United States, which called instead for a "reasonable and acceptable definition of Palestinian interests."

After the Rabat Summit, Hussein stressed the need for Jordanian political self-sufficiency. He told his subjects, "a new reality exists and Jordan must adjust to it. The West Bank is no longer Jordanian." But having surrendered title to half his kingdom at the behest of the Arab states, Hussein confessed concern that the East Bank might become a "substitute Palestine," swallowed up as the balance of political power there shifted to its Palestinian majority.

The tone of Hussein's approach to the Palestinians in the East Bank changed markedly following the Rabat Summit. He advised that the resident Palestinians--estimated at 900,000 or more--must choose between Jordanian citizenship or Palestinian identity. No attempt would be made to oust those who chose the latter, he said, and they would be permitted to remain in Jordan as "guests." He also insisted that any Palestinian choosing to keep his Jordanian citizenship must be allowed to do so without endangering his rights in the West Bank; he further promised that any Palestinian living in the East Bank who chose to identify his interests with those of the "Palestinian people" could do so without jeopardizing his rights as a Jordanian citizen.

In response to the new political situation following the Rabat Summit, Hussein reorganized Jordan's political and administrative institutions. On November 9, he amended the Constitution to give the king authority to dissolve the House of Representatives and to delay elections as he saw fit. Using this constitutional prerogative, Hussein dissolved the lower house of the National Assembly--the elected House of Representatives--when it had completed its work on November 23. The House of Representatives, half of whose sixty members represented West Bank constituencies, could no longer function without undermining the newly recognized representative status of the PLO. The Constitution was amended to provide for the indefinite postponement of elections for a new House of Representatives so as to avoid elections on the East Bank alone, which if held would have symbolized the final separation of the West Bank from Jordan. In addition to dissolving the House of Representatives, Hussein directed Prime Minister Zaid ar Rifai to form a new government that did not include Palestinians from the West Bank. No move was made, however, to relieve Palestinians in the Jordanian army, where they composed one-third of the officer corps, albeit mostly in noncombatant functions. The government also continued to pay the salaries of 6,000 civil servants and teachers in the West Bank, which amounted to about US$40 million a year.

As a result of Hussein's partial reversal from the commitments made at Rabat, Jordanian-PLO relations deteriorated throughout much of 1975. At the year's end, however, the Palestine National Council, meeting in Damascus, backed an effort to reconcile its differences with Hussein. The broadcast of antiregime propaganda was temporarily suspended and, although PLA units remained stationed in Jordan in military camps, the PLO accepted restrictions on its political and military presence there. At the Arab summit conference held at Cairo in January 1976, Jordan and the PLO once again were embroiled in a dispute over Jordan's role in negotiating an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank. Jordan declared that it had no responsibility for negotiating such a withdrawal. In response, the PLO resumed its hostile propaganda shortly after the meeting.

In February 1976, Hussein summoned an extraordinary session of the National Assembly--attended by about half of the representatives elected from the West Bank--to enact legislation enabling the king to postpone indefinitely the general elections scheduled for later in the month. The king's spokespersons explained that the action was necessary because of "compelling circumstances" that prevailed in the country. That same month, Hussein abolished the Jordanian National Union.

In July Zaid ar Rifai, who had led the government since 1973, stepped down as prime minister. Hussein replaced him with Mudar Badran, chief of the royal court. The Badran government set up the Bureau of Occupied Homeland Affairs, headed by former members of parliament from West Bank constituencies, ostensibly to coordinate and advise on relations with Palestinians in Israeli-occupied territory. The government also conducted discussions on the renewed possibility of some form of federation between the West Bank and the East Bank. The PLO charged that the newly created Bureau of Occupied Homeland Affairs had been formed to channel support to pro-Jordanian candidates in municipal elections to be held in the West Bank in April 1977. Badran denied these allegations and reaffirmed Jordan's commitment to the concept that the Palestinians themselves must decide the future of the West Bank. PLO-backed candidates won an overwhelming victory in the April elections.


Jordan - Relations with the PLO


The recrudescent tension between Jordan and the PLO was symptomatic of their differing visions of an Arab-Israeli settlement. Jordan accepted UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 as the basis for any settlement, including the question of Palestinian national rights. Within this framework, Jordan demanded total Israeli withdrawal from all territories occupied in 1967; a solution to the refugee problem either by repatriation or compensation; the right of Palestinians to self-determination; and mutual guarantees for peace. The PLO consistently rejected both 242 and 338 on the ground that the Palestinian people are only mentioned in the resolutions as refugees and not as a people deserving a national homeland.

On the issue of self-determination, Hussein agreed with the PLO that the Palestinians had the right to establish "a national and political entity," but he refrained from giving his support to a fully independent Palestinian state, which he saw as a direct threat, particularly if headed by the PLO. Moreover, he believed that if he could neutralize the PLO, the West Bank and Gaza Strip populations would accept an arrangement based on his own federation plan.

Despite his desire to be the primary Arab negotiator over the territories, Hussein also realized that his role in any future negotiations required a clear mandate from the Arab states. He could not deviate too far from the Arab consensus concerning the occupied territories for fear of losing badly needed economic aid or instigating military attacks from Iraq and Syria. As a result, Hussein chose to participate in the proposed October 1, 1977, Geneva Conference on the Middle East as a "confrontation state" but not as the representative of the Palestinians.


Jordan - Jordanian-Syrian Relations


Despite a long history of hostility, between 1975 and 1977 Jordan's major regional ally was Syria. During 1975 Jordan and Syria agreed to coordinate their defense, foreign policy, economic, information, education, and cultural activities. They established a joint military command to provide a single defensive line against Israel. Syria halted anti-Hussein propaganda and imposed restrictions on Syrian-based Palestinian activities that might be considered prejudicial to Jordan's sovereignty.

The marked improvement in relations between Hussein and Syrian president Hafiz al Assad primarily reflected a shared desire to minimize the role of the PLO in any future Middle East peace negotiations. Despite the commitments made at Rabat, neither Jordan nor Syria wanted the PLO to emerge from Middle East peace talks as leader of a proposed Palestinian national entity in the occupied territories. Their opposition to the PLO, however, stemmed from very different sources. Jordan opposed the PLO because of conflicting territorial objectives; Hussein wanted to reintegrate the West Bank as a part of a pre-1967 Jordan. Assad opposed a PLOled ministate because he feared that such an entity would reduce Syria's regional role and would significantly lessen the chances of Syria regaining the Golan Heights. At the same time, Damascus rejected Hussein's claims to the West Bank and vehemently opposed any Jordanian attempts to reach a separate peace agreement with Israel. This position severely limited the flexibility of Jordanian diplomacy and ultimately divided Jordan and Syria.

In 1975 Lebanon became engulfed in a bloody civil war that had major ramifications for the regional political balance. Like the Black September incident of 1970, the Lebanese Civil War pitted a rapidly expanding Palestinian political infrastructure against a sovereign Arab state. Between September 1970 and 1975, the Palestinians created in Lebanon a "state within a state." They had their own military establishment, an autonomous political structure, and separate collection of taxes. Unlike Jordan in 1970, however, Lebanon had a weak and badly divided political structure. As a result, in the spring of 1975, after a number of skirmishes with Lebanese Christian militias, the Palestinians allied with an array of leftist Lebanese forces and began an offensive. In the spring of 1976, it appeared that the Palestinians and their leftist allies would win the fighting. President Assad, fearing a radical Palestinian force on Syria's southern border, entered the fray on the side of the Christians and tilted the military balance in their favor. Jordan supported the Syrian intervention, fearing that a Palestinian victory would give the PLO a base of operations from which to destabilize the region.

Jordan's relationship with Syria also improved as Jordan became increasingly disenchanted with its relationship with the United States. Since the early 1970s, Jordan had negotiated for the purchase of a US$540 million air defense system from the United States to be financed by Saudi Arabia. When the United States Congress objected to the arms sale, Hussein commented that relations with his one-time sponsor had reached "a sad crossroads." In 1976, with Syrian encouragement, he traveled to Moscow to sound out the Soviet Union on its willingness to provide a similar system. In the face of persuasive American and Saudi lobbying, Hussein eventually opted to purchase the American Improved Hawk air defense system. His trip to Moscow, however, marked a significant improvement in Jordanian-Soviet relations and was a factor in his decision to support the concept of a Middle East peace conference attended by both the Soviet Union and the United States.


Jordan - The Camp David Accords


During the spring of 1977, the international climate strongly supported some type of superpower-sanctioned settlement to the Arab-Israeli dispute. Newly elected United States president Jimmy Carter and Soviet leader Brezhnev advocated a comprehensive ArabIsraeli settlement that would include autonomy for the Palestinians. On October 1, 1977, in preparation for a reconvened Geneva Conference, the United States and the Soviet Union issued a joint statement committing themselves to a comprehensive settlement incorporating all parties concerned and all questions. The proposed summit, however, was preempted by events in Egypt.

Jordan, like the rest of the Arab states, was taken by surprise by President Sadat's decision to travel to Jerusalem in November 1977. Hussein, however, muted his criticism of the Egyptian president's historic trip and called on the Arab states to reserve judgment. The king feared that an outright rejection of the Egyptian initative might provoke an alienated Sadat to seek a separate agreement with Israel. He also saw many positive elements in Sadat's opening statement to the Knesset, such as his rejection of a separate settlement to the Palestinian problem, his emphasis on the need to find a solution to the Palestinian problem, the recognition of Jordan's special relationship with the West Bank, and the proposal to incorporate Jordan, rather than the PLO, into the peace process.

Despite his enthusiasm for Sadat's speech, Hussein was reluctant to join the Egyptian-Israeli peace process. He feared that by joining the negotiations he would isolate Jordan in the Arab world, incur Syria's wrath, and potentially destabilize Palestinians on the East Bank with little possibility for Jordanian gains. Moreover, Hussein did not want to represent Palestinian interests at such negotiations unless he had a clear Arab and Palestinian mandate to do so.

The final version of the Camp David Accords signed by Egyptian president Sadat, Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin, and United States president Carter separated the issues of the future of the West Bank and the return of Sinai. Whereas the sections dealing with the return of Sinai were very explicit, the sections on the West Bank were vague and open to various interpretations. They called for Egypt, Israel, and "the representatives of the Palestinian people to negotiate about the future of the West Bank and Gaza." A five-year period of "transitional autonomy" was called for "to ensure a peaceful and orderly transfer of authority." The agreement also called for peace talks between Israel and its other Arab neighbors, particularly Syria.

The Camp David Accords fell far short of meeting even Jordan's minimal demands. Hussein expressed anger that Jordan was included in the Camp David framework without his prior knowledge or approval. He viewed the division of the accords into two agreements with no linkage between Israel's withdrawal from Sinai and progress on the Palestinian issue as a sign that Sadat was more interested in regaining Sinai than in brokering a viable peace settlement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Hussein was further alienated from the Camp David peace process because Israel refused to negotiate over East Jerusalem, insisted on its rights to establish settlements in the occupied territories, and reserved the right to demand sovereignty over those areas at the end of the transition period.

Following the signing of the Camp David Accords, Jordan accepted an Iraqi invitation--accompanied by a US$30 million Iraqi grant--to attend the Baghdad Conference. The summit conference's decision to allot to Jordan the relatively large sum of US$1.25 billion per year helped keep Jordan in the Arab fold. At the Baghdad Conference held in November 1978, the Arab states unequivocally rejected the Camp David Accords and officially ostracized Egypt from the Arab League.

Jordanian-Egyptian relations deteriorated even further after the signing of the Treaty of Peace Between Egypt and Israel in March 1979. The Israeli government's limited view of Palestinian autonomy became apparent shortly after the peace treaty was signed. In April the Begin government approved two new settlements between Ram Allah and Nabulus, established civilian regional councils for the Jewish settlements in the territories, and prepared autonomy plans in which Israel would keep exclusive control over the West Bank's water, communications, roads, public order, and immigration into the territories. The acceleration of settlements, the growth of an increasingly militaristic Jewish settler movement, and Israel's stated desire to retain complete control over resources in the territories precluded the participation in the peace process of either moderate Palestinians, such as the newly formed National Guidance Committee composed of West Bank mayors, or of Hussein. The PLO refused from the beginning to participate in the peace process.

In response, the Jordanian government recalled its ambassador from Cairo on March 28 and on April 1 it severed diplomatic relations with Egypt. Not all ties were broken, however; the Jordanian and Egyptian airlines still flew about ten flights a week between their respective cities and, most important, Egyptian workers in Jordan continued to enjoy the same status as before. The Jordanian media and public officials intensified anti-Israel rhetoric, showing particular hostility toward the United States for supporting the accords. Hussein's greatest fear was that, with Egypt removed from the Arab-Israeli military balance, Israel might be tempted to transform the East Bank into an "alternative homeland" for the Palestinians. Jordanian fears were fueled when, at the end of March 1979, Israeli minister of agriculture Ariel Sharon issued a statement to the effect that the Palestinians ought to take over Jordan and establish a government there.

Hussein, although fully backing the Baghdad accords, sought a very different objective than the more hard-line Arab states such as Syria and Iraq. His goal was not to punish Egypt or overthrow Sadat, but rather to set up an alternative strategy to the Camp David framework supported by an Arab consensus that would provide a more equitable and viable solution to the Middle East conflict. The essence of the Jordanian alternative was to return the Palestinian problem either to the UN Security Council or to the Geneva Conference where all the relevant parties--including the United States, the Soviet Union, and the European Economic Community--could work together in reaching a comprehensive Middle East peace plan.

Hussein's attempt to develop a united Arab stand did not succeed. At the Tunis Summit of November 1979, in the face of strong Syrian objections, Hussein was unable to mobilize an Arab consensus behind an alternative to the Camp David Accords. Syrian president Assad's strong objections to Hussein's proposal marked the beginning of rapid deterioration in Syrian-Jordanian relations. Hussein was further rebuffed when Assad revived the Steadfastness and Confrontation Front consisting of Syria, Libya, Algeria, the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (South Yemen), and the PLO. The Syrian leader accused Jordan of supporting Syrian elements of the Muslim Brotherhood, which had been involved in a series of attacks against his regime. Although Syria continued to be a major Soviet ally in the Middle East, Jordan joined nearly the entire Arab world in condemning the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Finally, Syria, unlike Jordan, was unwilling to participate in any alternative to the Camp David Accords.


Jordan - THE 1980s


The overthrow of the shah of Iran in February 1979 and the emergence of Ayatollah Sayyid Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini caused grave concern in Amman. The vehement anti-Western, antimonarchical, Islamic revolutionary fervor sweeping Iran throughout 1979 cast a threatening shadow over Jordan. Not only was Hussein a monarch allied with the West, but he also had been a close ally of the shah for many years.

The Islamic Revolution and a New Arab Alignment

Hussein followed a two-track policy to counteract the looming Iranian threat. One track was domestic; the other, foreign. Domestically, he made a more concerted effort to appear religiously observant in public and to emphasize Islam in the day-to-day life of Jordan. He also increased financial support for mosques and Islamic charities and encouraged the payment of zakat (the Muslim religious tax) by exempting those who paid it during the month of Ramadan from 25 percent of their income tax. In addition, during the month of Ramadan some of the provincial governors closed down bars and night clubs on some religious holidays and banned films described as obscene.

For most of his reign, Hussein had appeased the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic groups in Jordan as a way of counterbalancing the more radical and, in his view, more destabilizing groups such as the communists, Baathists, and Nasserists. Although the Muslim Brotherhood came out in support of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, the organization in Jordan was not prepared to challenge openly the authority of the Hashimite regime that opposed the Iranian Revolution.

Hussein altered Jordan's Arab alignments in response to the new regional balance of power caused by the Islamic Revolution in Iran, the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, and the growing rift with Syria. The focus of Jordan's new regional outlook was improved relations with Iraq. Both countries saw ominous implications in the developments in Iran. Moreover, with Egypt no longer in the Arab fold, Jordan sought an Arab military alliance capable of deterring a more militaristic regime in Israel from meddling in Jordanian affairs. Hussein also needed Iraqi support to stave off the Syrian threat, which had grown significantly during 1980. Finally, Baghdad and Amman feared the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and its implications for the regional balance of power.

After a series of high-level meetings in the early 1980s, a wide range of exchanges took place. Iraq greatly increased economic assistance to Jordan and discussed a possible project for supplying Jordan with water from the Euphrates. The outbreak of the Iran-Iraq War in September 1980 further tightened relations. From the beginning of the war, Jordan was the most outspoken of the Arab states supporting Iraq. The Iraqi connection became increasingly important as tensions mounted between Jordan and Syria. Between September 1980 and late 1981, Jordan reportedly received US$400 million in economic aid from Iraq. In October 1981, an IraqiJordanian Joint Committee for Economic and Technical Cooperation was set up. Jordan's most demonstrative act of support for the Iraqi war effort occurred in January 1982 when Hussein announced the formation of the Yarmuk Brigade, a Jordanian force of volunteers that pledged to fight for Iraq.

Throughout 1982, as Iran scored significant victories in the Iran-Iraq War, Jordan substantially increased its support to Iraq. Al Aqabah replaced the besieged Iraqi port of Basra as Iraq's major marine transportation point. During 1981 and 1982, the turmoil besetting the Arab states both benefited and threatened Jordan. Egypt, the most populous and militarily strongest Arab country, was ostracized; Syria faced serious domestic unrest and a growing rebellion in Lebanon; Iraq seemed to be losing its war with Iran and was in danger of losing strategically important territory in the south; Syria and Iraq were hostile to each other; and the Persian Gulf states were suffering from the downturn in world oil prices. The weakness of the other Arab states enabled Jordan to play a more important role in Arab politics and allowed Hussein to pursue a more flexible regional diplomacy.

Jordan's improved status in the Arab world resulted in Amman hosting its first Arab summit in November 1981. Hussein reportedly hoped to obtain a breakthrough on the Palestinian question and to mobilize support for the Iraqi war effort. The summit, however, was boycotted by members of the Steadfastness and Confrontation Front led by Syria. In addition, Syria had massed troops on the Jordanian border. Hussein countered by mobilizing a force of equal strength on the Syrian border. Although the situation was eventually diffused through Saudi mediation efforts, the potential for future Syrian-Jordanian conflict remained.


Jordan - The Palestinian Problem


Jordan's relations with the PLO have reflected the conflicting territorial claims of the Palestinians and Jordan. Since the June 1967 War, both the PLO and Jordan have staked claims to the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Although Hussein and the PLO, like the rest of the Arab world, have rejected Israeli suzerainty over the territories, they differed widely on how the occupied territories should be administered and by whom.

Throughout the late 1970s and early 1980s, Jordan asserted its role in the lives of West Bank Palestinians in various ways. Jordan distributed financial assistance, oversaw the freedom of movement of people and merchandise across the bridges of the Jordan River, assumed the role of protector of the rights of the population under Israeli occupation, and sought the condemnation of Israel in the international community for alleged acts of injustice against the people of the West Bank. Beginning in 1979, individuals from the West Bank, like other Jordanian citizens, were required to obtain new identity cards to benefit from Jordanian government services and to obtain Jordanian passports. Mutual mistrust, however, had prevented agreement between Jordan and the PLO on any form of longterm political cooperation beyond the joint distribution of funds to the occupied territories.

Jordanians, however, remained adamantly opposed to the fedayeen reestablishing bases in Jordan from which to launch guerrilla operations against Israel. Hussein feared that Israel, maintaining a distinct military advantage over the badly divided Arab states, would launch punishing reprisal raids against Jordan if guerrilla operations were to resume. This appraisal was strongly reinforced by the Israeli air raid on the Iraqi nuclear reactor in June 1981.

During the second half of 1980, talk of the so-called "Jordanian option" revived because of the approaching elections in Israel, President Ronald Reagan's election victory in the United States, and talk of a new European initiative in the Middle East. On the surface, the Jordanian option resembled Hussein's version of a settlement with Israel; it envisioned Jordan acting as the major Arab interlocutor in a peace settlement with Israel. Jordan, however, could not outwardly appear as if it were breaking away from the Arab fold and usurping Palestinian prerogatives, unless it were likely that concessions made by Jordan would be reciprocated by Israel. Given the right-wing Likud government in power in Israel, Hussein surmised that such Israeli territorial concessions would not be forthcoming.

As a result, Jordan's public posture on the Palestinian question was ambiguous. In public statements acknowledging PLO representation of the Palestinian people Hussein frequently emphasized the important role Jordan had played in the Palestinian struggle against Israel. Moreover, he rarely identified the PLO as the "sole" legitimate representative of the Palestinians.


Jordan - Economic Austerity, 1981


Since the creation of Transjordan in 1921, the nation had depended on external economic aid. This dependence rendered it economically vulnerable. For many years the economy was underwritten by Britain. By the early 1950s, after Jordan had officially annexed the West Bank, foreign aid accounted for 60 percent of government revenues. The crucial event for the Jordanian economy, as it was for the Arab world as a whole, was the quadrupling of world oil prices that followed the October 1973 War. Possessing little oil of its own, Jordan nonetheless became inexorably linked to the volatile world oil market. Between 1973 and 1981, direct Arab budget support rose more than sixteen-fold, from US$71.8 million to US$1.179 billion. In the same period, the value of Jordanian exports jumped almost thirteen-fold, from US$57.6 million to US$734.9 million. In addition, Jordan sent to the Persian Gulf states an estimated 350,000 doctors, engineers, teachers, and construction workers who by 1981 had sent back home more than US$1 billion. Even after deducting the outward flow of dinars from the 125,000 foreign workers inside Jordan holding agricultural and unskilled jobs, net worker remittances rose from US$15 million in 1970 to US$900 million in 1981.

The accelerated pace of economic growth fueled by the oil price increases of the 1970s also caused inflation and growing import bills. Most important for Jordan, the economic boom years of the 1970s raised popular expectations of continued economic prosperity. As a result, when world oil prices began spiraling downward in the early 1980s, the government halted many large-scale construction projects, slashed food and other subsidies, and significantly reduced public employment. These actions stirred public dissatisfaction.

Hussein's response to the rise in public discontent was to ease restrictions on the political process. First, in 1981 he increased membership of the National Consultative Council (NCC) from sixty to seventy-five. The NCC had been created in April 1978 to fulfill the legislative functions of the dissolved House of Representatives. The NCC, however, was empowered only to debate and discuss bills and had no authority to make laws. As a result, the enlargement of the NCC's membership did not appease the opposition seeking democratic reforms. In addition, in March 1982 a new weekly publication, Al Ufuq (Horizons), campaigned for greater democratic freedom and for the reestablishment of political parties banned since 1957. Two political parties were formed: the Arab Constitutional Alignment and the Arab National Party. Both parties called for greater public participation in the affairs of state.


Jordan - The Israeli Invasion of Lebanon


The June 1982, the Israeli invasion of Lebanon significantly altered Jordan's geostrategic position. Israel's willingness to remove PLO bases from Lebanon by force, despite widespread international criticism, raised apprehensions that Israel might launch an offensive against Jordan. The Arab states, weakened by internal rivalries, the Iran-Iraq War, and Egypt's isolation, did not respond forcefully to the Israeli actions. Hussein viewed the Lebanon invasion as part of a pattern of more aggressive Israeli policies that included the 1981 bombing of the Iraqi nuclear reactor, confrontations with Syria, and an ambitious settlement policy in the occupied territories. The government of Menachem Begin, unlike its predecessors, was willing to use force to attain its territorial objectives. This led to concerns that Israel might have designs on Jordan, or that the PLO, after having its major base of operations in Lebanon destroyed, might attempt to reestablish itself in Jordan. Hussein also feared that Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank was rapidly reducing the chances of an acceptable settlement there.

To many Middle East experts, the increase in settlements, their strategic location, the militancy of many of the Israeli settlers, the rise of religious nationalism inside the political mainstream in Israel, and the expansionary views of the Likud leadership lent urgency to the need to reach a negotiated settlement. Jordan hoped to convince the Reagan administration to push policy makers in Jerusalem toward an acceptable peace settlement.

On September 1, 1982, President Reagan launched the Reagan Plan. Hussein applauded the new American proposal, seeing in it a clear break from the Camp David framework. In announcing the new plan, Reagan stated that "it was the firm view of the United States that self-government by the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza in association with Jordan offers the best chance for a durable and lasting peace," specifying that the United States would not support the establishment of a Palestinian state. The Reagan Plan also stressed UN Resolution 242, stating that the resolution applied to all fronts, including the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and that the final status of Jerusalem should be decided through negotiation.

The war in Lebanon and the publication of the Reagan Plan ushered in a new symbiosis in Jordanian-PLO relations. Hussein needed PLO acceptance of Jordan's participation in the peace process in the framework of the Reagan Plan; PLO chairman Yasir Arafat, considerably weakened by the PLO's devastating defeat in the war in Lebanon, needed Jordanian support to gain access to the political process. In October 1982, Hussein and Arafat began a series of meetings designed to formulate a joint response to the Reagan Plan. These negotiations centered around the formation of a Jordanian-Palestinian delegation to future peace talks, and-- because neither Israel nor the United States recognized the PLO--on the extent to which the PLO would be directly associated with this delegation. Jordan proposed that the PLO appoint West Bank residents who were not members of the PLO to represent the Palestinians. In November 1982, agreement was reached on the formation of a Higher Jordanian-Palestinian Committee headed by Prime Minister Mudar Badran and Arafat.

Because of conflicting objectives sought by Arafat and Hussein, the joint Palestinian-Jordanian committee never materialized. Whereas Hussein saw the proposed confederation as a means to reestablish Jordanian control over the West Bank, Arafat viewed the negotiations as a means to gain PLO sovereignty over the occupied territories. In addition, Hussein and Arafat required evidence that Washington was willing to pressure Israel to make significant territorial concessions. Meanwhile, Israeli troops still occupied part of southern Lebanon, and the Israeli government had not made any commitments on the settlement issue. Moreover, given Iran's recent victories in its war with Iraq, tensions with Syria, and a depressed world oil market, Hussein could not isolate Jordan by unilaterally participating in the Reagan Plan without some show of Israeli flexibility.

Following Hussein's decision in April 1983 not to join the Reagan Plan, Jordan increasingly criticized Washington's inability to apply pressure on Israel to halt settlements in the West Bank. United States-Jordanian relations were further strained in May 1983 when the Reagan administration lifted a ban on the sale of F-16 aircraft to Israel. The ban had been imposed to pressure Israel to withdraw its forces from Lebanon. The United States opposed a Jordanian draft resolution submitted to the UN Security Council in July 1983 asserting the illegality of Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank, and relations between the two countries were further soured by the signing in November 1983 of a new agreement on strategic cooperation between Israel and the United States.

Syria emerged from the war in Lebanon as a pivotal regional power, able and willing to play a role in the affairs of neighboring Arab states. Whereas Syrian power was on the rise, Jordan's most powerful Arab ally, Iraq, seemed to be losing its costly war with Iran. Hussein tried to counterbalance the Syrian threat by making overtures to President Husni Mubarak of Egypt, but did not yet reestablish diplomatic relations. Hussein hoped that Mubarak, who had replaced Sadat after the latter's assassination in September 1981, would bring Egypt back into the Arab fold after Sinai was returned to Egypt in September 1982.

High-level talks between Egypt and Jordan occurred regularly throughout 1983 and 1984. In addition, Egyptian newspapers, banned in Jordan after the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, were allowed into the country in October 1983. Also, Jordan and Egypt signed a trade protocol in December 1983 and discussed the expansion of scientific and agricultural cooperation. Finally, in September 1984, Jordan officially announced the resumption of diplomatic relations with Egypt.


Jordan - Geography


The territory of Jordan covers about 91,880 square kilometers. Until 1988, when King Hussein relinquished Jordan's claim to the West Bank, that area was considered part of Jordan, although only officially recognized as such by Britain and Pakistan. At that time the West Bank--which encompasses about 5,880 square kilometers--had been under Israeli occupation since the June 1967 War between Israel and the states of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria.

Jordan is landlocked except at its southern extremity, where nearly twenty-six kilometers of shoreline along the Gulf of Aqaba provide access to the Red Sea. A great north-south geological rift, forming the depression of Lake Tiberias (Sea of Galilee), the Jordan Valley, and the Dead Sea, is the dominant topographical feature.



Jordan - Boundaries


Except for small sections of the borders with Israel and Syria, Jordan's international boundaries do not follow well-defined natural features of the terrain. The country's boundaries were established by various international agreements, and, with the obvious exception of the border with Israel, none was in dispute in early 1989.

The de jure border with Israel is based on the Armistice line agreed on in April 1949 by Israel and what was then Transjordan, following negotiations held under the auspices of a United Nations (UN) mediator. In general, the border represents the battle positions held by Transjordanian and Israeli forces when a ceasefire went into effect and has no relation to economic or administrative factors. Until the Israeli occupation of the West Bank that occurred during the June 1967 War (also known as the SixDay War), the demarcation line divided the city of Jerusalem, with Jordan holding the Old City and most of the holy places.

Jordan's boundaries with Syria, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia do not have the special significance that the border with Israel does; these borders have not always hampered tribal nomads in their movements, yet for a few groups borders did separate them from traditional grazing areas and water sources. By the time political boundaries were drawn across the deserts around Transjordan after World War I, most of the nomadic tribes in that region had longestablished areas lying within the confines of the new state. To accommodate the few cases where tribal peoples traditionally had moved back and forth across the country's borders, agreements with neighboring countries recognized the principle of freedom of grazing and provided for a continuation of migratory practices, subject to certain regulations.

The border between Jordan and Saudi Arabia (only partially delimited by a series of agreements between Britain and the government of what eventually became Saudi Arabia) was first formally defined in the Hadda Agreement of 1925. In 1965 Jordan and Saudi Arabia concluded a bilateral agreement that realigned and delimited the boundary. The realignment resulted in some exchange of territory, and Jordan's coastline on the Gulf of Aqaba was lengthened by about eighteen kilometers. The new boundary enabled Jordan to expand its port facilities and established a zone in which the two parties agreed to share petroleum revenues equally if oil were discovered. The agreement also protected the pasturage and watering rights of nomadic tribes inside the exchanged territories.


Jordan - Topography


The country consists mainly of a plateau between 700 and 1,000 meters high, divided into ridges by valleys and gorges, and a few mountainous areas. Fractures of the earth's surface are evident in the great geological rift that extends southward from the Jordan Valley through the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea, gradually disappearing south of the lake country of East Africa. Although an earthquake-prone region, as of early 1989 no severe shocks had been recorded for several centuries.

By far the greatest part of the East Bank is desert, displaying the land forms and other features associated with great aridity. Most of this land is part of the great Syrian (or North Arabian) Desert. There are broad expanses of sand and dunes, particularly in the south and southeast, together with salt flats. Occasional jumbles of sandstone hills or low mountains support only meager and stunted vegetation that thrives for a short period after the scanty winter rains. These areas support little life and are the least populated regions of Jordan.

The drainage network is coarse and incised. In many areas the relief provides no eventual outlet to the sea, so that sedimentary deposits accumulate in basins where moisture evaporates or is absorbed in the ground. Toward the depression in the western part of the East Bank, the desert rises gradually into the Jordanian Highlands--a steppe country of high, deeply cut limestone plateaus with an average elevation of about 900 meters. Occasional summits in this region reach 1,200 meters in the northern part and exceed 1,700 meters in the southern part; the highest peak is Jabal Ramm at 1,754 meters. These highlands are an area of long-settled villages. Until about the 1940s, persons living in these villages depended upon rain-fed agriculture for their livelihood.

The western edge of this plateau country forms an escarpment along the eastern side of the Jordan River-Dead Sea depression and its continuation south of the Dead Sea. Most of the wadis that provide drainage from the plateau country into the depression carry water only during the short season of winter rains. Sharply incised with deep, canyonlike walls, whether wet or dry the wadis can be formidable obstacles to travel.

The Jordan River is short, but from its mountain headwaters (approximately 160 kilometers north of the river's mouth at the Dead Sea) the riverbed drops from an elevation of about 3,000 meters above sea level to more than 400 meters below sea level. Before reaching Jordanian territory the river forms Lake Tiberias, the surface of which is 212 meters below sea level. The Jordan River's principal tributary is the Yarmuk River. Near the junction of the two rivers, the Yarmuk forms the boundary between Israel on the northwest, Syria on the northeast, and Jordan on the south. The Az Zarqa River, the second main tributary of the Jordan River, rises and empties entirely within the East Bank.

A 380-kilometer-long rift valley runs from the Yarmuk River in the north to Al Aqabah in the south. The northern part, from the Yarmuk River to the Dead Sea, is commonly known as the Jordan Valley. It is divided into eastern and western parts by the Jordan River. Bordered by a steep escarpment on both the eastern and the western side, the valley reaches a maximum width of twenty-two kilometers at some points. The valley is properly known as the Al Ghawr (the depression, or valley, also seen as Al Ghor).

The rift valley on the southern side of the Dead Sea is known as the Southern Ghawr and the Wadi al Jayb (popularly known as the Wadi al Arabah). The Southern Ghawr runs from Wadi al Hammah, on the south side of the Dead Sea, to Ghawr Faya, about twenty-five kilometers south of the Dead Sea. Wadi al Jayb is 180 kilometers long, from the southern shore of the Dead Sea to Al Aqabah in the south. The valley floor varies in level. In the south, it reaches its lowest level at the Dead Sea (more than 400 meters below sea level), rising in the north to just above sea level. Evaporation from the sea is extreme due to year-round high temperatures. The water contains about 250 grams of dissolved salts per liter at the surface and reaches the saturation point at 110 meters.

The Dead Sea occupies the deepest depression on the land surface of the earth. The depth of the depression is accentuated by the surrounding mountains and highlands that rise to elevations of 800 to 1,200 meters above sea level. The sea's greatest depth is about 430 meters, and it thus reaches a point more than 825 meters below sea level. A drop in the level of the sea has caused the former Lisan Peninsula to become a land bridge dividing the sea into separate northern and southern basins.


Jordan - Climate


The major characteristic of the climate is the contrast between a relatively rainy season from November to April and very dry weather for the rest of the year. With hot, dry, uniform summers and cool, variable winters during which practically all of the precipitation occurs, the country has a Mediterranean-style climate. In general, the farther inland from the Mediterranean Sea a given part of the country lies, the greater are the seasonal contrasts in temperature and the less rainfall. Atmospheric pressures during the summer months are relatively uniform, whereas the winter months bring a succession of marked low pressure areas and accompanying cold fronts. These cyclonic disturbances generally move eastward from over the Mediterranean Sea several times a month and result in sporadic precipitation.

Most of the East Bank receives less than twelve centimeters of rain a year and may be classified as a dry desert or steppe region. Where the ground rises to form the highlands east of the Jordan Valley, precipitation increases to around thirty centimeters in the south and fifty or more centimeters in the north. The Jordan Valley, lying in the lee of high ground on the West Bank, forms a narrow climatic zone that annually receives up to thirty centimeters of rain in the northern reaches; rain dwindles to less than twelve centimeters at the head of the Dead Sea.

The country's long summer reaches a peak during August. January is usually the coolest month. The fairly wide ranges of temperature during a twenty-four-hour period are greatest during the summer months and have a tendency to increase with higher elevation and distance from the Mediterranean seacoast. Daytime temperatures during the summer months frequently exceed 36°C and average about 32°C. In contrast, the winter months--November to April--bring moderately cool and sometimes cold weather, averaging about 13°C. Except in the rift depression, frost is fairly common during the winter, and it occasionally snows in Amman.

For a month or so before and after the summer dry season, hot, dry air from the desert, drawn by low pressure, produces strong winds from the south or southeast that sometimes reach gale force. Known in the Middle East by various names, including the khamsin, this dry, sirocco-style wind is usually accompanied by great dust clouds. Its onset is heralded by a hazy sky, a falling barometer, and a drop in relative humidity to about 10 percent. Within a few hours there may be a 10°C to 15°C rise in temperature. These windstorms ordinarily last a day or so, cause much discomfort, and destroy crops by desiccating them.

The shammal, another wind of some significance, comes from the north or northwest, generally at intervals between June and September. Remarkably steady during daytime hours but becoming a breeze at night, the shammal may blow for as long as nine days out of ten and then repeat the process. It originates as a dry continental mass of polar air that is warmed as it passes over the Eurasian landmass. The dryness allows intense heating of the earth's surface by the sun, resulting in high daytime temperatures that moderate after sunset.


Jordan - The Society


WHEN THE AMIRATE of Transjordan was created by the British in 1921, the vast majority of the people consisted of an assortment of tribally organized and tribally oriented groups, some of whom were sedentary cultivators and some nomadic or seminomadic. The total population was fewer than 400,000 people. By 1988 nearly 3,000,000 people, more than half of whom were Palestinians, inhabited the region east of the Jordan River-Dead Sea-Gulf of Aqaba line, referred to as the East Bank. The term Palestinians refers narrowly to citizens of the British mandated territory of Palestine (1922-48). In general usage, however, the term has come to refer to Muslims or Christians indigenous to the region between the Egyptian Sinai and Lebanon and west of the Jordan River-Dead Sea-Gulf of Aqaba line who identify themselves primarily as Palestinians. Narrowly defined, the term Transjordanian referred to a citizen of the Amirate of Transjordan (1921-46). Generally speaking, however, a Transjordanian was considered a Muslim or Christian indigenous to the East Bank region, which was within the approximate boundaries of the contemporary state of Jordan. The formerly rural society of Jordan had been transformed since independence into an increasingly urban one; by 1985 nearly 70 percent of the population resided in urban centers that were growing at an annual rate of between 4 and 5 percent.

In the late 1980s, class polarization was increasingly evident. Nonetheless, a variety of social forces (such as national identity and regional or tribal affiliation) continued to cut across class lines. The uprooting of so many East Bank citizens from their places of origin contributed to social fragmentation. In addition to the Palestinians, who retained a strong sense of national identity and outrage at the loss of their homeland, many Transjordanians had migrated from their rural and or desert villages to urban centers in search of work for themselves and education for their children. Many Transjordanians thus shared a sense of loss and rootlessness.

Probably the most important force supporting cohesion and integration was the Arab-Islamic cultural tradition common to all but a few members of the society. Arabic, a potent force for unity throughout the Middle East, was the mother tongue of the overwhelming majority of residents. Also, more than 90 percent of the population adhered to Sunni Islam. These commonalities, although important, have been insufficient to forge an integrated society.

Every year since the late 1950s, increasing numbers of Jordan's youth have received formal training in the country's rapidly expanding education system. By the late 1980s, all children aged six years to twelve years were attending free and compulsory primary schools. Nearly 80 percent of children between the ages of thirteen and fifteen attended three-year preparatory schools, also free and compulsory. But possession of an education, once a near certain vehicle for upward mobility, no longer guaranteed employment. Unemployment was probably one of the most critical issues facing Jordan in the late 1980s. It was accompanied by growing political frustration and radicalization over the Palestinian uprising (intifadah) in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.


Jordan - Population


Official Jordanian statistics gave a 1987 population figure of 2,896,800 for the East Bank. A 1982 population of 2,399,300 thus indicated an annual growth rate of between 3.6 and 4 percent. United Nations statistics projected a peak in the annual growth rate at 4.11 percent in the period from 1990 to 1995, followed by a steady decline to 2.88 percent in 2020.

Rapid development in the provision of health care services during the 1970s and 1980s led to a decline in the crude death rate from 17 per 1,000 population in 1965 to 7 per 1,000 population by 1986. During the same period, the infant mortality rate, a major indicator of a country's development and health status, dropped from 115 to 46 per 1,000 live births. In 1986 life expectancy at birth was sixty-five years (sixty-three for males and sixty-seven for females). The lowered death rate, a high birth rate, and lowered infant mortality rate combined to generate a major demographic problem in the late 1980s. At the end of the decade, more than half Jordan's population was below fifteen years of age. This situation strained the country's already limited resources, and employment for the burgeoning group of young people became increasingly difficult to provide.

Accurate demographic figures were difficult to compile because of the substantial number of Jordanians residing and working abroad and the continuous flow of West bank Palestinians with Jordanian passports back and forth between the East and West banks. According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, about 224,000 people were admitted to UNRWA refugee camps in the East Bank immediately after the June 1967 War. In 1986 UNRWA cited 826,128 registered refugees living on the East Bank, of whom about 205,000 were living in refugee camps.

The exact number of Palestinians living on the East Bank was unknown. Estimates usually ranged from 60 to 70 percent of the total population. Official government statistics did not distinguish between East Bank and West Bank Jordanians.

The government did not have an officially articulated population policy or birth control program. Rather, in 1979 it adopted a "child spacing program" that was designed to improve the health of mother and child, and not specifically to lower the fertility rate. This noninterventionist approach considered family planning to be one component of an integrated maternal-child health and primary health care program. Government clinics and private medical services delivered family planning services upon request and contraceptives were widely available at low cost. In 1987 there were 116 maternal-child health care centers--up from 93 in 1983-- providing prenatal and postnatal care and a wide range of birth control information.

Jordan's high population growth can be attributed primarily to high fertility rates. In 1986 the World Bank calculated this rate as 6.0 births for each woman over the span of her reproductive years, one of the highest fertility rates in the region. This rate was projected to decline to 4.2 births by the year 2000. The fertility rate varied, however, between women residing in rural and urban areas and according to educational attainment. Educated women tended to marry at a slightly older age than uneducated women, and this delay contributed to a lower fertility rate. Urban women achieved lower fertility rates through modern methods of contraception, particularly the pill. Fertility rates were lowest in Amman, higher in smaller urban areas such as Irbid and Az Zarqa, and highest in rural areas. In rural areas modern contraceptive usage was lower, although breast-feeding, which serves to delay the return of fertility, was extended for a longer period than in the cities. World Bank data indicated that 27 percent of married women of child-bearing age were using contraception in the 1980s.

A woman was expected to have to bear five children, including at least two sons, in fairly rapid succession. Women gained status and security in their marital household by bearing children. According to a study conducted in the early 1980s by Jordanian anthropologists Seteney Shami and Lucine Taminian in a poor, squatter area in Amman, reproductive behavior was subject to several factors. If a woman had given birth to two or more sons, she might begin to space her pregnancies or stop bearing children for a while. Household structure--nuclear, extended, or multiple family--also appeared to be a crucial factor in determining fertility. The presence of other women in a household encouraged women to bear more children to improve their relative position in the household.

The overall population density for the East Bank in 1987 was established at about thirty persons per square kilometer. There was wide regional variation and the rate of urbanization was high. East of Al Mafraq, in an area encompassing almost two-thirds of the country, no towns had a population of more than 10,000. The bulk of Jordan's population was centered in the governorate of Amman and the smaller urban areas of Irbid, As Salt, and Az Zarqa. The 1987 population totals of the eight governorates ranged from 1,203,000 in Amman to 101,000 in the Maan Governorate. According to World Bank figures, about 70 percent of the population lived in urban areas. The nation's capital, Amman, accounted for more than one- third of the total population. Rapid urbanization appeared to be the result of a high fertility rate and rural-urban migration. If urbanization continued at the high annual rate of 4 to 5 percent, it was estimated that by the year 2000, nearly three-fourths of the population could be living in Amman, Az Zarqa, Irbid, As Salt, and Ar Ramtha.

The remainder of the population resided in villages scattered in an uneven pattern throughout Jordan. The nomadic and seminomadic population was very small, at most 2 to 3 percent of the population. The clearest concentrations of villages were in the fertile northwest corner and the Jordan Valley. Village size varied markedly from region to region. At one time, size related to the productive capacity of the surrounding farmland. Larger villages were located in the more fertile, generally irrigated regions where family members could reach their fields with relative ease. While village populations continued to grow, rural-urban migration drained off a steady stream of young men and sometimes whole families. Villages provided little employment for their residents, and agriculture as a way of life had declined precipitously since the 1950s.

Camps of nomadic and seminomadic beduins still existed in the late 1980s. Nomadic tribes were found mainly in the desert area east of a line from Al Mafraq to Maan. The area, about 400 kilometers long and 250 kilometers wide, is known as the badiya (pl., bawaadi, meaning desert or semidesert). Seminomadic beduins were located in the Al Ghawr and near Irbid. These seminomads descended to the Jordan Valley in the winter because of its warm climate and grazing ground for their herds. Traditionally, many of these seminomads also farmed plots of land in the valley. In the summer, they moved their herds up into the hills to avoid the intense heat.

The native inhabitants of the Jordan Valley are known as Al Ghawarna, or people of Al Ghawr. Prior to the June 1967 War, the valley was home to about 60,000 people engaged in agriculture and pastoralism. In 1971 the population had declined to 5,000 as a result of the June 1967 War and the 1970-71 conflict between the Palestinian guerrillas and the Jordanian armed forces. By 1979, however, the population had reached 85,000 as a result of government development efforts designed to attract people to settle in this area.

Refugee camps emerged in the wake of the Arab-Israeli War of 1948. The original refugee settlements were tent camps, but in most places tents were replaced by rows of galvanized steel, aluminum, and asbestos shelters. There were initially five refugee camps-- Irbid, Az Zarqa, Amman New (Al Wahdat), Al Karamah (later dismantled), and Jabal al Hussein-- but six additional emergency camps were established for refugees from the June 1967 War--Al Hisn, Suf, Jarash, Baqah, Talbiyah, and Marka. Most of the camps were located near major cities in the northwest.


Updated population figures for Jordan.




In the pre-1948 East Bank, the dominant sociopolitical order was tribalism. Tribalism was characteristic not only of the beduin nomads and seminomads upon whom the Hashimite (also seen as Hashemite) rulers relied for support, but also of many of the village people and even those who were technically urban. After 1948 this sociocultural system was inundated by masses of Palestinians, largely sedentary village and town dwellers, many of them literate and well educated. The sheer numbers of Palestinians who came to the East Bank after 1948 and the comparatively simple economy and society of the indigenous Transjordanians made the assimilation of the Palestinians to the local patterns improbable. Indeed, some analysts have argued that by the early 1970s Palestinians had established a cultural dominance in the East Bank. In any case, by the late 1980s, Palestinians had considerable economic and cultural influence.

Jordanians responded in part to the development of Palestinian economic and cultural elites by upgrading education. By the late 1980s, the gap between Transjordanian and Palestinian educational achievements had narrowed considerably. Jordan's position also was changing in the global political economy. Agriculture and nomadism had gradually given way to more viable livelihoods based on skilled labor, secular education, and increasing levels of literacy. Labor migration, particularly of the skilled and educated, was a key factor in social mobility in the 1970s and 1980s. A concomitant shift in values was apparent: prestige was increasingly associated with modern occupations, and education came to be seen as the key to social mobility.

Aside from the fundamental distinction between Jordanians of East Bank origin and those of Palestinian origin, other sociocultural distinctions or affiliations were evident in Jordanian society, including ethnic and regional origins, gender, class, tribe, religion, and life-style (e.g., nomadic, village, or urban). These various patterns of affiliations structured the ways in which Jordanians related to one another and gave rise to different sorts of individual identity. For example, most Christian Jordanians were Arabs and shared many cultural habits and values with Muslim Jordanians. Their sense of identity, however, was based less on Islamic influences than that of Muslim Jordanians. Christians interacted daily with Muslims, working, studying, and socializing together. But intermarriage between Muslims and Christians remained infrequent in the late 1980s. Little information was available on the extent to which these social interactions contributed to conflict or tension. The most that observers could conclude was that religious differences carried a potential for conflict.

Class structure in Jordan was exceedingly difficult to assess. Many social divisions, such as East Bank or Palestinian origins and identity, tribal affiliation, ethnicity, and rural or urban lifestyle, cut across class divisions. The forces of the political economy in the late 1970s and 1980s were forging embryonic classes; however, it was debatable to what extent they were self-conscious and cohesive.

Class structure in Jordan resembled a pyramid. At the top was a small, wealthy group comprising large landowners, industrialists, leading financial figures, and members of their families. The oil boom of the 1970s and early 1980s also had created a new class of wealthy Jordanians who made large amounts of money abroad, which was displayed by conspicuous consumption at home in Jordan. Just below this group were professionals, army officers, and government officials who lived a somewhat less grand but still comfortable life. White-collar workers, schoolteachers, and returning migrants struggled to retain a style of life that separated them socially from the small shopkeepers and artisans below them. At the bottom of the pyramid, a large lower class included increasing numbers of the unemployed. The system of family support tended to cushion unemployed university graduates and professionals from falling into the ranks of the poor.

<>Ethnicity and Language
<>Tribes and Tribalism
<>Urban Areas and Urbanization



Jordan - Ethnicity and Language


In the late 1980s, several ethnic and religious groups coexisted on the East Bank. Roughly 5 to 8 percent of the total population were Christians. Of these, most were Arabs, including a small number--unique among Christians in the Middle East--who recently had been pastoral nomads. The largest group of non-Arab Christians were the Armenians, perhaps 1 percent of the population, who resided primarily in Irbid and Amman.

The Circassians, a Sunni Muslim community of approximately 25,000 people, were descendants of families brought from the region of the Caucasus Mountains when Caucasian territory was ceded to Russia in the 1880s. By encouraging the Circassians to settle in northern Jordan, the Ottomans sought to provide an element loyal to the sultan that could counterbalance the beduins. Circassians originally settled in Amman and the then-abandoned city of Jarash. Despite their small numbers, they have long been important in government, business, and the military and security forces. In 1938, for example, Circassians constituted 7.3 percent of the nonBritish government officials in Transjordan. Twenty-six of the thirty-three cabinets between 1947 and 1965 included one or more Circassians. Circassian families included prominent landowners and leaders in commerce and industry. Peter Gubser, a United States authority on Jordan, contended in 1983 that the Circassians were not "politically assertive as a group," although they were known for "their loyalty to the Hashemites." It is likely, however, that their relative cultural and economic importance diminished with the increasing predominance of the Palestinians on the one hand, and the improved education level of the Jordanians on the other. The Circassians remained heavily represented in senior military ranks, however, which caused some resentment among other Jordanians. All Circassians spoke Arabic and the rate of intermarriage between Arab Jordanians and Circassians was high.

Another, much smaller group originating in the Caucasus was the Shishans (also seen as Chechens), whose roughly 2,000 members were Shia Muslims, the only representatives of this branch of Islam in Jordan. Another religious minority were a small numbers of Arabic-speaking Druze villagers. A few Arabic-speaking Kurds lived in several northern villages.

A category of immigrants different from the Palestinian refugees may be noted. Between the early 1920s and the late 1940s, some hundreds of families, perhaps more, settled in Transjordan, having left Palestine, Syria, and the Hijaz region in Saudi Arabia. Arabs, and usually Sunni Muslims, they were nevertheless only partially integrated into the local communities in which they lived. This incomplete assimilation occurred in part because they were foreigners in the context of the tribal structure of such communities, and in part because, as merchants, most were looked at askance by tribally oriented groups. Generally, they tended to marry among themselves or with persons of similar origin. In the 1980s, however, most of these families had lived in the East Bank for nearly three generations, and the tribal system that had excluded them had become less significant within the society.

All Jordanians, regardless of ethnicity or religion, speak Arabic, the official language of Jordan. Throughout the Arab world, the language exists in three forms: the classical Arabic of the Quran, the literary language developed from the classical and known as Modern Standard Arabic, and the local form of the spoken language. Modern Standard Arabic has virtually the same structure wherever it is used, although its pronunciation and lexicon may vary locally. Educated Arabs tend to know two forms of Arabic-- Modern Standard Arabic and their own dialect of spoken Arabic. Even uneducated Arabic speakers usually can comprehend the general meaning of something said in Modern Standard Arabic although they cannot speak it themselves and often have difficulty understanding specific expressions. Classical Arabic is known chiefly to scholars; many people have memorized Quranic phrases by rote but cannot speak the classic form.

Dialects of spoken Arabic vary greatly throughout the Arab world. Most Jordanians speak a dialect common to Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and parts of Iraq and, like people speaking other dialects, they proudly regard theirs as the best. (Small numbers of nomads traversing Jordan from Saudi Arabia may speak a dialect akin to one used in that country.) Few people believe that their dialect is actually good Arabic in the sense of conforming to the ideal. Although they converse in colloquial Arabic, they generally agree that the written form of Modern Standard Arabic is superior to the spoken form because it is closer to the perfection of the Quranic language. Arabs generally believe that the speech of the beduins resembles the purer classical form most closely and that the local dialects used by the settled villagers and townspeople are unfortunate corruptions.

Within a given region, slight differences in speech distinguish a city dweller from a villager and more significant ones distinguish either of these from a nomad. Even within the villages, various quarters often display unique pronunciations, idioms, and vocabulary specialized to particular lifestyles. Grammatical structure may differ as well.

Arabic is a Semitic language related to Aramaic, Hebrew, various Ethiopic languages, and others. Rich in synonyms, rhythmic, highly expressive and poetic, Arabic can have a strong emotional effect on its speakers and listeners. As the language of the Quran, believed by Muslims to be the literal word of God, it has been the vehicle for recounting of the historic glories of Islamic civilization. Arabic speakers are more emotionally attached to their language than are most peoples to their native tongues. Poetic eloquence was one of the most admired cultural attainments and signs of cultivation in the Arab world; among rural people, sedentary and nomadic, as well as among literate city dwellers, Arabic speakers long have striven to display an extensive command of traditional phrases and locutions. Beauty of expression was highly valued, and the speaker and writer traditionally sought an elaboration and circumlocution in both spoken and written forms that Westerners might find flowery or verbose.


Jordan - Tribes and Tribalism


Before the events of the post-World War II period thrust it onto the center stage of international affairs, the territory that is now the East Bank was first a provincial backwater of the Ottoman Empire and later a small and weak desert amirate. Straddling the transitional area between the "desert and the sown," it participated only marginally in the social and intellectual changes that began sweeping the Arab world during the nineteenth century. Although ringed by the hinterlands of such major cities as Jerusalem and Damascus, Jordan lacked a significant urban center of its own until the late 1940s; consequently it did not display artistically, intellectually, commercially, or governmentally the sophisticated form of Arab culture characteristic of urban life. The basic form of social organization in Transjordan was tribal, and the social relations among the various nomadic and seminomadic tribes and between them and villagers (many of whom were also tribally organized), were based on trade and the exchange of tribute for protection.

In 1983 Gubser classified Jordanians along a continuum: nomadic, seminomadic, semisedentary, and sedentary. Nomads, or beduins, were a fully nomadic group whose livelihood was based on camel herding. Tribes and animals existed in a symbiotic relationship; the camels supplied much of the food and other needs of the beduins, while the tribespeople assured the animals' survival by locating and guiding them to adequate pasturage. This fine adaptation to an extremely demanding ecological niche required a versatile, portable technology that was, in its way, extremely sophisticated. It also required a high degree of specialized knowledge and a flexible social structure that could be expanded and contracted according to need. The beduins, however, were also dependent upon settled communities--villages, towns, and cities-- for trading animals and their products for goods they did not produce.

Tribal social structure, as described by tribal members, was based on the ramification of patrilineal ties among men. In reality, matrilineal ties also were significant in providing access to material and social resources. The ideological dimension to patrilineality became more apparent when endogamy, or marriage within the group, was considered. The preference for endogamy-- historically prevalent in the Middle East, especially for paternal cousin marriage in the first instance and then in descending levels of relatedness--gives rise to a network of kin relations that are both maternal and paternal at the same time. Ultimately, the kinship system takes on many characteristics of a bilateral system. Descent and inheritance, however, are traced in a patrilineal fashion.

Tribes in Jordan were groups of related families claiming descent from a supposed founding ancestor. Within this overall loyalty, however, descent from intermediate ancestors defined several levels of smaller groups within each tribe. Tribespeople described their system as segmentary; that is, the tribe resembled a pyramid composed of ascending segments, or levels, each of which was both a political and a social group. At some point, each unit automatically contained within it all units of the lower level. Ideally, in the event of conflict, segments would unite in an orderly fashion from the lowest level to the highest as conflict escalated. In reality, the system was not so orderly; tribal segments underwent fission, and in the event of conflict, fusion did not necessarily follow the ideal pattern. The pattern of unity was much more varied and complex.

Beduins traditionally have placed great importance on the concept of honor (ird). Slight or injury to a member of a tribal group was an injury to all members of that group; likewise, all members were responsible for the actions of a fellow tribal member. Honor inhered in the family or tribe and in the individual as the representative of the family or tribe. Slights were to be erased by appropriate revenge or through mediation to reach reconciliation based on adequate recompense.

Beduins had specific areas for winter and summer camping that were known to be the territory of a specific tribe. Seminomadic groups raised sheep and goats and moved much shorter, well-defined distances; they also practiced some agriculture. But the semisedentary groups were more involved in agriculture than either nomads or seminomadic peoples. Parts of a semisedentary group moved during different seasons, while others in the group remained in permanent abodes.

By the 1980s, these differences among beduin groups were minimal. Substantial numbers of nomads and seminomads had increasingly adopted a sedentary way of life. In his 1981 study of one section of the Bani Sakhar tribe, Joseph Hiatt noted that settlement began in the post-World War I period and expanded rapidly after the mid-1950s. In this case and many others, sedentarization was neither completely voluntary nor a result of an official settlement policy. Rather, it appeared to be a natural response to changing political and economic circumstances, particularly the formation and consolidation of the state. In some cases, the administrative policies of the state disrupted the nomads' traditional pastoral economy. For example, national borders separated the nomads from grazing lands and permanent wells. The creation of a standing army that recruited nomads diluted labor once available for herding. Education had a similar effect. As the nomads took up agriculture and as private titles to land were granted, the nomads' traditional relationship to tribal territory decreased. Faced with these obstacles to a pastoral way of life, nomads increasingly chose alternative occupations, particularly in the military, and the sedentarization process accelerated.

Government policies encouraged settlement by providing schooling, medical services, and the development of water resources. The decrease in the number of nomads continued despite the influx of pastoralists from the Negev Desert after the founding of Israel. By the early 1970s, the beduin tribes constituted no more than 5 percent of Jordan's population. That proportion had dwindled to less than 3 percent by the late 1970s. Their small numbers, however, did not correspond to their cultural and political importance in Jordan.

Despite the near-disappearance of the nomadic way of life, tribal social structure and organization have not necessarily been transformed as drastically. Hiatt contended that tribal organization actually was reinforced during the initial process of sedentarization because the tribe itself was the basis for allocation of land. Leadership patterns have changed significantly, however, as government-appointed officials have assumed many of the tasks formerly associated with the position of shaykh. In the end, tribal social structure was weakened; individual titles to land, which can be rented or sold to outsiders, and individual employment diluted lineage solidarity and cohesiveness.

Some indication of the recent status and aspirations of beduin groups, both settled and nomadic, was provided by a 1978 survey by a team from the University of Jordan. Among the beduins studied, males increasingly were engaged in more or less sedentary occupations. Many were in the government or the army. The researchers found that most beduin parents wanted a different way of life for their children. Willingness to settle was contingent upon settlement being more advantageous than the nomadic way of life. For the beduins, settlement often meant a continued association with livestock raising and its attendant requirements of access to food and water. These hopes and wishes seemed to be consistent with the government's strategy for a revitalized livestock (sheep and goat) industry.

The beduin attitude toward education was two-sided and reflected the difficulty of adapting to a new way of life. Early observers noted that an army career tended to motivate beduins to acquire an education. Some, such as the French ethnographer Joseph Chelhod, argued that "an educated beduin means an abandoned tent." Implied was abandonment of the entire beduin way of life. Many beduin parents interviewed in the 1978 survey were concerned that the education of their children beyond a certain level would threaten the survival of the family. They feared that "an educated child would naturally emigrate to work or pursue further studies in Amman or even outside the country." At the same time, these parents acknowledged that "the best future of their children lay in education and in living and working in a settled society close to the country's urban centers." It is not altogether clear whether the beduins who have acquired enough education for an ordinary career in the army have abandoned their allegiance to their families and tribes or whether they have permanently rejected the beduin style of life.

Jordan was unique among primarily sedentary Middle Eastern countries in that, at least until the mid-1970s, the Hashimite government gained its most significant political support from the beduin tribes. Mindful of the intensely personal nature of his ties with the beduins, Hussein visited them often, socializing in their tents and playing the role of paramount tribal shaykh. People of beduin origin constituted a disproportionate share of the army; that disproportion continued to prevail at the higher command levels in the mid-1980s. The opportunity for a lucrative, secure career that also carried high prestige and conformed to traditional martial tribal attitudes has for over half a century drawn recruits from the desert, first into the Arab Legion under the British and later into its successor force, the Jordan Arab Army. Army service was an important influence for social change among nomadic tribes because it fostered desire for education and often provided the wherewithal for adaptations to factors affecting the pastoral economy. For example, army pay could permit a beduin family to buy a truck as a substitute for or in addition to camels, or to invest in the economically more significant sheep.

Observers in the 1980s noted that a process of detribalization was taking place in Jordan, whereby the impact of tribal affiliation on the individual's sense of identity was declining. Sedentarization and education were prime forces in this process. Smaller groups, such as the extended family and clan, were gradually replacing tribes as primary reference groups. The weakening of tribal affiliation and identity led to the questioning of support for the Hashimite regime. Tribal shaykhs no longer could guarantee the support of tribal members, particularly the younger ones. This process was uneven, however, with some tribes displaying more cohesiveness than others.

The term tribalism was much in use in the 1980s. The intelligentsia proposed that meritocracy rather than tribalism be the basis of selection in the 1984 parliamentary by-elections. Anthropologist Linda Layne compared the intelligentsia's views of tribalism with the electoral behavior of the beduins. Layne defined the intelligentsia's interpretation of tribalism as "the placing of family ties before all other political allegiances" and concluded that tribalism "is therefore understood to be antithetical to loyalty to the State." Layne recognized the prominent role of tribalism in the 1984 election but stated that this was not at odds with a modern political system. Rather, in reconstructing their identity in a modern Jordanian state, Layne held that the beduins were maintaining a tribalism suffused with new elements such as a narrower role for tribal shaykhs in national politics and new sources of political legitimacy. Beduin electoral behavior was not homogeneous along tribal lines, evidence that tribal shaykhs could no longer automatically deliver the votes of their fellow tribesmen and women. In this sense, Layne found no tension between the beduin's identity as tribesman or tribeswoman and as citizen; rather, these were complementary forms of identity.

Tribalism and tradition also lent legitimacy to Hashimite rule. The legitimacy of tradition, considered almost synonymous with beduin or tribal culture, has been defended as part of the near sacrosanct foundations of the state and as central to cultural heritage. In the 1985 public exchange between King Hussein and Minister of Information Layla Sharaf, Hussein responded to Sharaf's calls for liberalizing the law, particularly lifting censorship and diluting the influence of tribalism in society. In the 1980s, a debate raged among Jordanians and observers of Jordanian society over the appropriate role tribal influence and tradition should play in a modern state. In early 1985, in the midst of this debate, King Hussein publicly supported the role of the tribe and tradition in Jordan's past and future by stating, "Whatever harms tribes is considered harmful to us. Law will remain closely connected to norms, customs, and traditions. . . . Our traditions should be made to preserve the fabric of society. Disintegration of tribes is very painful, negative and subversive."

Thus, the role of tribes and tribalism, although transformed, remained a fundamental pillar of both society and political culture in the late 1980s. Although numerically few Jordanians lived the traditional life of the nomadic beduin, the cultural traditions based on this life-style were hardly diminished. Indeed, conceptions of modern Jordanian cultural and national identity were deeply intertwined with the country's beduin heritage.


Jordan - Villages


The principles of organization in settled communities resembled those of the beduins in that villages were organized around kin groups. The resemblance to nomadic groups was closest in the villages of central and southern Jordan. There villagers retained, in somewhat loose form, a tribal form of organization. Most villagers lived in the much more densely settled north, where tribal organization in the late 1980s remained significant only among the recently settled.

In most northern villages, the descendants of a common, relatively distant ancestor formed a hamula (pl., hamail, meaning a clan). The hamula ordinarily had a corporate identity; it often maintained a guesthouse, its members usually resided in a distinguishable quarter or neighborhood, and it acted in concert in village, and often regional, political affairs. The hamula was the repository of family honor and tended to be endogamous. Some villages in the north were dominated by one hamula; that is, everyone in a village belonged to the same descent group. Sometimes several smaller hamail also resided in a village dominated by one large hamula. Other villages were characterized by the presence of several hamail of nearly equal numerical size and importance in village political affairs and landholdings. In some northern regions, a large hamula might have sections in several villages.

Intermediate kin groups existed below the level of the hamula and above that of the household. In many cases, a group of closely related households, descendants of a relative closer than the founder of the hamula, formed entities called lineages (or branches). A still smaller unit was the luzum, a close consultation group, usually composed of several brothers and their families. Father's brothers' sons and their families could be included in or even constitute the luzum. This group had the most significance for everyday life in the village. Members of a hamula, especially those spread over several villages, sometimes saw each other only on occasions such as weddings, births, deaths, religious holidays, or a conflict involving a hamula member. Anthropologist Richard Antoun found the luzum to be the significant unit in a variety of matters in the community he studied; its members were responsible for paying truce money in cases where honor had been violated. This was the group that acted as a support system for the individual in the event of need, providing access to resources such as land, bridewealth, or financial aid in the event of illness or to pay for schooling.

Lineages and luzums varied in size and sometimes overlapped in functions. For example, a large luzum sometimes carried the weight of a smaller lineage in village politics, and it could be difficult to distinguish them. Kin groups, even at the level of lineages, were not homogenous in terms of class; some members could be quite well off and others rather poor. This internal differentiation increased as some members migrated to urban areas or abroad in search of work, entered the army, or sought higher education.

Social control and politics in the village traditionally grew out of the interactions of kin groups at various levels. Social control over individual behavior was achieved through the process of socialization and a system that imposed sanctions for unacceptable behavior. Such sanctions could range from gossip damaging to one's reputation and that of one's kin, to censure by one's kin group, to penalties imposed by the state for infractions of its criminal codes.

Respected elder males from the various hamail (or lineages if the village were populated predominantly by members of one hamula) provided leadership in villages. They often made decisions by consensus. With the formation and consolidation of the state, traditional leaders lost some power, but they continued in the late 1980s to mediate conflicts, and state officials often turned to them when dealing with village affairs. In cases of conflict in the village, leaders of the appropriate kin sections of groups attempted to mediate the problem through kinship ties. Such leaders were usually elderly men respected for their traditional wisdom and knowledge of customs, or slightly younger, secularly educated men, or persons in intermediate positions between the two. If the conflict escalated or involved violence, the state, through the police and the court system, tended to become involved. The state encouraged recourse to traditional forms of mediation sometimes as an alternative and sometimes as an accompaniment to processing the case through the court system.

The mukhtar, or headman, of a small village linked the villagers with the state bureaucracy, especially if there were no village or municipal council. The mukhtar's duties included the registering of births and deaths, notarizing official papers for villagers, and assisting the police with their investigations in the village. Where there were municipal or village councils, generally in villages with a population of 3,000 or more, the mukhtar had little influence. Instead, the councils--bodies elected by the villagers--allocated government authority and village resources. Young, educated men from influential families, whose fathers may have been traditional leaders in the village, often ran the councils.

As villages increasingly became integrated into the state economic and political system, social stratification grew. Traditionally, large landowners were able to command labor, surplus, and services as well as social deference from less wealthy villagers. However, a variety of village and religious customs eased this apparent class differentiation. Religious teachings and practices, such as the giving of alms and the distribution of gifts at the festival marking the end of Ramadan and at other festival seasons, emphasized the responsibility of the prosperous for the less fortunate. Wealth also implied an obligation to provide a place for men to gather and for visitors to come, in order to maintain the standing of the village as a whole. Events such as weddings were occasions for the wealthy to provide feasts for the whole village.

In the late 1980s, social change had strained village structure and values. The older generation's uncontested control of the economic resources necessary for contracting marriage, participating in politics, and even earning a livelihood had guaranteed their authority. The decline in significance of agriculture as a way of life and the appearance of other opportunities led many younger people into other pursuits. As a result, some "agricultural" villages eventually contained a majority of men engaged in other kinds of work. Earning an income independent of their elders' control and often considerably larger than the older generation could command, such young people were in a position to challenge their elders' authority. Nevertheless, in the late 1980s, the individual still remained enmeshed in a network of family relations and obligations. The young deferred less frequently to their elders in decisions about life choices than had been the custom, but respect for parents and elders remained evident.


Jordan - Palestinians


Jordanians tended to refer to Palestinians as persons who fled or were driven from Palestine during the Arab-Israeli War of 1948 and the June 1967 War. Some immigrants from Palestine who had entered Jordan in preceding centuries, however, were so thoroughly integrated into the local society as to be indistinguishable from their neighbors. The Majalis, for more than a century the leading tribe in Al Karak area, came originally from Hebron. For political and social purposes, they and others like them were considered Jordanians. Other Palestinians from Hebron, who came to Al Karak as merchants well before 1948, remained to a considerable degree outsiders, for the most part taking their spouses from the Hebron area and maintaining economic and other ties there.

Al Karak is not representative of the impact of Palestinians on East Bank society and culture. In 1948 the population of the East Bank was about 340,000. The 1950 annexation of the West Bank increased the population by about 900,000. This increase included the West Bank population itself (around 400,000 to 450,000) and about 450,000 refugees from those areas of Palestine that became Israel in 1948. In addition, many thousands of Palestinians not classified as refugees entered Jordan after 1948. As a result of the June 1967 War, in 1967 an additional 250,000 to 300,000 West Bank Palestinians entered Jordan as refugees.

Most of the refugees, inside and outside refugee camps, continued to live in Amman and areas to the north. In 1986 UNRWA reported that 826,128 Palestinians were registered as refugees in the East Bank; of these, nearly one-fourth resided in camps. Many other refugees lived on the fringes of the economy in urban areas.

A substantial number of Palestinians had the kind of education and entrepreneurial capacity that enabled them to achieve substantial economic status. A few brought some of their wealth from Palestine. Some became large landowners or businessmen, whereas others became professionals or technicians. A number worked for the government, often in posts requiring prior training. Many Palestinians were merchants on a small or medium scale, craftsmen or skilled workers, or peasants.

Whatever the social or economic status of Palestinians in the East Bank, their sense of national identity had aroused much debate. Such identity depended on international and regional political developments with respect to the Palestine question, the interests of Palestinians themselves on the East Bank, and the balancing act of the government between East Bank Jordanians and those of Palestinian origin. One observer indicated that the regime had an interest in perpetuating the idea of a Palestinian majority so that East Bank Jordanians would continue to perceive Hussein as ensuring their interests and that of the East Bank.

An autonomous Palestinian political identity did not begin to assert itself until the mid-1960s. In the 1950s, no political organization existed around which a specifically Palestinian identity could be articulated. Pan-Arabism was a dominant mode of political expression, and the Hashimite regime strongly promoted Jordanian sovereignty over Palestinian affairs and identity. Nevertheless, and in spite of a security apparatus that kept a close watch on political affairs, Palestinian national identity emerged and grew. The loss of the West Bank in 1967 and the repressive Israeli occupation contributed to nationalist sentiments, as did the Jordanian government's repression of opposition political movements. The rise in the mid-1960s of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and its international recognition furthered this nationalist climate. The PLO offered an organizational format to Palestinian political identity separate from a Jordanian identity. The 1970-71 war between the fedayeen (Arab guerrillas) and the Jordanian government and the 1974 Rabat Summit further enhanced Palestinian nationalist sentiment.

Wide divergences in political identity and sentiment existed among the Palestinians in the East Bank. Factors influencing a person's identity included the date of arrival in the East Bank, whether the person was a refugee or lived in a camp, and the degree of the person's economic success. The merchants and professionals who came prior to 1948 generally identified closely with the East Bank. Refugees who came in 1948 but who did not reside in the camps and were government employees or successful professionals or businesspeople tended to be tacit supporters of the regime and to invest heavily in homes and businesses. More militant were the refugees who arrived in the wake of the June 1967 War, including those refugees who were not living in camps. Persons residing in the camps tended to be the most militant. They were the poorest and had the least stake in the survival of the Hashimite regime.

Socioeconomic and political events in the late 1980s converged to fuel growing frustration with East Bank political policies. The reduced flow of remittances to Jordan from expatriate workers in the oil-producing states was a source of anxiety for the regime. For refugees living in the camps and for urban squatters, the economic downturn led to greater poverty, compounded by the high unemployment rate in the East Bank.

The Palestinian uprising (intifadah) in the occupied territories caused the Hashimite regime concern. The continuation of the uprising and the occupation seemed likely to radicalize less prosperous Palestinians in the East Bank.


Jordan - Urban Areas and Urbanization


From ancient times, Middle Eastern society has been characterized by the interaction of nomads and peasants with the urban centers. The region's highest achievements in cultural, political, economic, and intellectual life took place in the vibrant cosmopolitan centers. Arab-Islamic claims to be one of the world's major civilizations rest largely on the products of city populations.

No major urban center existed in what is now Jordanian territory until the late 1940s. East Bank towns served as local markets and administrative centers rather than as centers of high culture. Truncated by external political considerations rather than by internal social or cultural realities, the East Bank consequently lacked the kind of long-established metropolis that for centuries had dominated other parts of the Middle East.

Amman, the major city of the East Bank, had ancient roots, but in the 1980s it was scarcely more than a generation old as a modern city. The Circassians were the first permanent inhabitants of Amman, settling there in 1878. In 1921 Amir Abdullah ibn Hussein Al Hashimi established his capital in Amman. It passed its first decades as a provincial trading center and garrison on the margin of the desert. In 1943 Amman had only 30,000 inhabitants. As capital of the new kingdom of Jordan, Amman grew over the next three decades into a booming, overcrowded metropolitan center. Population growth was largely a function of the influx of Palestinians since 1948. A high birth rate and internal migration, however, have also been prominent features of the urbanization process.

In 1989 Amman lacked both the old quarters characteristic of most Middle Eastern cities and an established urban population with a unified cultural outlook and an organic bond to the indigenous society of the area. Its people were a mixture of all the elements of the country. Circassians and Christians, rather than Muslim Transjordanians, set the tone before the arrival of the Palestinians, who in the late 1980s probably constituted 60 to 80 percent of its population. The smaller towns of the East Bank retained a good deal of the traditional kin- and quarter-based social organization characteristic of Middle Eastern towns.

In rapidly urbanizing areas such as Amman, the quasi-paternal relationship of the rich to the poor had begun to break down and the old egalitarian values had given way to class distinctions based on income and style of life. Increasingly evident, class polarization was fueled by remittances from those working abroad. Remittances were invested in residential property, thus driving up the cost of land and housing. New urban areas, dotted with lavish stone villas and supermarkets and boutiques supplied with expensive imported items, coexisted with overcrowded areas where a jumble of buildings housed the multitudes of the lower-middle class and the poor. Furthermore, Western culture had introduced foreign ideas among the educated that gradually estranged them from the culture of the masses. Cultural and recreational facilities, for example, were limited to the well-to-do because of the high membership fees in the clubs that provided them.


Jordan - Migration


In the late 1980s, Jordan experienced more than one form of migration. Large segments of the labor force worked abroad, and rural-urban migration continued unabated. In rural areas, substantial numbers of men were employed outside the village or were engaged in military service.

Jordan often has been referred to by economists as a laborexporting country. With the oil boom of the 1970s in the Persian Gulf countries and Saudi Arabia, substantial numbers of the welleducated and skilled labor force, from both rural and urban areas, temporarily emigrated for employment. Government figures for 1987 stated that nearly 350,000 Jordanians were working abroad, a remarkably high number for such a small domestic population. Approximately 160,900 Jordanians resided in Saudi Arabia alone. Most of the Jordanians working abroad were of Palestinian origin.

The typical Jordanian migrant was a married male between twenty and thirty-nine years of age. His education level was higher than that of the average person on the East Bank. More than 30 percent of those working abroad were university graduates, and 40 percent were in professional positions. The average stay abroad ranged from 4.5 years to 8 years and the attraction of work abroad was the higher salary. Unlike most male migrants in the Middle East, Jordanian migrants had a greater tendency to take their families with them to their place of employment.

Migration from Jordan was not a recent phenomenon. As early as the late nineteenth century, Jordanian villagers were migrating abroad. Migration abroad since the 1960s has generally been to Saudi Arabia and other oil-producing Gulf states. Although most of those migrant workers came from urban areas, more data is available on the rural migrants.

The authors of a 1985 study of the effects of migration on a village in the northwest, noted that more than 10 percent of families had at least one member working abroad and 32 percent of male heads of household were serving in the armed forces. Many others held jobs in nearby urban centers and commuted between the village and their place of employment. Of village migrants to the oil-producing states, more than half were employed in the public sector, particularly in teaching and in the military security forces. As of the late 1980s, both of these areas faced a decline in employment if the oil-producing states continued to reduce their foreign labor force.

Labor migration in the 1970s and 1980s did not necessarily indicate a migrant's alienation from the village or a weakening of his ties with fellow villagers. Nearly 75 percent of rural migrants had a relative or village friend in the place of employment abroad. In fact, migrants tended to facilitate the process for others, acting as points of contact for individuals who migrated later. Migration did not radically alter the authority of absent males in their households, whether rural or urban. Wives made many daily household decisions, but, in most cases, major decisions awaited consultation with the husband. The flow of remittances to the village was also a strong indication of the continuing ties between a migrant and his family.

Remittances were used overwhelmingly by both rural and urban migrants to pay off debts and then to invest in residential property. The many new villa-style houses built in and around Amman and Irbid and in the villages reflected the large numbers of men working abroad and the presence of "oil money." In the northwest highlands, the purchase of property and the subsequent building of housing reduced the area of cultivable land. In contrast, in the Jordan Valley remittances figured prominently in investments in agricultural technologies. Returning rural migrants resided for the most part in the village and worked in Irbid, casting doubt on projections that international labor migration would contribute significantly to further urbanization in the Amman area.

Since the 1970s, increasing numbers of villagers had migrated to Amman. Most of them had remained poor and had shallow roots in the city. A significant land shortage, lack of job opportunities in rural areas, and the availability of education and health resources in Amman had sent a steady stream of villagers toward the city, overcrowding its housing and overtaxing its resources. Urban housing for the city's poor was neither readily available nor affordable. Rural migrants, however, maintained close ties with their natal villages. On Fridays (the official day off in Jordan) and during holidays, the villages were witness to family reunions of men who worked in the cities during the week and returned home at week's end.


Jordan - FAMILY


In the late 1980s, social life and identity in Jordan centered around the family. The household was composed of people related to one another by kinship, either through descent or marriage, and family ties extended into the structure of clans and tribes. Individual loyalty and the sense of identity arising from family membership coexisted with new sources of identity and affiliation. The development of a national identity and a professional identity did not necessarily conflict with existing family affiliations. Although rapid social mobility strained kin group membership, kinship units were sometimes able to adapt to social change.

Gender and age were important determinants of social status. Although the systematic separation of women from men was not generally practiced, all groups secluded women to some extent. The character of gender-based separation varied widely among different sectors of society; it was strictest among the traditional urban middle class and most flexible among the beduins, where the exigencies of nomadic life precluded segregation. However, the worlds of men and women intersected in the home. Age greatly influenced an individual man or woman's standing in society; generally, attaining an advanced age resulted in enhanced respect and social stature.

The formation of an educated middle class that included increasing numbers of educated and working women led in the late 1980s to some strains in the traditional pattern. Men and women now interacted in public--at school and in the universities, in the workplace, on public transportation, in voluntary associations, and at social events.

Family and Household

The extended family continued to be a viable form of household in the late 1980s. More families had begun to live in nuclear households, but Jordanians continued to rely on extended kin relations for a variety of purposes, which can be described as exchanges. Exchanges might include financial support; job information; social connections; access to strategic resources; marital partners; arrangements, protection, and support in the event of conflict; child care and domestic services; and emotional sustenance. In turn, an individual's social identity and loyalty continued to be oriented largely to the family.

Formally, kinship was reckoned patrilineally, and the household usually was based on blood ties between men. There was no one form of family; and household structure changed because of births, deaths, marriages, and migration. A household could consist of a married couple, their unmarried children, and possibly other relatives such as parents, or a widowed parent or an unmarried sister. Alternatively, a household could consist of parents and their married sons, their wives, and their children. At the death of the father, each married son ideally established his own household to begin the cycle again. Although the kinship system was considered patrilineal, maternal kin also were significant.

Because the family was central to social life, all children were expected to marry at the appropriate age, and eligible divorced or widowed persons were expected to remarry. Marriage conferred adult status on both men and women. The birth of children further enhanced this status, especially for women, who then felt more secure in their marital households. Polygyny was practiced in only a minority of cases and was socially frowned upon.

Traditionally, the individual subordinated his or her personal interests to those of the family. The importance of the group outweighed that of the individual. In the late 1980s, it was still uncommon for a man to live apart from a family group unless he were a migrant worker or a student. Grown children ordinarily lived with parents or relatives until marriage. Children were expected to defer to the wishes of their parents.

Marriage was a family affair rather than a personal choice. Because the sexes ordinarily did not mix much socially, young men and women had few acquaintances among the opposite sex, although among beduins a limited courtship was permitted. Parents traditionally arranged marriages for their children, finding a mate either through the family or their social contacts. In the late 1980s, this pattern had changed substantially.

Among village and tribal populations, the preferred marriage partner was the child of the father's brother. In most areas, a man had a customary right to forbid his father's brother's daughter from marrying an outsider if he wished to exercise his right to her hand. If the ideal cousin marriage was not possible, marriage within the patrilineal kin group was the next best choice. Such endogamous marriages had several advantages for the parties: the bridewealth payments demanded of the groom's kin tended to be smaller; the family resources were conserved; the dangers of an unsuitable match were minimized; and the bride was not a stranger to her husband's house.

A University of Jordan medical department study in the late 1980s pointed to a 50 percent rate of family intermarriage: 33 percent of marriages were between first-degree relatives, 7 percent between second-degree relatives, and 10 percent were within the extended family. Nonetheless, in the 1980s, endogamous marriages had declined in frequency; previous rates of intermarriage may have been as high as 95 percent. Increasing female education and employment allowed young people more opportunities to meet and marry outside family arrangements. Also, there was growing awareness that genetic problems could arise in the offspring of endogamous marriages.

In Islam, marriage is a civil contract rather than a sacrament. Representatives of the bride's interests negotiate a marriage agreement with the groom's representatives. The future husband and wife must give their consent. Young men often suggest to their parents whom they would like to marry; women usually do not do so but have the right to refuse a marriage partner of their parents' choice. The contract establishes the terms of the union, and, if they are broken, outlines appropriate recourse. Special provisions inserted into the contract become binding on both parties.

Islam gives to the husband far greater leeway than to the wife in terms of polygyny and in matters of divorce. For example, a man may legally take up to four wives at one time provided he can treat them equally; a woman can have only one husband at a time. A man may divorce his wife by repeating "I divorce thee" three times before witnesses and registering the divorce in court; a woman can instigate divorce only under very specific circumstances. Few women seek divorce because of the difficulty of taking a case to court, the stigma attached to a divorced woman, and the possibility of a woman's losing custody of her children. In theory and as a matter of public appearance, men exercise authority over women. That authority, however, is not as absolute as once thought. Women wield considerable power within the home and decision making often is a joint affair between husband and wife.

Family Relationships

The social milieu in which a Jordanian family lived significantly affected the position of the wife and her degree of autonomy. In rural agricultural areas and among the urban poor, women fulfilled important economic functions. Traditionally, some women of poor urban families worked outside the home, and rural women performed a wide variety of tasks in the household and in the fields. Such women occupied a position of relative importance and enjoyed a modicum of freedom in their comings and goings within the village or neighborhood. Although casual social contact between the sexes of the kind common in the West was infrequent, segregation of the sexes was less pronounced than in traditional towns. Among the traditional urban bourgeoisie, women fulfilled fewer and less important economic functions. Artisan and merchant families earned their living from the skills of the men. Women's responsibilities were more confined to the home. Among the new urban middle class, women occupied a variety of positions, some of them contradictory. Some women of this class were educated and employed, and enjoyed a fair measure of mobility within society; others, also educated and skilled, lived a more sheltered life, with minimal mobility. Both groups of women frequently were seen in the streets wearing Islamic dress.

The allocation of space within the home was often genderspecific . The houses of prosperous urban and rural families traditionally contained distinct men's and women's areas: the reception room where the men of the family entertained male guests and the women's quarters from which adult males other than relatives and servants were excluded. Less wealthy urban or rural families were unable to conform as easily to the standards of segregation. They could not afford the extra room for male gatherings. In poorer rural areas, men and women often socialized together in the house.

Status within the household varied considerably depending on sex, age, and type of household. In principle, men had greater autonomy than women. Their movements in public were freer, and their personal decisions were more their own. Within the household, however, younger males were subject to the authority of senior males, their grandfathers, fathers, and uncles. Decisions about education, marriage, and work remained family affairs. Older women exerted substantial authority and control over children and adolescents, the most powerless sector within a household.

Household structure, whether nuclear or extended, also determined the extent to which women wielded power in a household. In a household with multiple married women, senior women held more power and could exert more control over younger wives. Younger women often preferred to live in a nuclear household where they had more autonomy in running the household and in child rearing. They were then more subject, however, to the direct control of the husband and had to manage the household alone without the help of other women.

Children were given much affection and attention. Although not spared spanking and occasional harsh scolding, children were indulged and given much physical affection by household members and neighbors alike. Their behavior was tolerated with amusement until close to the ages of four and five. Children then were expected to assume some responsibilities in the household. Little girls at this age began to help their mothers with household chores and to care for younger children.

Segregation by gender was tied closely to the concept of honor (ird). In most Arab communities, honor inhered in the descent group--the family and, to a varying extent, the lineage or clan. Honor could be lost through the failure of sisters, wives, and daughters to behave properly (modestly) and through the failure of men to exert self-restraint over their emotions toward women. For women, the constraints of modesty were not confined to sexual matters. Also, women could be held accountable for a loss of honor though they might not have had any obvious responsibility in the matter. Loud speech, a woman's bearing or dress, or her appearing in public places could lead to a loss of honor. For men, overt expressions of emotions (such as romantic love) that revealed vulnerability to women could cause a man's strength to be questioned, leading to a loss of honor. Men were expected to be above such matters of the heart. A wife's failure to behave properly reflected on the honor of her husband and his kin, but even more on her father and brothers and others of the group from which she came. A man's failure to conform to the norms of selfcontrol and invulnerability to women shamed his immediate and extended kin group.

Above all, honor was a matter of reputation. Perceptions were as important as actions or events. An offense against honor could be very lightly punished if it appeared that only the person's family knew of it. Harsher steps were required if persons outside the family knew of the offense or believed it to have occurred.

The penalties for violation of the honor code differed for men and women. Custom granted the males of a family the right to kill female kin known to have engaged in illicit sexual relations. A more common practice, however, was for the families involved to arrange a hasty marriage. Men who lost honor through their actions were ostracized and lost face and standing in the community.

On the one hand, the segregation of women worked to minimize the chances that a family's honor would be lost or diminished. On the other hand, the education of women and their participation in a modern work force tended to erode the traditional concept of honor by promoting the mingling of the sexes in public life.

Changing Social Relations and Values

Relations between men and women, along with all other aspects of Jordanian society, had begun to change as people adopted values, attitudes, and customs much different from those traditional in the country. As new ideas reached all sectors of society, new perceptions and practices began to appear.

Increased social and physical mobility have undermined the familial ties and the values that subordinated the individual to the kin group. A growing individualism has appeared, especially among the educated young. Many young people prefer to set up their own household at marriage rather than live with their parents. Labor migration has had a considerable impact on family structure and relations. In some cases, where men migrate without their families, their wives and children see the husband only once or twice a year when he visits. If the wife and children live alone, this arrangement leads to increased responsibility and autonomy for women. Also, the children in such families grow up without knowing their fathers well. When the wife and children live with the migrant's extended family, they are usually under the authority of her husband's family.

Some of the most marked social changes have affected women's roles. In urban areas, young women have begun to demand greater freedom and equality than in the past, although traditional practices still broadly govern their lives. Since the 1960s, women have become more active outside the home. In the 1980s, girls' school enrollment was nearly parallel to that of boys, and female graduates entered the work force in increasing numbers. Girls who attended school were not as closely chaperoned as they formerly were, although they rarely went out with friends in the evening. Educated women also tended to marry later, often after working for several years. The average age of marriage for women had risen from the mid-teens to the early twenties; the average age for males was between twenty-six and twenty-eight years. The narrowing of the gap in age between marriage partners signified a changing conception of the conjugal unit and its relation to the larger family group. Companionship and notions of romantic love were playing a greater role in marital arrangements than heretofore. Marriages were still a family affair, but the relationship between man and wife was assuming increasing significance. This change reflected a dilution in the strength of families as social units with corporate interests that subordinated those of the individual.

By the late 1980s, some observers had noted that couples tended to want fewer children. This trend appeared to parallel the changes in women's position in society and shifts in the political economy, which had implications for family structure, relations, and values. Women's education and employment patterns meant that child rearing was no longer the only role open to women. The need for dual-income households pointed to a decrease in the amount of time women could devote to child rearing. In the transition from an agricultural and pastoral society to one based on services, where literacy was a must, children required longer periods of education and thus were dependent for extended periods upon their families. Large families were no longer as economically feasible or desirable as in the past.

The spread of the nuclear household encouraged the detachment of the individual from the demands of the extended family. At the same time, social security lessened the dependence of the aged on their children and other relatives. The functions of the extended family, however, were not necessarily diminished; given economic upheavals and a weak infrastructure for state social services, Jordanians continued to rely upon the extended family, even if many of its members resided in nuclear units.

Generational conflicts, which observers believed to be increasing, strained family relations when young people attempted to adopt standards and behavior different from those of their parents. Modern, secular education, with its greater emphasis on utility and efficiency, tended to undermine respect for the wisdom of age and the rightness of tradition. Male wage earners also were less dependent on older males for access to resources such as land and bridewealth.

Women and Work

Despite a seemingly conservative milieu, the number of women working outside the home increased in the 1980s. Women formed a little over 12 percent of the labor force in 1985. Many poor and lower-class women worked out of economic necessity, but a substantial number of working women came from financially secure families. According to the Ministry of Planning, the proportion of women working in professional and technical jobs was high. In 1985 women constituted 35.4 percent of technical workers and 36.1 percent of clerical staff. Women were least represented in agriculture and production. Women's increased access to education had led them to greater aspirations to work outside the home. Moreover, inflation had made the dual-income family a necessity in many cases.

Jordanian women served as a reserve labor force and were encouraged to work during the years of labor shortages when economic expansion and development plans were high on the government's priority list. In a 1988 study of women and work in Jordan, journalist Nadia Hijab argued that cultural attitudes were not the major constraint on women's employment; rather, need and opportunity were more significant factors.

Most employed women were single. Unmarried women, in particular, were initially considered a source of untapped labor. Yet cultural constraints clearly militated against women working in agriculture, industry, and construction--areas of low prestige, but also the sections with the most critical labor shortages. Development programs for women focused on technical training. Hijab mentions that a typical project was "to train women on the maintenance and repair of household appliances."

To make work more attractive to women with children, the government discussed amending the labor laws to improve conditions. Such proposed amendments included granting more maternity leave and providing day-care facilities at the workplace. In addition, the media encouraged a more liberal attitude to women's working. Women's employment gained further legitimacy through national ceremonies sponsored by the government and the royal family honoring women's work.

The critical years of labor shortages were 1973 to 1981. By the mid-1980s, the situation had changed as unemployment surged. With high unemployment, women were asked to return to their homes. Publicly and privately, Jordanians hotly debate whether women should work. Letters to the editors of daily newspapers argued for and against women's working. Some government leaders had decided that women should return to their homes. Discussion about amending labor laws was shelved, and Hijab observed that by 1985 there was "almost an official policy" to encourage married women to stay at home. Then Prime Minister Zaid ar Rifai bluntly suggested in 1985 that working women who paid half or more of their salary to foreign maids who sent the currency abroad should stop working.

Differences in attitude towards women's employment frequently were based on the conditions of work. In a study of attitudes toward women and work, Jordanian sociologist Mohammad Barhoum found that resistance was least to women working in traditionally female occupations such as teaching, nursing, and secretarial work. He believed the change in attitude resulted from increased educational opportunities for girls and their parents' realization that education was as important for girls as for boys, especially in the event of widowhood or divorce. The erosion of male wages, no longer adequate to support a family, had also been a prominent factor in legitimizing female employment.

The impact of women's employment on relations within the family remained difficult to assess in 1989. Employment and contribution to family income accorded women a greater voice in family matters. The traditional division of labor between men and women within the family often remained relatively untouched when women worked. Women's work at home was often taken up by other women rather than shared between men and women. Women earning lower incomes relied on their extended network of female relatives to help with child care and housework, while upper and middle income women hired maids (usually foreigners from the Philippines, Sri Lanka, or Egypt) to tend to their homes and children.




More than 90 percent of Jordanians adhered to Sunni Islam in the late 1980s. Although observance was not always orthodox, devotion to and identification with the faith was high. Islam was the established religion, and as such its institutions received government support. The 1952 Constitution stipulates that the king and his successors must be Muslims and sons of Muslim parents. Religious minorities included Christians of various denominations, a few Shia Muslims, and even fewer adherents of other faiths.

Early Development of Islam

In A.D. 610, Muhammad, a merchant belonging to the Hashimite branch of the ruling Quraysh tribe in the Arabian town of Mecca, began to preach the first of a series of revelations granted him by God through the angel Gabriel and to denounce the polytheism of his fellow Meccans. Because the town's economy was based in part on a thriving pilgrimage business to the Kaaba, the sacred structure around a black meteorite, and the numerous pagan shrines located there, Muhammad's vigorous and continuing censure eventually earned him the bitter enmity of the town's leaders. In 622 he was invited to the town of Yathrib, which came to be known as Medina (the city) because it was the center of his activities. The move, or hijra (known in the West as the hegira), marks the beginning of the Islamic era. The Muslim calendar, based on the lunar year, begins in 622. In Medina, Muhammad--by this time known as the Prophet-- continued to preach, eventually defeated his detractors in battle, and consolidated both the temporal and spiritual leadership of all Arabia in his person before his death in 632.

After Muhammad's death, his followers compiled those of his words regarded as coming directly from God into the Quran, the holy scripture of Islam. Others of his sayings and teachings as recalled by those who had known Muhammad (a group known as the Companions) became the hadith. The precedent of his personal behavior was set forth in the sunna. Together the Quran, the hadith, and the sunna form a comprehensive guide to the spiritual, ethical, and social life of an orthodox Sunni Muslim.

During his lifetime, Muhammad was both spiritual and temporal leader of the Muslim community; he established Islam as a total and all-encompassing way of life for human beings and society. Muslims believe that Allah revealed to Muhammad the rules governing proper behavior and that it therefore behooves them to live in the manner prescribed by the law, and it is incumbent upon the community to strive to perfect human society according to holy injunctions. Islam traditionally recognizes no distinction between religion and state, and no distinction between religious and secular life or religious and secular law. A comprehensive system of religious law (sharia) developed gradually during the first four centuries of Islam, primarily through the accretion of precedent and interpretation by various judges and scholars. During the tenth century, however, legal opinion began to harden into authoritative doctrine, and the figurative bab al ijtihad (gate of interpretation) gradually closed, thenceforth eventually excluding flexibility in Islamic law. Within the Jordanian legal system, sharia remains in effect in matters concerning personal status.

After Muhammad's death, the leaders of the Muslim community consensually chose Abu Bakr, the Prophet's father-in-law and one of his earliest followers, as caliph, or successor. At that time, some persons favored Ali, the Prophet's cousin and husband of his daughter Fatima, but Ali and his supporters (the so-called Shiat Ali or Party of Ali) eventually recognized the community's choice. The next two caliphs--Umar, who succeeded in 634, and Uthman, who took power in 644--enjoyed recognition of the entire community. When Ali finally succeeded to the caliphate in 656, Muawiyah, governor of Syria, rebelled in the name of his murdered kinsman Uthman. After the ensuing civil war, Ali moved his capital to Mesopotamia, where a short time later he, too, was murdered.

Ali's death ended the period in which the entire community of Islam recognized a single caliph. Upon Ali's death, Muawiyah proclaimed himself caliph from Damascus. The Shiat Ali, however, refused to recognize Muawiyah or his line, the Umayyad caliphs; in support of claims by Ali's line to a presumptive right to the caliphate based on descent from the Prophet, they withdrew and established a dissident sect known as the Shia.

Originally political in nature, the differences between the Sunni and Shia interpretations rapidly took on theological and metaphysical overtones. Ali's two sons, Hasan and Husayn, became martyred heroes to the Shias and repositories of the claims of Ali's line to mystical preeminence among Muslims. The Sunnis retained the doctrine of the selection of leaders by consensus, although Arabs and members of the Quraysh, Muhammad's tribe, predominated in the early years. Reputed descent from the Prophet, which King Hussein claims, continued to carry social and religious prestige throughout the Muslim world in the 1980s. Meanwhile, the Shia doctrine of rule by divine right became more and more firmly established, and disagreements over which of several pretenders had a truer claim to the mystical powers of Ali precipitated further schisms. Some Shia groups developed doctrines of divine leadership far removed from the strict monotheism of early Islam, including beliefs in hidden but divinely chosen leaders with spiritual powers that equaled or surpassed those of the Prophet himself.

The early Islamic polity was intensely expansionist, fueled both by fervor for the new religion and by economic and social factors. Conquering armies and migrating tribes swept out of Arabia, spreading Islam. By the end of Islam's first century, Islamic armies had reached far into North Africa and eastward and northward into Asia. The territory of modern Jordan, among the first to come under the sway of Islam, was penetrated by Muslim armies by A.D. 633.

Although Muhammad had enjoined the Muslim community to convert the infidel, he had also recognized the special status of the "people of the book," Jews and Christians, whose own revealed scriptures he considered revelations of God's word and which contributed in some measure to Islam. Jews and Christians in Muslim territories could live according to their own religious law, in their own communities, and were exempted from military service if they accepted the position of dhimmis, or tolerated subject peoples. This status entailed recognition of Muslim authority, additional taxes, prohibition on proselytism among Muslims, and certain restrictions on political rights.

Social life in the Ottoman Empire, which included Jordan for 400 years, revolved around a system of millets, or religious communities. Each organized religious minority lived according to its own personal status laws under the leadership of recognized religious authorities and community leaders. These recognized leaders also represented the community to the rest of society and the polity. This form of organization preserved and nourished cultural differences that, quite apart from theological considerations, distinguished these communities.

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Jordan - Tenets of Sunni Islam


The shahada (testimony) succinctly states the central belief of Islam: "There is no god but God (Allah), and Muhammad is his Prophet." This simple profession of faith is repeated on many ritual occasions, and recital in full and unquestioning sincerity designates one a Muslim. The God preached by Muhammad was not a new deity; Allah is the Arabic term for God rather than a particular name. Muhammad denied the existence of the many minor gods and spirits worshiped before his prophecy, and he declared the omnipotence of the unique creator, God. Islam means submission to God, and one who submits is a Muslim. Being a Muslim also involves a commitment to realize the will of God on earth and to obey God's law.

Muhammad is the "seal of the Prophets"; his revelation is said to complete for all time the series of biblical revelations received by Jews and Christians. Muslims believe God to have remained one and the same throughout time, but that men strayed from his true teaching until set right by Muhammad. Prophets and sages of the biblical tradition, such as Abraham (Ibrahim), Moses (Musa), and Jesus (Isa), are recognized as inspired vehicles of God's will. Islam, however, reveres as sacred only the message, rejecting Christianity's deification of the messenger. It accepts the concepts of guardian angels, the Day of Judgment, general resurrection, heaven and hell, and eternal life of the soul.

The duties of the Muslim--corporate acts of worship--form the five pillars of Islamic faith. These are shahada, affirmation of the faith; salat, daily prayer; zakat, almsgiving; sawm, fasting during the month of Ramadan; and hajj, pilgrimage to Mecca. These acts of worship must be performed with a conscious intent and not out of habit. Shahada is uttered daily by practicing Muslims, affirming their membership in the faith and expressing an acceptance of the monotheism of Islam and the divinity of Muhammad's message.

The believer is to pray in a prescribed manner after purification through ritual ablutions at dawn, midday, midafternoon, sunset, and nightfall. Prescribed genuflections and prostrations accompany the prayers, which the worshiper recites facing toward Mecca. Prayers imbue daily life with worship, and structure the day around an Islamic conception of time. Whenever possible, men pray in congregation at the mosque under a prayer leader and on Fridays they are obliged to do so. Women also may attend public worship at the mosque, where they are segregated from the men, although most frequently women pray at home. A special functionary, the muezzin, intones a call to prayer to the entire community at the appropriate hours; those out of earshot determine the proper time from the position of the sun.

In the early days of Islam, the authorities imposed a tax on personal property proportionate to one's wealth; this was distributed to the mosques and to the needy. In addition, free-will gifts were made. While still a duty of the believer, almsgiving in the twentieth century has become a more private matter. Properties contributed by pious individuals to support religious activities are usually administered as religious foundations, or waqfs.

The ninth month of the Muslim calendar is Ramadan, a period of obligatory fasting that commemorates Muhammad's receipt of God's revelation, the Quran. Fasting is an act of self-discipline that leads to piety and expresses submission and commitment to God. Fasting underscores the equality of all Muslims, strengthening sentiments of community. During this month all but the sick, weak, pregnant or nursing women, soldiers on duty, travelers on necessary journeys, and young children are enjoined from eating, drinking, smoking, or sexual intercourse during the daylight hours. Official work hours often are shortened during this period, and some businesses close for all or part of the day. Since the months of the lunar calendar revolve through the solar years, Ramadan falls at various seasons in different years. A fast in summertime imposes considerable hardship on those who must do physical work. Each day's fast ends with a signal that light is insufficient to distinguish a black thread from a white one. Id al Fitr, a threeday feast and holiday, ends the month of Ramadan and is the occasion of much visiting.

Finally, Muslims at least once in their lifetime should, if possible, make the hajj to the holy city of Mecca to participate in special rites held during the twelfth month of the lunar calendar. The Prophet instituted this requirement, modifying pre-Islamic custom to emphasize sites associated with Allah and Abraham, father of the Arabs through his son Ishmael (Ismail). The pilgrim, dressed in a white, seamless garment (ihram), abstains from sexual relations, shaving, haircutting, and nail paring. Highlights of the pilgrimage include kissing the sacred black stone; circumambulation of the Kaaba, the sacred structure reputedly built by Abraham that houses the stone; running seven times between the mountains Safa and Marwa in imitation of Hagar, Ishmael's mother, during her travail in the desert; and standing in prayer on Mount Arafat. These rites affirm the Muslim's obedience to God and express intent to renounce the past and begin a new righteous life in the path of God. The returning male pilgrim is entitled to the honorific "hajj" before his name and a woman the honorific "hajji." Id al Adha marks the end of the hajj month.

The permanent struggle for the triumph of the word of God on earth, jihad, represents an additional general duty of all Muslims. This concept is often taken to mean holy war, but most Muslims see it in a broader context of civil and personal action. Besides regulating relations between the human being and God, Islam regulates the relations of one human being to another. Aside from specific duties, Islam imposes a code of ethical conduct encouraging generosity, fairness, honesty, and respect and explicitly propounds guidance as to what constitutes proper family relations. In addition, it forbids adultery, gambling, usury, and the consumption of carrion, blood, pork, and alcohol.

A Muslim stands in a personal relationship to God; there is neither intermediary nor clergy in orthodox Islam. Those men who lead prayers, preach sermons, and interpret the law do so by virtue of their superior knowledge and scholarship rather than because of any special powers or prerogatives conferred by ordination. Any adult male versed in prayer form is entitled to lead prayers--a role referred to as imam.


Jordan - Islam in Social Life


Despite a strong identification with and loyalty to Islam, religious practices varied among segments of Jordan's population. This unevenness in practice did not necessarily correlate with a rural-urban division or differing levels of education. The religious observance of some Jordanians was marked by beliefs and practices that were sometimes antithetical to the teachings of Islam. Authorities attributed at least some of these elements to pre-Islamic beliefs and customs common to the area.

In daily life, neither rural dwellers nor urbanites were overly fatalistic. They did not directly hold God responsible for all occurrences; rather, they placed events in a religious context that imbued them with meaning. The expression inshallah (God willing) often accompanied statements of intention, and the term bismallah (in the name of God) accompanied the performance of most important actions. Such pronouncements did not indicate a ceding of control over one's life or events. Jordanian Muslims generally believed that in matters that they could control, God expected them to work diligently.

Muslims have other ways of invoking God's presence in daily life. Despite Islam's unequivocal teaching that God is one and that no being resembles him in sanctity, some people accepted the notion that certain persons (saints) have baraka, a special quality of personal holiness and affinity to God. The intercession of these beings was believed to help in all manner of trouble, and shrines to such people could be found in some localities. Devotees often visited the shrine of their patron, especially seeking relief from illness or inability to have children.

Numerous spiritual creatures were believed to inhabit the world. Evil spirits known as jinn--fiery, intelligent beings that are capable of appearing in human and other forms--could cause all sorts of malicious mischief. For protection, villagers carried in their clothing bits of paper inscribed with Quranic verses (amulets), and they frequently pronounced the name of God. A copy of the Quran was said to keep a house safe from jinn. The "evil eye" also could be foiled by the same means. Although any literate Muslim was able to prepare amulets, some persons gained reputations as being particularly skilled in prescribing and preparing them. To underscore the difficulty in drawing a fine distinction between orthodox and popular Islam, one only need note that some religious shaykhs were sought for their ability to prepare successful amulets. For example, in the 1980s in a village in northern Jordan, two elderly shaykhs (who also were brothers) were famous for their abilities in specific areas: one was skilled in warding off illness among children; the other was sought for his skills in curing infertility.

Their reverence for Islam notwithstanding, Muslims did not always practice strict adherence to the five pillars. Although most people tried to give the impression that they fulfilled their religious duties, many people did not fast during Ramadan. They generally avoided breaking the fast in public, however. In addition, most people did not contribute the required proportion of alms to support religious institutions, nor was pilgrimage to Mecca common. Attendance at public prayers and prayer in general increased during the 1980s as part of a regional concern with strengthening Islamic values and beliefs.

Traditionally, social segregation of the sexes prevented women from participating in much of the formal religious life of the community. The 1980s brought several changes in women's religious practices. Younger women, particularly university students, were seen more often praying in the mosques and could be said to have carved a place for themselves in the public domain of Islam.

Although some women in the late 1980s resorted to unorthodox practices and beliefs, women generally were considered more religiously observant than men. They fasted more than men and prayed more regularly in the home. Education, particularly of women, diminished the folk-religious component of belief and practice, and probably enhanced observance of the more orthodox aspects of Islam.


Jordan - Islamic Revival


The 1980s witnessed a stronger and more visible adherence to Islamic customs and beliefs among significant segments of the population. The increased interest in incorporating Islam more fully into daily life was expressed in a variety of ways. Women wearing conservative Islamic dress and the head scarf were seen with greater frequency in the streets of urban as well as rural areas; men with beards also were more often seen. Attendance at Friday prayers rose, as did the number of people observing Ramadan. Ramadan also was observed in a much stricter fashion; all public eating establishments were closed and no alcohol was sold or served. Police responded quickly to infractions of the rules of Ramadan. Those caught smoking, eating, or drinking in public were reprimanded and often arrested for a brief period.

Women in the 1980s, particularly university students, were actively involved in expressions of Islamic revival. Women wearing Islamic garb were a common sight at the country's universities. For example, the mosque at Yarmuk University had a large women's section. The section was usually full, and women there formed groups to study Islam. By and large, women and girls who adopted Islamic dress apparently did so of their own volition, although it was not unusual for men to insist that their sisters, wives, and daughters cover their hair in public.

The adoption of the Islamic form of dress did not signify a return to segregation of the sexes or female seclusion. Indeed, women who adopted Islamic clothing often were working women and students who interacted daily with men. They cited a lag in cultural attitudes as part of the reason for donning such dress. In other words, when dressed in Islamic garb they felt that they received more respect from and were taken more seriously by their fellow students and colleagues. Women also could move more readily in public if they were modestly attired. Increased religious observance also accounted for women's new style of dress. In the 1980s, Islamic dress did not indicate social status, particularly wealth, as it had in the past; Islamic dress was being worn by women of all classes, especially the lower and middle classes.

Several factors gave rise to increased adherence to Islamic practices. During the 1970s and 1980s, the Middle East region saw a rise of Islamic fundamentalism in response to economic recession and to the failure of nationalist politics to solve regional problems. In this context, Islam was an idiom for expressing social discontent. In Jordan, opposition politics had long been forbidden, and since the 1950s the Muslim Brotherhood had been the only legal political party. These factors were exacerbated by King Hussein's public support for the shah of Iran in his confrontation with Ayatollah Sayyid Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini and the forces of opposition, by continued relations with Egypt in the wake of the 1979 Treaty of Peace Between Egypt and Israel, and by the king's support for Iraq in the Iran-Iraq War.

Although Islamic opposition politics never became as widespread in Jordan as in Iran and Egypt, they were pervasive enough for the regime to act swiftly to bring them under its aegis. By the close of the 1970s and throughout the 1980s, government-controlled television regularly showed the king and his brother Hasan attending Friday prayers. The media granted more time to religious programs and broadcasts. Aware that the Islamic movement might become a vehicle for expressing opposition to the regime and its policies, and in a move to repair relations with Syria, in the mid1980s the government began to promote a moderate form of Islam, denouncing fanatical and intolerant forms.


Jordan - Religious Minorities


Jordan's Constitution guarantees freedom of religious beliefs. Christians formed the largest non-Muslim minority. Observers estimated in the late 1970s that the Christian community-- comprising groups of several denominations--constituted roughly 5 to 8 percent of the population. The principal points of concentration of the East Bank's indigenous Christians were a number of small towns in the "sown," such as Al Karak, Madaba, As Salt, and Ajlun. Christians also lived in Amman and other major cities.

Overwhelmingly Arabic in language and culture, many Christians belonged to churches whose liturgical languages were, until recently, other than Arabic. With some exceptions, the lower clergy were Arabs, but the higher clergy were rarely so. In the past, Christians were disproportionately represented among the educated and prosperous. With increased access to education for all of the East Bank's peoples, it is the disproportion was less significant in the 1980s.

As of 1989, religious conflict had not been a problem in Jordan. The influence of Islamic fundamentalism that made itself felt in Jordan in the late 1970s and 1980s had not given rise to religious tensions. As a minority in a largely Muslim society, however, Christians were affected by Islamic practices. With the stricter observance of Ramadan in the 1980s, hotels and restaurants were prohibited by the government from serving liquor to local Christians or foreigners. Restaurants that formerly had remained open during the day to serve such persons were closed. The press and television also gave a greater emphasis to religion.

The largest of the Christian sects in the late 1980s, accounting for roughly half of all Jordanian Christians, was that part of the Eastern Orthodox complex of churches that falls under the patriarch of Jerusalem. With an elaborately organized clerical hierarchy, the patriarchate administered most of the Christian shrines in Jerusalem and the West Bank. The parent church of Eastern Orthodoxy was the Greek Orthodox Church, and the liturgical language of the church in the patriarchate of Jerusalem included both Greek and Arabic. The higher clergy, including the patriarch, were predominantly of Greek descent, but the priests were native speakers of Arabic. Because of the typically national organization of orthodox churches, the relatively small numbers of Syrians and Armenians adhering to orthodoxy had their own churches.

The Greek Catholic Church (Melchite, also seen as Melkite; Catholics of the Byzantine rite) in Jordan was headed by the patriarch of Antioch, Jerusalem, and Alexandria, who in turn was subject to the authority of the pope in Rome. The clergy generally were Arabs, and Arabic was used in most of the liturgy. Most Greek Catholics lived in the West Bank, but one diocese--that of PetraPhiladelphia , the latter an old Greek name for Amman--had its seat in Amman.

The Roman Catholic Church had its own patriarch, who was also subject to papal authority. Several other Catholic groups, each headed by a patriarch who was in turn subordinate to Rome, were represented. These included several hundred Syrian Catholics and Armenian Catholics.

The approximately 11,000 members of various Protestant denominations had been converted primarily from the Orthodox and Catholic churches. Muslims rarely converted to another faith. In the rural areas, conversions from one Christian group to another usually involved an entire kin-based group of some size. Such conversions often caused stress between the converting group and another group of which it was part or with which it was allied. Individual conversions in such areas were rare. The effect of urbanization on this pattern has not been examined.

Protestant communities, generally established by North American and European missionary activities, also were represented by the personnel of various international organizations. Some Protestant groups established schools and hospitals and constructed a few churches. The Christian churches also had their own ecclesiastical courts that decided matters of alimony, divorce, annulment, and inheritance.

Non-Christian religious minorities in the late 1980s included a small community of Druzes who lived in an area near the Syrian border. They were members of a sect that originally had derived from the Ismaili branch of Shia Islam. Ismailis were Shias who believed that Imam Muhammad ibn Ismail (died ca. A.D. 765), the Seventh Imam, was the last Imam, as opposed to others who recognized Twelve Imams. The Druzes, primarily located in the mountains of Lebanon and in southwestern Syria, have many secret beliefs and maintain that Hakim, the sixth Fatimid caliph, was divine in nature and is still alive in hiding. A small settlement of Bahais inhabited the village of Al Adasiyah in the northern Jordan Valley. The Shishans, a group whose origins lie in the Caucasus Mountains, were Shias. Estimates in the early 1980s placed the number of Shishans at 2,000.




The government's good intentions in the area of education contended with straitened financial circumstances, a rapidly changing labor force, and the demographic problem of a youthful population (53 percent of the population was below the age of fifteen in 1988). Nevertheless, significant progress had been made in various spheres. Education has been a stated priority of the government for a number of years. In 1986 government expenditures on education were 12.2 percent of the national budget. Education has become widely available, although some observers have questioned both the quality of the instruction and the appropriateness of the curriculum to the economy's requirements. Recognizing the need to supply training more suited to realistic employment prospects and to improve the level of teacher training, the government was continuing to strengthen vocational and technical education and to provide in-service training for its teachers.

In 1921, when the Amirate of Transjordan was created, educational facilities consisted of twenty-five religious schools that provided a rather limited education. By 1987 there were 3,366 schools, with more than 39,600 teachers and an enrollment of 919,645 students. Nearly one-third of the population in 1987 was involved in education as a teacher or a student at home or abroad. In 1985 nearly 99 percent of the nation's six-to-twelve years-olds were in the primary cycle, nearly 79 percent of the twelve-to-fifteen-year-olds were in the preparatory cycle, and 37 percent of the fifteen-to-eighteen-year-olds were in the secondary cycle. Progress in literacy was impressive. The Encyclopedia of the Third World, edited by George T. Kurian, reported that in the mid-1980s Jordan had a 67.6 percent literacy rate, 81 percent for males and 59.3 percent for females. The gap between rural and urban areas in terms of literacy was closing, but rural levels remained below those of the urban areas; Maan Governorate lagged behind other rural areas.

Education was free and compulsory for children between the ages of six and fifteen. The educational ladder consisted of four parts: primary (grades one through six); preparatory (grades seven through nine); secondary (grades ten through twelve); and postsecondary (all higher education). Promotion from the compulsory cycle to the more specialized secondary schools was controlled by a standardized written examination, as was passage from secondary to the postsecondary programs. The Ministry of Education, which controlled all aspects of education (except community colleges), administered the examinations. For grades one through twelve, nearly 75 percent of the students attended the free government schools in the late 1980s; about 15 percent attended the UNRWA schools, also free; and about 10 percent attended private schools. In 1987 the Department of Statistics reported that there were 194 UNRWA schools and 682 private schools.

The primary curriculum stressed basic literacy skills. Subjects taught included reading and writing in Arabic; religion (Islam for Muslims and the appropriate religion for non-Muslims); arithmetic; civics and history, with emphasis on the history of the Arabs and the concept of the Arab nation; geography, with emphasis on the Arab countries; science; music; physical education; and drawing for male students and embroidery for females. In the fifth grade, English was added to the official curriculum (although many private schools taught it earlier) and some schools offered French. Within the primary cycle, promotion from grade to grade was required by law and was essentially automatic. Children could be held back only twice in six years, after which they proceeded to higher grades regardless of the quality of their work.

In the preparatory cycle, work on academic subjects continued, both to improve the skills of terminal students and to prepare those going on to secondary studies. In addition, vocational education began on a limited basis. Each school was required to provide at least one course in a vocational subject for each grade. In general, each school offered only one vocational option, and all students had to take that subject for three periods a week for three years. The preparatory curriculum added geometry, algebra, and social studies to the academic courses offered in the primary grades.

On completion of the ninth grade, students could sit for the public preparatory examination for promotion to the secondary level. Secondary education was somewhat selective in enrollment and quite specialized in purpose. This level had both academic (general) and vocational divisions; the former was designed to prepare students for university-level studies and the latter to train middle-level technical personnel for the work force. Within the academic curriculum, students further specialized in scientific or literary studies. Because of the specialized nature and relatively limited number of secondary facilities, male and female students did not necessarily attend separate schools. The secondary program culminated in the public secondary education examination, which qualified students for postsecondary study.

In 1987 around 69,000 students were enrolled in higher education. Nearly half of these were women. Jordan had four universities with a combined enrollment of nearly 29,000; more than one-third of the students were women (11,000). The University of Jordan in Amman had a 1986-87 enrollment of nearly 13,000 students; Yarmuk University in Irbid had nearly 12,000 students; Jordan University of Science and Technology in Ar Ramtha had nearly 3,000 students; and Mutah University near Al Karak had an enrollment of about 1,300.

In the 1980s, Jordan strove to implement an education system that would address serious structural problems in its labor force. The country faced high rates of unemployment among educated young people, particularly in the professions of medicine, engineering, and teaching, and also had a need for skilled technical labor. In the 1970s and 1980s, the government began to expand its vocational and technical training programs to counteract the skilled labor shortage brought about by the large-scale migration of workers to high-paying jobs in the oil-producing countries of the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia. In spite of the recession and high unemployment among professionals, skilled technical labor remained in short supply in the late 1980s. Cultural factors also played a prominent role; great prestige attached to academic higher education as opposed to vocational training.

In response to the need for education reform, the king called for a reorientation of education policy to meet the needs of the country and the people. Community colleges played an essential role in this reorientation. They were consonant with the cultural value placed on higher education and also helped provide a skilled technical labor force. In the early 1980s, the government's teacher training institutes and all other private and public training institutes were transformed into community colleges. These education institutions offered a variety of vocational, technical, and teacher training programs and granted associates degrees based on two years of study. Upon graduation students were eligible to apply for transfer to the university system if they wished. In the late 1980s, more than fifty-three community colleges operated under the Ministry of Higher Education, which was created in 1985 to regulate the operations of all community colleges, although individual colleges were administered by a variety of agencies. Scattered throughout the country, the community colleges had an enrollment of about 31,000 students, slightly more than half of all students in higher education. More than half their students, about 17,000, were women.

Nearly 100 areas of specialization were offered in nine categories of professional study: education, commerce, computers, communications and transportation, engineering, paramedical technologies, agriculture, hotel management, and social service professions. According to observers, graduates were able to find employment in industry, business, and government. The government sought to confront the issue of unemployment among university graduates by encouraging more students to join community colleges. In 1987 the government introduced a career guidance program in the secondary schools that explained the country's problems with unemployment.

Most Jordanian students in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union were studying medicine and engineering. Some observers have suggested that many of the students in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union were Palestinians whose education costs were being borne by the host government. Observers believed that most of the students in Western Europe and the United States were being financed by their families and the rest by the government of Jordan. Perhaps because of these connections, students from West European and American schools tended to obtain the more desirable and prestigious positions on their return home. The perceived higher quality of education in the West also was a factor in making these graduates more competitive in the job market.




Factors affecting the standard of living for the average citizen were difficult to assess in early 1989. Information was scanty. Living conditions varied considerably according to region, kind of settlement, social position, and fortune of war. At the high end of the spectrum, well-to-do city dwellers appeared to enjoy all the amenities of modern life. In cities, basic public services such as water, sewage, and electricity were sufficient to meet the needs of most residents. Nevertheless, mounting pressure on these services, particularly the demand for water, rose steeply during the 1980s and was bound to increase as the urban population continued its high rate of growth. World Health Organization (WHO) figures indicated that, in the mid-1980s, the urban population had a 100-percent rate of access to safe water within the home or within 15 minutes walking distance; in rural areas the figure was 95 percent. Adequate sanitary facilities were available to 100 percent of the urban population and to 95 percent of the rural population. The rural poor, however, generally lived in substandard conditions. Homes in some villages still lacked piped water. At the bottom were the poorest of the refugees, many living in camps with minimal services. Open sewage ran through dusty, unpaved streets. During the late 1970s and the 1980s, electricity was gradually extended to nearly all rural areas.

Diet was generally adequate to support life and activity. Average daily caloric intake for adults in the 1980s was 2,968 (117 percent of the requirement), and protein intake was 52.5 grams, 115 percent of the daily requirement. Nonetheless, nutritional deficiencies of various kinds reportedly were common.

The number of health care personnel increased so that by the mid-1980s Jordan had a surplus of physicians. The "brain-drain," or emigration from Jordan of skilled professionals, apparently peaked in 1983, after which the number of physicians started a gradual climb. According to the WHO, in 1983 Jordan had 2,662 physicians. In 1987 the Jordan Medical Association reported a figure of 3,703, of whom 300 were unemployed. In the early 1980s, the medical college of the University of Jordan started to graduate students, further increasing the numbers. Fewer opportunities for physicians became available in the Gulf states and Saudi Arabia because of the recession in these countries.

In 1987 the Ministry of Health and the Jordan Medical Association, concerned about high unemployment among physicians, put forth various suggestions. These included opening more clinics in rural areas and assigning physicians to schools, colleges, and large industrial concerns.

Other health care professions showed moderate increases; the number of government-employed dentists, for example, increased from 75 to 110. Pharmacists, a profession increasingly entered by women, nearly tripled in number from thirty-eight in 1983 to ninety-six in 1987. Government-employed nurses increased from 292 to 434 over the same period.

In the early 1980s, Jordan had thirty-five hospitals, of which about 40 percent were state run. A number of other health facilities scattered throughout the country included health centers, village clinics, maternal and child care centers, tuberculosis centers, and school health services. In 1986 government health expenditures represented 3.8 percent of the national budget.

Medical care services were distributed more evenly than in the past. Previously most health professionals, hospitals, and technologically advanced medical equipment were located in major urban areas, such as Amman, Irbid, Ar Ramtha, Az Zarqa, and As Salt. People in smaller villages and remote rural areas had limited access to professional medical care. With the focus on primary health care in the 1980s, the WHO commented that treatment for common diseases was available within an hour's walk or travel for about 80 percent of the population. The expense and inconvenience of traveling to major urban areas did, however, hinder rural people from seeking more technologically sophisticated medical care.

The WHO reported a general decrease in the incidence of diseases related to inadequate sanitary and hygienic conditions. A reduction in the incidence of meningitis, scarlet fever, typhoid, and paratyphoid was noted, while an increase was registered in infectious hepatitis, rubella, mumps, measles, and schistosomiasis. In the mid-1980s, only one reported case of polio and none of diphtheria occurred. Childhood immunizations had increased sharply, but remained inadequate. In 1984 an estimated 44 percent of children were fully immunized against diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus (DPT); 41 percent had received polio vaccine; and 30 percent had been vaccinated against measles. Cholera had been absent since 1981. Jordan reported its first three cases of acquired immuno-deficiency syndrome (AIDS) to the WHO in 1987.

The most frequently cited causes of morbidity in government hospitals, in descending frequency, were gastroenteritis, accidents, respiratory diseases, complications of birth and the puerperium, and urogenital and cardiovascular diseases. Among hospitalized patients, the most frequent causes of mortality were heart diseases, tumors, accidents, and gastrointestinal and respiratory diseases.

Traditional health beliefs and practices were prevalent in urban and rural areas alike. These practices were the domain of women, some of whom were known in their communities for possessing skills in treating injuries and curing ailments. Within the family, women assumed responsibility for the nutrition of the family and the treatment of illness.

Local health beliefs and practices were important not only for their implications in a family's general state of health but also in determining when, and if, people would seek modern medical care. Local beliefs in the efficacy of healers and their treatments prevented or delayed the seeking of medical care. For example, healers often treated illness in children by massages with warm olive oil, a harmless procedure but one that often delayed or prevented the seeking of medical care.

Modern medicine had made tremendous inroads, however, into popular knowledge and courses of action. People combined traditional and modern medical approaches. They sought modern medical facilities and treatments while simultaneously having recourse to traditional health practitioners and religious beliefs. Infertility, for example, was often dealt with by seeking the advice of a physician and also visiting a shaykh for an amulet. In addition, traditional cures such as "closing the back" were used. In this cure, a woman healer rubbed a woman's pelvis with olive oil and placed suction cups on her back. This acted to "close the back"; an "opened back" was believed to be a cause of infertility.

The acceptance of modern health practices and child care techniques was closely related to household structure. A study by two anthropologists noted that younger, educated women encountered difficulties in practicing modern techniques of child health care when they resided in extended family households with older women present. The authority in the household of older women often accorded them a greater voice than the mother in setting patterns of child care and nutrition and in making decisions on health expenditures.

Discrimination on the basis of gender in terms of nutrition and access to health care resources was documented. In a study conducted in the mid-1980s, the infant mortality rate for girls was found to be significantly higher than for boys. It was also noted that male children received more immunizations and were taken to see physicians more frequently and at an earlier stage of illness than girls. Girls were more apt to die of diarrhea and dehydration than males. Malnutrition also was more common among female children; boys were given larger quantities and better quality food. In addition, more boys (71 percent) were breast-fed than girls (54 percent).

In the 1980s, government efforts to improve health were often directed at women. In the summer, when outbreaks of diarrhea among infants and children were common, commercial breaks on television included short health spots. These programs advised mothers how to feed and care for children with diarrhea and advertised the advantages of oral rehydration therapy (ORT) to prevent and treat the accompanying dehydration. The WHO noted that the use of ORT helped lower the fatality rate among those children hospitalized for diarrhea from 20 percent in 1977 to 5 percent in 1983.

During the 1980s, the Ministry of Health launched an antismoking campaign. Posters warning of the dangers to health could be seen in physicians' offices and in government offices and buildings. Success was slow and gradual; for example, cigarettes were less frequently offered as part of the tradition of hospitality.

Social welfare, especially care of the elderly and financial or other support of the sick, traditionally was provided by the extended family. Nursing homes for the elderly were virtually unknown and were considered an aberration from family and social values and evidence of lack of respect for the elderly. Social welfare in the form of family assistance and rehabilitation facilities for the handicapped were a service of the Department of Social Affairs and more than 400 charitable organizations. Some of these were religiously affiliated, and the overwhelmingly majority provided multiple services. UNRWA provided an array of social services, such as education, medical care, vocational training and literacy classes, and nutrition centers to registered refugees.

Government expenditures on social security, housing, and welfare amounted to 8.6 percent of the budget in 1986. Social security was governed by the Social Security Law of 1978, which was being applied in stages to the private sector. As of 1986, all establishments employing ten persons or more came under the law's provisions. Ultimately the law will apply to all establishments employing five or more persons. The employer contributed 10 percent of salary and the employee contributed 5 percent, and the contribution covered retirement benefits, termination pay, occupational diseases, and work injuries. The plan was for medical insurance to be included eventually under the social security contribution. In April 1988, the Social Security Corporation covered 465,000 workers employed by approximately 7,000 public and private establishments.


Jordan - The Economy


JORDAN, A SMALL NATION with a small population and sparse natural resources, has long been known by its Arab neighbors as their "poor cousin." In the late 1980s, Jordan was compelled to import not only many capital and consumer goods but also such vital commodities as fuel and food. Officials even discussed the possibility of importing water. Nevertheless, the Jordanian economy flourished in the 1970s as the gross domestic product (GDP) enjoyed double-digit growth. The economy continued to fare well in the early 1980s, despite a recessionary regional environment. Indeed, by the late 1980s, Jordanians had become measurably more affluent than many of their Arab neighbors. The 1988 per capita GDP of approximately US$2,000 placed Jordan's citizens well within the world's upper-middle income bracket.

Economic prosperity rested on three primary bases. Jordan's status as the world's third largest producer of phosphates ensured a steady--if relatively modest--flow of export income that offset some of its high import bills. More important, Jordan received billions of dollars of invisible or unearned income in the form of inflows of foreign aid and remittances from expatriates. These financial inflows permitted domestic consumption to outpace production and caused the gross national product (GNP) to exceed the GDP. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, GNP exceeded GDP by 10 percent to 25 percent. High financial inflows from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s allowed Jordan to maintain a low current account deficit; in some years it registered a current account surplus, without much external borrowing and despite trade and budget deficits. Jordan's economy, therefore, demonstrated many of the characteristics of wealthier and more technologically advanced rentier economies. Jordan also capitalized on its strategic geographic location, its educated work force, and its free enterprise economy to become a regional entrepôt and transit point for exports and imports between Western Europe and the Middle East. Because of these factors, it also became a magnet for foreign direct investment, and a purveyor of banking, insurance, and consulting services to foreign clients. Jordan's heritage as a merchant middleman was centuries-old, dating back to the Nabatean kingdom of Petra. Because the economy depended so heavily on the professional service sector and remittance income from expatriates, the government sometimes called Jordan's manpower the nation's most valuable resource.

Jordan's economic strategy succeeded during the Middle East oil boom of the 1970s. In the late 1980s, however, as the worldwide plunge in oil prices persisted, economic problems emerged. Foreign aid was cut, remittances declined, and regional trade and transit activity was suppressed by lack of demand, leading to a deterioration in the current account. The government was deeply concerned about the economy's vulnerability to external forces. Jordan's economy depended heavily on imported commodities and foreign aid, trade, investment, and income. But because plans to increase self-sufficiency were only in the early stages of implementation, a short-term decline in the national standard of living and increased indebtedness loomed as the 1990s approached; observers forecast that austerity would replace prosperity.




In the late 1980s, depite recent reconomic setbacks, Jordan remained more prosperous than many developing countries, and its citizens were more affluent than their neighbors from other nonpetroleum-exporting countries. Jordan's persistent economic viability was surprising in several respects. Measured both in terms of population and production, the Jordanian economy was one of the smallest in West Asia, according to the United Nations (UN). Its population--not including the West Bank -- numbered only about 3 million in 1989. Jordan's 1987 gross domestic product was estimated at less than US$5.5 billion. Furthermore, Jordan's natural resources were not nearly as abundant as those of other Middle Eastern nations.

Added to these disadvantages was the incalculable cost to economic development of the regional political and military environment. The economy was dismembered by the 1967 Israeli occupation of the West Bank. Jordanians regarded the loss of this territory not only as a military and political defeat, but also as an enduring economic catastrophe that cost them a large part of their infrastructure, resources, and manpower. Jordan's defense burden, although only average by Middle Eastern standards, was very large by world standards. The country's 1987 defense expenditure of US$635 million constituted 22 percent of total government spending.

Despite such handicaps, the economy grew rapidly in the 1970s and continued to grow in the early 1980s. According to UN data, the annual real (inflation-adjusted) growth rate of GDP averaged almost 16.5 percent between 1972 and 1975. The average annual growth rate fell to 8.5 percent between 1976 and 1979, then peaked at almost 18 percent in 1980. Jordan's economic growth appeared more spectacular in percentage terms than in absolute terms because it started from low base figures; nonetheless, the pace of economic development was one of the highest in the world during this period. Jordan was not a petroleum exporter, a fact that made this growth rate all the more phenomenal.

Jordan dealt relatively well with the recession in the Middle East triggered by plummeting petroleum prices. Between 1980 and 1985, the average growth rate decelerated to about 4 percent a year, but Jordan's economy was able to sustain this growth rate at a time when other regional economies, such as those of the oilproducers on the Arabian Peninsula, were actually contracting. The boom in transit trade to and from Iraq after the start of the IranIraq War in 1980 accounted for much of the growth. The immunity of the large service sector to demand slowdown also postponed the effects of the regional recession. The government, however, constituted a large component of the service sector. In its role as a major customer and employer, the government sustained an artificial level of growth through continued deficit spending and a relaxed fiscal policy. Despite the extra money and demand that the government injected into the economy, GDP growth eventually stagnated in the late 1980s. GDP growth in 1989 was estimated at only 2 or 3 percent.


Jordan - The Economy - ROLE OF THE GOVERNMENT


In the late 1980s, the government of Jordan remained a staunch advocate of free enterprise. Unlike many of its Arab neighbors, and for both pragmatic and ideological reasons, Jordan had never nationalized businesses, seized private assets without compensation, or implemented socialism. But although the economic system was as liberal and market oriented as those of many fully developed nations, the government continued to play a large economic role, both in development planning and as a financier.

A Mixed Economy

Government encroachment on the economy in the form of ownership or equity participation in corporations was inevitable and, to some extent, inadvertent. The government's role as financier derived from several interrelated factors. Most important, the government was the only channel through which foreign aid, loans, and most expatriate worker remittances were funneled into the country. Acting as an intermediary in the distribution of these funds, the government acquired a reputation in the private sector for its "deep pockets" and fostered in the business world a feeling of entitlement to government support in the capitalization of certain enterprises. Inadequate private capital investment, resulting in part from an entrenched "merchant mentality," has been a weak point in the economy for which the government has had to compensate. Moreover, the large amount of capital investment required by some extractive industries was beyond the reach of willing private sector investors. In some industries, such as telecommunications, government ownership was viewed simply as a prerogative. In numerous other cases, the government felt compelled to bolster private investor confidence and so stepped in to rescue insolvent private sector companies and banks with an infusion of capital, to buy the receivables of exporting companies unable to collect payment from foreign customers, and, when publicly held companies went bankrupt, to compensate shareholders for the lost value of their stocks. In this manner, the government essentially adopted companies that were abandoned by the private sector.

Eventually, the government came to preside over a large mixed economy of some forty semipublic corporations. The government's share of the combined nominal equity of these companies was about 18 percent, but its share of their combined paid-up capital--a more realistic measure of ownership--was over 40 percent. The government had contributed 100 percent of the paid-up capital of eleven of the companies, although its share of their nominal capital was much lower. These firms included Arab International Hotels, the Arab Company for Maritime Transport, the Jordan Cement Factories Company, the Arab Investment Company, and a number of joint ventures with Iraq and Syria. In six of the companies, the government was a minor investor, holding less than 10 percent of the equity. The largest company in this group was the Jordan Refinery Company, in which the government held only a 3 percent share. This group also included the Arab Pharmaceutical Manfacturing Company and the Jordan Ceramic Company. Public investment tended to be highest in those companies with strong domestic and export markets. In 1988 the government was pursuing plans to offer the government-owned telecommunications industry and the national air carrier, Royal Jordanian Airlines, for sale to a combination of Jordanian and other Arab private sector investors.

Clearly, the government assumed responsibility for some aspects of the economy by default because of lack of investment activity and initiative in the private sector. Although total gross fixed capital formation was targeted by the 1980-85 Five-Year Plan for Economic and Social Development (known as the 1980-85 Five-Year Plan) to grow at about 12 percent annually, it grew at less than 1 percent per year. Public sector capital investment during the period totaled almost JD60 million, 40 percent more than stipulated in the plan, but private and mixed sector capital investment, at JD540 million, was only 75 percent of the planned target. The declining value of share prices on the Amman Financial Market since the early 1980s also indicated low private participation in equity markets.

Government officials have, on occasion, criticized the private sector for its unwillingness to make capital investments and its general preference for trade and consumption rather than production and investment. Revitalization and expansion of the private sector has been a long-standing official development priority. Perhaps the government's most important policy tool has been Central Bank regulation of bank interest rates on both loans and deposits. By setting ceilings on the interest rates that banks can charge certain borrowers, the government has tried to channel loans to capital-starved enterprises. The government also has encouraged foreign direct investment in the hope of stimulating growth of the domestic private sector through partnerships and joint ventures with foreign companies.

The incentives that the government has had to provide foreign and domestic businesses to invest in the economy have, however, run somewhat contrary to the free market philosophy. Under the 1984 Encouragement of Investment Law, foreign investors were permitted to own up to 49 percent of a Jordanian company. In certain cases (for example, export-oriented manufacturing enterprises), foreign investors could own all of a Jordanian company. To encourage investment, companies received customs exemptions, almost complete tax exemption for up to nine years, and unlimited profit repatriation. In some cases, they were given free land and facilities. Free zones granting similar concessions were established near Al Aqabah and near the Syrian border to encourage wholly-owned Jordanian companies to engage in manufacture for export. Five industrial estates throughout the country offered the use of government-built infrastructure and extensive government-run services to Jordanian companies.

Although government economic support was weighted toward fostering investment, the government also provided subsidies that were deemed necessary to guarantee citizens' welfare and political stability. The main government agent for subsidizing and setting prices was the Ministry of Supply, which was established in 1974 after merchants hoarded sugar to force up prices. The hoarding sparked discontent in the country at large and particularly in the armed forces. In the late 1980s, the Ministry of Supply imported wheat, meat, and other basic foodstuffs and distributed them at subsidized prices and bought crops from Jordanian farmers at higher-than-market prices. In the 1989 budget, JD33.2 million was allocated to food subsidies alone. The government also subsidized fuel, water, and electricity.

The government repeatedly has stated that it intends to phase out subsidies. The import restrictions imposed in 1988, however, had almost immediate unintended price effects that necessitated further subsidies and price setting. Although the government intended to ban only luxury imports, merchants began to hoard their inventory of imported goods in expectation of future restrictions. Hoarding led to sharp and sudden price inflation of such vital items as medicines and food. Domestic producers of goods that could substitute for imports also raised prices. In 1988 the Ministry of Supply announced that for the first time it would set or subsidize prices for tea, matches, electrical appliances, construction materials, and numerous other goods. For similar welfare reasons, unemployment was mitigated by public sector hiring, and the public payroll swelled to account for more than 40 percent of the work force in 1987.

In 1989 it was difficult to assess whether the government's role in the economy was increasing or decreasing. The government's forceful intervention with specific restrictions to stabilize the economy during the 1988 financial crisis was uncharacteristic. In general, the government appeared uncomfortable with the size of the role it was forced to play in the economy.




In the late 1980s, Jordan both exported and imported labor. The total domestic active labor force in 1987 was about 659,000 workers. Of this number, approximately 150,000 (23 percent) were foreign guest workers, and approximately 509,000 were Jordanian citizens. Concurrently, an estimated 350,000 Jordanians worked abroad. In 1988 the number of Jordanians living abroad, including dependents, was estimated at up to 1 million.

Labor Emigration

The oil price increases of 1973 and 1974 stimulated tremendous labor demand in the Arab petroleum-exporting nations, which tended to have small populations. Jordan, suffering from unemployment and having an educated and skilled work force, was prepared to fill this vacuum; over the following decade, several hundred thousand Jordanians left their country to work in neighboring Arab nations. About 60 percent of Jordanian emigrants worked in Saudi Arabia, about 30 percent worked in Kuwait, and most of the remainder found employment in other Persian Gulf states.

Remittance Income

Remittances to Jordan traditionally have been the largest source of foreign currency earnings and a pillar of economic prosperity. In 1980 remittance income was US$666 million, but by 1986, according to official statistics published by the Central Bank, remittance income had increased to an estimated US$1.5 billion at the then-prevailing exchange rate. According to a UN estimate, however, Jordan's 1986 remittance income was about US$1.25 billion and subsequently declined slightly. Actual remittance income was probably higher because much of the money was funneled back to Jordan through unofficial channels. Economist Ian J. Seccombe, who has produced authoritative studies of the Jordanian economy, estimated that real remittance inflows were perhaps 60 percent higher than the official receipts. Another expert, Philip Robins, estimated that real remittances could be twice the official receipts. Official figures did not include remittances in kind, such as automobiles brought back to Jordan and then sold by returning expatriates, nor remittance income exchanged at money changers rather than at banks.

Throughout the late 1970s and early 1980s, official statistics reported that remittance income exceeded export income, in some years by over 200 percent. Remittance income accounted for between 25 percent and 33 percent of the liquid money supply, about 20 percent of the GNP, and exceeded the figures for total government development spending, or total foreign aid receipts.

As early as the mid-1970s, however, remittance income and labor export created economic and demographic distortions. The problems were so pronounced that in the 1970s Crown Prince Hasan called for the creation of an international fund to compensate Jordan and other labor-exporting nations for the negative effects of emigration.

The billions of dollars that Jordanian emigrants pumped back into their home economy fueled prolonged double-digit inflation, especially of housing prices. To rein in inflation and to attract and capture remittances, the government tried to tighten the money supply by maintaining high interest rates for bank deposits. As a consequence, loan costs rose, hampering the investment activity of businesses and farms that needed finance. Also, and because remittances tended to be spent on imported luxury goods, the merchandise trade deficit expanded.

Jordanian labor export also had an unanticipated impact on the domestic labor force. Over time, foreign demand grew disproportionately for Jordan's most highly educated and skilled technocrats and professionals, such as engineers. This "brain drain" caused a serious domestic scarcity of certain skills. At the same time, wages for unskilled labor were bid up as Jordanian employers competed for manual workers. Progress on major infrastructure development projects was hampered. For example, according to a United States government study, the labor shortage idled heavy equipment on the East Ghor (also seen as Ghawr) Canal project for up to 70 percent of the work day. Ironically, Jordan was obliged eventually to import "replacement labor"--usually lowskilled workers from Egypt and South Asia--who transferred their wages out of Jordan. The number of foreign guest workers in Jordan grew compared to the number of Jordanians working abroad. The foreign guest workers also sent home a greater proportion of their wages than did the Jordanians working abroad. In the 1970s, such wage outflows constituted less than 10 percent of Jordan's remittance inflows, but by the late 1980s they offset nearly 25 percent of inflows, neutralizing much of the benefit of labor export.

Labor Force and Unemployment

In the late 1980s, after years of internal labor shortages, Jordan faced a looming unemployment problem. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Jordan sustained a high average annual population growth rate of between 3.6 and 4 percent. This growth rate was augmented by about 0.5 percent per year because of immigration into Jordan from the Israeli-occupied West Bank. In 1985 the government calculated that the work force would grow 50 percent to 750,000 by 1990. In the late 1980s, this prediction was proving accurate; about 40,000 people were joining the domestic labor pool every year. A combination of GNP growth, increased worker efficiency, emigration, and attrition created jobs for most new workers, and unemployment was kept to about 9 percent.

Experts believed, however, that unemployment and underemployment would probably increase rapidly in the 1990s as the labor pool continued to grow more quickly than labor demand. In 1986 only about 20 percent of Jordanian citizens worked or sought work, a figure expected to grow dramatically as the youthful population aged. In addition, because of the recession in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states caused by slumping oil prices, Jordanians who had been working abroad were repatriating and seeking work at home. The Ministry of Labor estimated that about 2,500 Jordanians returned from abroad in 1986. Another source, however, estimated the number of returning workers and their dependents at 35,000 in 1986. Moreover, women--who in 1986 made up only a little more than 12 percent of the working population but almost 50 percent of secondary school and college enrollment--were expected to attempt to join the labor force in growing numbers. The work force had some elasticity in that approximately 150,000 foreign guest workers could be sent home and their jobs given to Jordanian citizens; but even if all guest workers were repatriated, unemployment would persist.

By one estimate that did not include repatriating Jordanian workers, unemployment could grow to 30 percent of the work force in the 1990s in the absence of extraordinary government action. Therefore, although aware of the problems caused by labor emigration, the government remained far more concerned about unemployment--and declining remittances--than about the problem of emigration. As of 1989, the government had stated explicitly that it would continue to permit unrestricted worker emigration.




Manufacturing contributed about 14 percent of GDP in the late 1980s. Much manufacturing activity related to exploitation of natural resources and to the mining sector. Although extractive industries were distributed throughout the country, about 90 percent of both small and large manufacturing entities were concentrated in the north, in an industrial belt between Amman and Az Zarqa. Between 1975 and 1985, total manufacturing value added grew at roughly the same rate as GNP, at an annual average rate of 13 percent through 1980, then decelerating to about 5 percent. Employment in manufacturing grew slowly, and in the late 1980s was estimated at slightly more than 50,000, less than 10 percent of the working population. For decades the government had emphasized industrial manufacturing development over other economic sectors, but growing excess industrial capacity prompted a greater priority to agriculture and water resource development in the 1986- 90 Five-Year Plan.


The manufacturing sector had two tiers. On one level were the large-scale, wholly or partially state-owned industrial establishments that produced chemicals, petrochemicals, fertilizers, and mineral products. These manufacturing entities included the "big five" companies that constituted the pillars of the industrial base: the Jordan Phosphate Mines Company, the Jordan Fertilizer Industries Company, the Arab Potash Company, Intermediate Petrochemical Industries, the Jordan Cement Factories Company, and also a recently enlarged oil refinery at Az Zarqa that employed about 3,000 persons. The chemical products sector employed about 4,000 workers at about seventy facilities. Because these industries were established to process the products of Jordan's mining and extractive sector, it was difficult to distinguish between the industrial and natural resource sectors of the economy.

Petroleum refining contributed 39 percent to gross output manufacturing; fertilizers, potash, and other nonmetallic minerals, 13 percent; industrial chemicals, about 8 percent; and iron, steel, and fabricated metal products, about 10 percent. Thus, about 70 percent of total manufacturing output was closely linked to the mining and extractive sector. The high contribution of these industries to the total value of manufacturing output resulted in part from the high underlying value of the natural resource inputs on which they were based. The same industries accounted for about 57 percent of total value added in manufacturing.

On the other level were small or medium-sized light manufacturing entities, many privately owned, that produced a wide array of consumer products. Many of these entities were cottage industries or small bazaar workshops. By one estimate, in 1984 more than 75 percent of the approximately 8,500 manufacturing companies employed fewer than five persons each. The most important, in order of contribution to gross output value, were food processing, tobacco and cigarettes, paper and packaging, beverages, furniture, textiles, and plastics. These companies and other smaller industries such as publishing, glass and rubber products, electrical equipment, and machinery--each of which contributed less than 1 percent of total manufacturing output value--together contributed about 30 percent of gross manufacturing output and 43 percent of manufacturing value added.

Industrial Policy

Like most nations with ambitious development plans, Jordan pinned its hopes on growth, particularly in the export of manufactured goods. Although high tariff and nontariff barriers sheltered selected industries from competition from lower cost imports, both nominal and effective rates of protection generally were low by the standards of developing economies. On the one hand, effective protection was high for paper and wood products, furniture, and apparel. On the other hand, imports of machinery, electrical equipment, and transport equipment were effectively subsidized. In view of its sustained high level of import of manufactured goods, observers viewed Jordan's pursuit of importsubstitution industrialization as moderate.

Jordan's import policy theoretically was designed to promote domestic manufacturing industries by ensuring their access to cheaper imported capital goods, raw materials, and other intermediate inputs rather than by granting them monopoly markets. The government believed that development of a domestic manufacturing base had to be led by exports because Jordan's small population could not generate enough consumer demand for manufacturing plants to achieve economies of scale or scope. In some cases, consumer demand was too low to justify building even the smallest possible facility. Domestic consumer demand alone was insufficient to support some manufacturing industries despite the relatively high wages paid to Jordanian workers; the high wages resulted in increased product costs and diminished export sales of manufactured goods. In the late 1980s, according to a Jordanian economist, the country continued to experience constant returns to scale despite its significant exports. Essentially, Jordan was still in the first stage of industrial production, in which the per unit costs were high because of limited output.

The relative contributions to manufacturing expansion made by domestic demand growth, export growth, and import substitution were difficult to assess accurately. Growth in domestic demand stimulated almost 60 percent of manufacturing expansion, export growth contributed a moderate 12 percent, and import substitution contributed nearly 30 percent. But exports accounted for about 33 percent of the growth of intermediate goods (fertilizers and other inputs) industries, and about 25 percent of the growth of consumer goods industries. In contrast, external demand contributed virtually nothing to growth in the metal products, iron and steel, rubber, and glass industries; import substitution, domestic demand growth, or a combination of the two accounted for all domestic manufacturing growth, resulting in self-sufficiency. In the case of the furniture, apparel, textile, and industrial chemical industries, however, either increased domestic demand, increased foreign demand, or a combination of both led to simultaneous domestic manufacturing growth and increased imports.

In the 1970s and early 1980s, the government concentrated on developing the first tier of the manufacturing sector--the production of chemicals and fertilizers--because, unlike consumer goods, these commodities appeared to have guaranteed export markets. The government followed this policy although the second tier of the manufacturing sector--the production of consumer goods- -had significantly higher value added. The government strategy was to increase value added in exported commodities by producing and exporting processed commodities, such as fertilizers from raw phosphates and metal pipes from ore and ingots. Because some other Middle Eastern and West Asian nations had adopted the same strategy, competition for markets increased at the same time that demand slumped. Jordan suffered from declining terms of trade as the value of its processed commodity exports fell relative to the value of its consumer and capital goods imports.

In the late 1980s, therefore, Jordan was reassessing its industrial strategy and searching for potential areas of comparative advantage in exporting light-manufactured goods and consumer and capital goods that had higher value added. Consumer goods were protected in many foreign markets, and Jordanian exports as a percentage of output in the consumer goods sector ranged only between 2 percent and 9 percent, as opposed to a range of 12 percent to 35 percent in the extractive industry based manufacturing sector. Accordingly, Jordan hoped to take advantage of its educated work force and increase the manufacture of capital goods that were either technical in nature or required engineering and technical expertise to manufacture. Those types of products had more appeal in foreign markets. To promote such development, the government established the Higher Council for Science and Technology, which in turn founded the private-sector Jordan Technology Group as an umbrella organization for new hightechnology companies.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the profitability of some capital goods industries, measured as a ratio of both gross output value and of value added, fell steeply compared to profit ratios in the commodities and consumer goods sectors. During the same period, profitability of the natural resources sector declined minimally, while profitability of the consumer goods sector rose. The capital goods sector had been much more profitable than the natural resources sector; but by the late 1980s, the two sectors were equally profitable. The main cause of the plunge in profitability among capital goods apparently was price inflation of imported intermediate inputs. Especially affected, for example, were the electrical equipment and plastics industries--precisely the type of technical industries that Jordan envisaged as important to its economic future. The drop in profitability was not irremediable, however, and government officials continued to be optimistic about prospects in technical industries, particularly those that were skill intensive and labor intensive rather than capital intensive.

The pharmaceuticals and veterinary medicines industries were examples of the new direction of industrial development policy. The government-established Arab Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Company exported more than 70 percent of its production in 1987. A halfdozen other drug and medical equipment companies were garnering a large share of the Middle Eastern market in the late 1980s. Engineering industries also were a development target. In 1985 this manufacturing sector accounted for about 9 percent of manufacturing value added, 14 percent of total manufacturing employment, and about US$5 million in export sales. About 95 percent of the sector was devoted to basic fabrication of metal sheets, pipes, and parts. Jordan also exported in limited quantities more sophisticated products, such as domestic appliances, commercial vehicles, electrical equipment, and machinery; eventually it wanted to produce and export scientific equipment and consumer electronics. Another developing industry was plastic containers and packaging, of which about one-quarter of output was exported.

The strategy to boost manufactured exports ultimately had to take into account the low manufacturing productivity growth of the 1980s. Average annual productivity growth was estimated at 2 percent to 3 percent, and in 1986 it was a mere 1.4 percent. In several specific sectors, productivity was actually falling. Because this low or negative growth occurred at a time when labor productivity was increasing rapidly, it was attributable to some combination of insufficient investment and stagnant domestic and foreign demand. Jordan's average industrial capacity utilization, according to a UN report, was about 57 percent, but varied widely according to industry. Pent up consumer demand for some products was great enough so that any increase in capacity could be translated automatically into increased production and sales. Capacity utilization was almost 100 percent for certain chemical and consumer goods factories, indicating that more investment might be warranted, whereas capacity utilization in the production of certain household furnishings and building products was very low, suggesting suppressed or little demand. Spare production capacity meant that manufacturers would be able to meet sudden demand surges. In 1987, following a period of declining production, Egypt agreed to import construction materials and output of cement and metal pipes jumped 32 percent and 48 percent, respectively. Production of paper and cardboard also increased about 36 percent as the packaging industry developed, but production of detergent dropped 8 percent and production of textiles dropped 13 percent, leaving spare capacity. The variability of capacity utilization indicated the problems that the government had to confront in forecasting domestic and foreign demand for manufactured goods.

Electricity Generation

Between 1980 and 1985, per capita consumption of electricity doubled from 500 kilowatt hours per year to 1,000 kilowatt hours per year. The demand increase reflected the doubling in the number of households supplied with electricity as rural villages were electrified. By 1985 about 400,000 households, or 97 percent of the population, had access to electricity. Electricity generation increased 23 percent in 1986 and 18 percent in 1987 to total 712 megawatts or 3.2 billion kilowatt hours. After rural electrification was completed, growth in capacity outpaced growth in consumption, which was limited by conservation measures to about 3 percent to 4 percent per year. Roughly 40 percent of the electric power generated was used by industry, 30 percent was used by private citizens, 13 percent was used by commercial businesses, and the remainder was used by water pumping stations. The Hussein Thermal Power Station at Az Zarqa historically had produced more than 70 percent of the country's electricity, but at the end of 1987, the opening of the Al Aqabah Thermal Power Station added 260 megawatts, boosting Jordan's generating capacity to 972 megawatts and ensuring self-sufficiency into the early 1990s. A 400-kilovolt transmission line connected Al Aqabah and Amman. The Al Aqabah plant was to be expanded to a total capacity of 520 megawatts by the mid-1990s, and was planned eventually to supply 1,540 megawatts.

Although Jordan depended entirely on imported oil to fire its generating plants in 1988, the government planned to reduce this dependency. The 1988 discovery of natural gas at Rishah, near the Iraqi border, led to feasibility studies of retrofitting the Az Zarqa plant with gas turbine generators. A 20-megawatt hydroelectric station was to be included as part of the planned Al Wahdah Dam on the Yarmuk River. Discoveries of shale oil in the southern Wadi as Sultani region kindled hopes of a 100-megawatt shale-fired electric plant in that area. In 1989 Jordan also was prospecting for underground geothermal sources.




Jordan's mineral wealth and extractive industries constituted a major source of its gross output manufacturing as well as of its total value added in manufacturing. Such natural resources also represented a significant element in Jordan's exports.


Phosphate deposits were Jordan's primary natural resource and a major source of export income. Estimates of Jordan's proven, indicated, and probable reserves ranged from 1.5 billion to 2.5 billion tons. Even if the more conservative figure were the most accurate, Jordan could produce at its present rate for hundreds of years. Total 1987 production was 6.7 million tons, of which 5.7 million tons were exported as raw rock. The remainder was upgraded into fertilizer at several facilities and either retained for domestic use or exported. Jordan was the third ranked phosphate exporter in the world, after Morocco and the United States, and it had the capacity to produce well over 8 million tons annually. In 1986 phosphate sales generated US$185 million in income, which made up 25 percent of export earnings and gave Jordan a 10 percent share of the world market. Sales by volume in 1986 increased approximately 14 percent over the previous year, but profits rose only 4 percent, an indication of the depressed price for phosphates on the world market. In 1986 long-term agreements were concluded with Thailand and Yugoslavia that assured the added export of almost 1 million tons per year.

In 1985 the Jordan Phosphate Mines Company closed the country's original phosphate mine at Ar Rusayfah near Amman because it produced low-grade rock; this left major phosphate mines in operation at Al Hasa and Wadi Abu Ubaydah near Al Qatranah in central Jordan, and a new high-grade mine at Ash Shidiyah, forty kilometers south of Maan, where according to one estimate, reserves were more than 1 billion tons.

Among Jordan's major development projects was the construction of a US$450 million processing facility near Al Aqabah, completed in 1982, to produce monoammonium phosphate and diammonium phosphate fertilizer, and other chemicals such as phosphoric acid from raw phosphate rock. The project was envisioned as a boon to the extractive industry because it would increase value added in its major export commodity. Instead, it became an encumbrance as the prices of sulfur and ammonia (which Jordan had to import to produce the diammonium phosphate) rose while the price of diammonium phosphate on the world market slumped. Production costs of diammonium phosphate at various times between 1985 and 1987 ranged from 110 percent to 160 percent of world market price for the product. Nevertheless, Jordan remained cautiously optimistic about the long-term prospects for the fertilizer industry because of its geographic proximity to the large Asian markets. In 1985 Jordan exported more than 500,000 tons of fertilizer, primarily to India and China.


Potash was the other major component of Jordan's mining sector. A US$480 million potash extraction facility at Al Aghwar al Janubiyah (also known as Ghor as Safi) on the Dead Sea, which was operated by the Arab Potash Company, produced 1.2 million tons of potash in 1987 and yielded earnings of almost US$100 million. The facility processed the potash into potassium chloride. Future plans included the production of other industrial chemicals such as potassium sulphate, bromine, magnesium oxide, and soda ash. As in the case of phosphates, India was a major customer, buying almost 33 percent of output. Jordan was the world's lowest cost producer, in part because it used solar evaporation. There was lingering concern that possible Israeli construction of a Mediterranean-Dead Sea canal would dilute the Dead Sea, making extraction far more expensive.

Oil and Gas

By the late 1980s, a twenty-year-long period of exploration had resulted in the discovery and exploitation of three oil wells in the Hamzah field in the Wadi al Azraq region west of Amman that yielded only a small fraction of domestic energy requirements. Jordan also had just discovered oil from what appeared to be a field in the eastern panhandle near the Iraqi-Saudi Arabian border. Jordan remained almost entirely dependent on oil imported from Saudi Arabia and Iraq to meet its energy needs. Jordan refined the imported crude petroleum at its Az Zarqa refinery. In 1985 the Az Zarqa refinery processed about 2.6 million tons of petroleum. Of this total, about 1.8 million tons came from Saudi Arabia, 700,000 tons from Iraq, and 2,800 tons from Jordan's Hamzah field. An additional 400,000 tons of fuel were imported from Iraq. The Saudi Arabian oil was transported to Jordan via the Trans-Arabian Pipeline (Tapline). Oil from Iraq was transported by tanker truck. About 40 percent of oil imports were used by the transport sector, 25 percent to generate electricity, 16 percent by industry, and the remainder for domestic use.

Jordan's oil bill was difficult to calculate and was subject to fluctuation as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) changed its posted price for crude. Since 1985, barter agreements with Iraq to trade goods for crude oil have removed some of Jordan's oil bill from the balance sheet. Jordan also varied its imports of crude oil and other, more expensive fuels, depending on its immediate fuel demand and its refinery capacity, and cut consumption through conservation measures and price increases.

The oil bill remained very large, however. A major irony of Jordan's energy dependence was that despite--or because of--its proximity to its main oil suppliers, it was sometimes obliged to pay extremely inflated prices for its oil. In mid-1986, for example, Saudi Arabia charged Jordan the official OPEC price of US$28 per barrel at a time when oil was selling on the international spot market for US$10 per barrel. Saudi Arabia's motives were perhaps as much political as economic, in that it wanted to maintain the integrity of the OPEC floor price for oil. Dependent on Saudi financial aid, Jordan could not alienate its patron by shopping on the world market. In 1985 estimates of Jordan's oil import bill ranged between US$500 million and US$650 million. At that time, imported oil constituted approximately 20 percent of total imports and offset 80 percent of the value of commodity exports. In 1986 and 1987, Jordan's estimated fuel bill declined considerably, to less than US$300 million. The drop resulted from barter with Iraq, decreased fuel imports, and OPEC's reduction of its official price of crude oil to bring it into line with world market prices. As prices dropped, the Jordanian government--which had subsidized domestic fuel prices--was able to cut the subsidy from US$70 million to US$14 million instead of passing on savings to consumers.

Since 1984 Saudi Arabia has forced Jordan to underwrite the entire cost of operating the Tapline. This has added more than US$25 million per year to Jordan's oil bill. During the Iran-Iraq War, therefore, Jordan tried to persuade Iraq to obtain an alternative oil outlet by building a pipeline across Jordan to Al Aqabah. The project foundered because of Iraqi concern that the line was vulnerable to Israeli attack and embarrassment over disclosure of Jordanian attempts to obtain a secret Israeli pledge not to attack the line.

The 1980 discovery of from 10 billion to 40 billion tons of shale oil deposits in the Wadi as Sultani area raised Jordanian hopes of greater self-sufficiency, but there were doubts that large-scale exploitation of the deposits would be commercially viable in the near future. Since 1985 Jordan has attempted to interest Western oil companies in exploring for oil. Amoco, Hunt Petroleum, Petro-Canada, Petrofina of Belgium, and the Japanese National Oil Company were conducting survey work in Jordan in the late 1980s. Jordanian planners hoped that potentially extensive natural gas reserves discovered at Rishah in eastern Jordan could eventually replace oil for electricity generation, cutting imports by one-quarter.


The government was concerned that scarcity of water could ultimately place a cap on both agricultural and industrial development. Although no comprehensive hydrological survey had been conducted by the late 1980s, some experts believed that demand for water could outstrip supply by the early 1990s. Average annual rainfall was about 8 billion cubic meters, most of which evaporated; the remainder flowed into rivers and other catchments or seeped into the ground to replenish large underground aquifers of fossil water that could be tapped by wells. Annual renewable surface and subterranean water supply was placed at 1.2 billion cubic meters. Total demand was more difficult to project. In 1985 Jordan consumed about 520 million cubic meters of water, of which 111 million cubic meters went for industrial and domestic use, and 409 million cubic meters went for agricultural use. By 1995 it was estimated that domestic and industrial consumption would almost double and agricultural demand would increase by 50 percent, so that total demand would be about 820 million cubic meters. By the year 2000, projected demand was estimated at 934 million cubic meters. Jordan, therefore, would need to harness almost all of its annual renewable water resources of 1.2 billion cubic meters to meet future demand, a process that would inevitably be marked by diminishing marginal returns as ever more expensive and remotely situated projects yielded less and less added water. The process also could spark regional disputes--especially with Israel--over riparian rights.

The government had completed several major infrastructure projects in an effort to make maximum use of limited water supplies, and was considering numerous other projects in the late 1980s. The King Talal Dam, built in 1978 on the Az Zarqa River, formed Jordan's major reservoir. In the late 1980s, a project to raise the height of the dam by ten meters so as to increase the reservoir's capacity from 56 million cubic meters to 90 million cubic meters was almost complete. A second major construction project underway in 1989 was the Wadi al Arabah Dam to capture flood waters of the Yarmuk River and the Wadi al Jayb (also known as Wadi al Arabah) in a 17 million cubic meter reservoir. These two dams and innumerable other catchments and tunnels collected water from tributaries that flowed toward the Jordan River and fed the 50-kilometer-long East Ghor Canal. Plans called for the eventual extension of the East Ghor Canal to the Dead Sea region, which would almost double its length. In 1989 about fifteen dams were in various stages of design or construction, at a total projected cost of JD64 million.

By far the largest of these projects was a joint JordanianSyrian endeavor to build a 100-meter-high dam on the Yarmuk River. The project, which had been contemplated since the 1950s but had foundered repeatedly because of political disputes, was revived in 1988 after the thaw in Jordanian-Syrian relations and appeared to be progressing in early 1989. Called the Maqarin Dam in previous development plans, it was renamed the Al Wahdah Dam to reflect the political rapprochement that made construction feasible (Al Wahdah mean unity). The dam was to create a reservoir of 250 million cubic meters. The Jordanian estimate of the cost, which Jordan was to bear alone, was US$397 million. Independent estimates placed the figure at more than US$500 million. Building time was estimated at two years after the planned 1989 starting date, but new political problems threatened to stall construction. In 1988 the United States attempted to mediate between Jordan and Israel, which feared the dam would limit its own potential water supply; Syria, however, refused to join any tripartite negotiations.

In 1989 serious consideration was being given to two proposals to construct major pipelines to import water. Completion of either project could be a partial solution to Jordan's water scarcity. Because of cost, however, neither project was likely to be constructed in the near future. One project was to construct a multibillion dollar 650-kilometer-long pipeline from the Euphrates River in Iraq. The pipeline would supply Jordan with about 160 million cubic meters of water per year. The other project, on which feasibility studies had been conducted, was to construct a 2,700- kilometer-long pipeline from rivers in Turkey, through Syria and Jordan, to Saudi Arabia. Jordan could draw an allotment of about 220 million cubic meters per year from this second pipeline. The estimated US$20 billion cost of the latter project was thought to be prohibitive.




Agriculture contributed substantially to the economy at the time of Jordan's independence, but it subsequently suffered a decades-long steady decline. In the early 1950s, agriculture constituted almost 40 percent of GNP; on the eve of the June 1967 War, it was 17 percent. By the mid-1980s, agriculture's share of GNP was only about 6 percent. In contrast, in Syria and Egypt agriculture constituted more than 20 percent of GNP in the 1980s. Several factors contributed to this downward trend. With the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Jordan lost prime farmland. Starting in the mid-1970s, Jordanian labor emigration also hastened the decline of agriculture. Many Jordanian peasants abandoned farming to take more lucrative jobs abroad, sometimes as soldiers in the armies of Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf states or in service industries in those countries. Others migrated to cities where labor shortages had led to higher wages for manual workers. Deserted farms were built over as urban areas expanded. As the Jordanian government drove up interest rates to attract remittance income, farm credit tightened, which made it difficult for farmers to buy seed and fertilizer.

In striking contrast to Egypt and Iraq, where redistribution of land irrigated by the Nile and Euphrates rivers was a pivotal political, social, and economic issue, land tenure was never an important concern in Jordan. More than 150,000 foreign laborers-- mainly Egyptians--worked in Jordan in 1988, most on farms. Moreover, since the early 1960s, the government has continuously created irrigated farmland from what was previously arid desert, further reducing competition for arable land. Ownership of rain-fed land was not subject to special restrictions. Limited land reform occurred in the early 1960s when, as the government irrigated the Jordan River valley, it bought plots larger than twenty hectares, subdivided them, and resold them to former tenants in three-hectare to five-hectare plots. Because the land had not been very valuable before the government irrigated it, this process was accomplished with little controversy. In general, the government has aimed to keep land in larger plots to encourage efficiency and mechanized farming. The government made permanently indivisible the irrigated land that it granted or sold so as to nullify traditional Islamic inheritance laws that tended to fragment land.

Agricultural Development

Although the agricultural sector's share of GNP declined in comparison with other sectors of the economy, farming remained economically important and production grew in absolute terms. Between 1975 and 1985, total production of cereals and beans rose by almost 150 percent, and production of vegetables rose by more than 200 percent, almost all of the increase occurring between 1975 and 1980. Production of certain cash export crops, such as olives, tobacco, and fruit, more than quadrupled. Because farming had remained labor intensive, by one estimate about 20 percent to 30 percent of the male work force continued to depend on farming for its livelihood.

Even with increased production, the failure of agriculture to keep pace with the growth of the rest of the economy, however, resulted in an insufficient domestic food supply. Jordan thus needed to import such staples as cereals, grains, and meat. Wheat imports averaged about 350,000 tons per year, ten to twenty times the amount produced domestically. Red meat imports cost more than JD30 million per year, and onion and potato imports cost between JD3 million and JD4 million per year. Between 1982 and 1985, the total food import bill averaged about JD180 million per year, accounting for more than 15 percent of total imports during the period. At the same time, cash crop exports--for example, the export of 7,000 tons of food to Western Europe in 1988--generated about JD40 million per year, yielding a net food deficit of JD140 million. One emerging problem in the late 1980s was the erosion of Jordan's traditional agricultural export market. The wealthy oilexporting states of the Arabian Peninsula, concerned about their "food security," were starting to replace imports from Jordan with food produced domestically at costs far higher than world market prices, using expensive desalinated water.

Cropping and Production

Observers expected food imports to remain necessary into the indefinite future. Much of Jordan's soil was not arable even if water were available; by several estimates, between 6 percent and 7 percent of Jordan's territory was arable, a figure that was being revised slowly upward as dry-land farming techniques became more sophisticated. In 1989 the scarcity of water, the lack of irrigation, and economic problems--rather than the lack of arable land--set a ceiling on agricultural potential. Only about 20 percent of Jordan's geographic area received more than 200 millimeters of rainfall per year, the minimum required for rain-fed agriculture. Much of this land was otherwise unsuitable for agriculture. Moreover, rainfall varied greatly from year to year, so crops were prone to be ruined by periodic drought.

In 1986 only about 5.5 percent (about 500,000 hectares), of the East Bank's 9.2 million hectares were under cultivation. Fewer than 40,000 hectares were irrigated, almost all in the Jordan River valley. Because arable, rain-fed land was exploited extensively, future growth of agricultural production depended on increased irrigation. Estimates of the additional area that could be irrigated were Jordan to maximize its water resources ranged between 65,000 and 100,000 hectares.

Most agricultural activity was concentrated in two areas. In rain-fed northern and central areas of higher elevation, wheat, barley, and other field crops such as tobacco, lentils, barley, and chick-peas were cultivated; olives also were produced in these regions. Because of periodic drought and limited area, the rain-fed uplands did not support sufficient output of cereal crops to meet domestic demand.

In the more fertile Jordan River valley, fruits and vegetables including cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplants, melons, bananas, and citrus crops often were produced in surplus amounts. The Jordan River Valley received little rain, and the main source of irrigation water was the East Ghor Canal, which was built in 1963 with United States aid.

Although the country's ultimate agricultural potential was small, economic factors apparently limited production more than environmental constraints, as reflected by up to 100,000 hectares of potentially arable land that lay fallow in the late 1980s. The government has expressed considerable concern about its "food security" and its high food import bill, and it was implementing plans to increase crop production in the 1990s. Growth in agricultural output was only about 4 percent during the 1980-85 Five-Year Plan, despite investment of approximately JD80 million during the period, indicating the slow pace of progress.

In the late 1980s, Jordan was implementing a two-pronged agricultural development policy. The long-term strategy was to increase the total area under cultivation by better harnessing water resources to increase irrigation of arid desert areas for the cultivation of cereal crops, the country's most pressing need. In the short term, the government was attempting to maximize the efficiency of agricultural production in the Jordan River valley through rationalization or use of resources to produce those items in which the country had a relative advantage.

Rationalization started with a controversial 1985 government decision to regulate cropping and production, primarily in the Jordan River valley. Farmers there had repeatedly produced surpluses of tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants, and squashes because they were reliable and traditional crops. At the same time, underproduction of crops such as potatoes, onions, broccoli, celery, garlic, and spices led to unnecessary imports. The government offered incentives to farmers to experiment with new crops and cut subsidy payments to those who continued to produce surplus crops. In 1986 cucumber production dropped by 25 percent to about 50,000 tons and tomato harvests dropped by more than 33 percent to 160,000 tons, while self-sufficiency was achieved in potatoes and onions.

Production of wheat and other cereals fluctuated greatly from year to year, but never came close to meeting demand. In 1986, a drought year, Jordan produced about 22,000 tons of wheat, down from 63,000 tons in 1985. In 1987 Jordan harvested about 130,000 tons, a record amount. Because even a bumper crop did not meet domestic demand, expansion of dry-land cereal farming in the southeast of the country was a major agricultural development goal of the 1990s. One plan called for the irrigation of a 7,500-hectare area east of Khawr Ramm (known as Wadi Rum) using 100 million cubic meters per year of water pumped from a large underground aquifer. Another plan envisioned a 7,500-hectare cultivated area in the Wadi al Arabah region south of the Jordan River valley using desalinated water from the Red Sea for irrigation.


Livestock production was limited in the late 1980s. Jordan had about 35,000 head of cattle but more than 1 million sheep and 500,000 goats, and the government planned to increase their numbers. In the late 1980s, annual production of red meat ranged between 10,000 and 15,000 tons, less than 33 percent of domestic consumption. A major impediment to increased livestock production was the high cost of imported feed. Jordan imported cereals at high cost for human consumption, but imported animal feed was a much lower priority. Likewise, the arid, rain-fed land that could have been used for grazing or for fodder production was set aside for wheat production. Jordan was self-sufficient, however, in poultry meat production (about 35,000 tons) and egg production (about 400,000 eggs), and exported these products to neighboring countries.


Jordan - Government and Politics


IN LATE 1989, KING HUSSEIN ibn Talal ibn Abdullah ibn Hussein Al Hashimi remained in firm control of Jordan's political system as the central policymaker and legislative and executive authority. He maintained tight control over key government functions, such as national defense, internal security, justice, and foreign affairs. Crown Prince Hasan, the king's younger brother and heir apparent, complemented the small, Hussein-centered circle of power in his role as the king's right-hand man, especially in the areas of economy and administration.

Hussein's main power base continued to rest on the beduindominated army, which had been loyal to the Hashimite (also seen as Hashemite) family for seven decades. Another source of strength was his astute ability to balance sociopolitical interests at home. Equally important, Hussein was Jordan's most accomplished diplomatnegotiator . During the 1980s, Hussein's autocracy also was substantially bolstered by his rapprochement with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). This significant development greatly reduced the threat to Hussein's rule posed since 1970 by various Palestinian guerrilla groups. Some groups, however, notably the Black September and Abu Nidal factions, continued to seek the overthrow of the entire monarchical structure.

The Transjordanians occupied a dominant place in the existing power structure. Hussein's palace staff and his top civil, judicial, and military officials were mostly Transjordanians. Although there was a Palestinian presence on the periphery of power, the Palestinians' continued exclusion from substantive decision-making positions tended to alienate the Palestinian community and served as a potential source of political instability. Hussein's decision in July 1988 to renounce Jordan's claim to sovereignty over the West Bank and his subsequent recognition of the PLO's declaration of an independent Palestine may further affect the systemic integrity of Jordan because the Palestinians living on the East Bank must choose whether they want Jordanian or Palestinian nationality.

Another source of political instability for Hussein's regime at the close of the 1980s was the continued severe recession that had plagued the economy since the mid-1980s. This economic retrenchment was in sharp contrast to the economic growth experienced during the late 1970s and early 1980s. The combination of high inflation and high unemployment rates contributed to the pervasive sense of dissatisfaction that erupted in major antigovernment riots in several cities and towns in April 1989. Although all Jordanians were adversely affected by rising prices and falling income, the Palestinians living in refugee camps--most of whom were poor before the recession--bore the brunt of the economic decline. Their economic frustrations helped reinforce their political alienation.





The Constitution that was promulgated in 1952 and amended in 1974, 1976, and 1984 remained in force in 1989. It declares Jordan a hereditary monarchy with a parliamentary form of government and defines the people as "the source of all powers." The people are officially stated as being part of "the Arab nation." Islam is the official religion of the state and Arabic the official language. In nearly forty years of experience with the Constitution, adherence to the fundamental law of the land has varied in spirit as well as in practice from time to time, depending upon domestic and external circumstances.

Articles 5 through 23 of the Constitution stipulate the rights and duties of citizens and guarantee a long list of personal freedoms. Citizens are assured freedom from compulsory labor or forced loans, and no one may be discriminated against for reasons of race, religion, or language. Arrest, imprisonment, exile, forced residence, and the expropriation of property without due process of law are forbidden. Freedom of worship, opinion, and the press and the right of peaceful assembly are ensured within the limits of the law. Censorship is allowed in time of martial law or when a state of national emergency exists. The right of petition is guaranteed, and citizens are free to form political parties, trade unions, and associations--provided their objectives are lawful. Political refugees may not be extradited. For grades one through nine, education is compulsory and free in public schools. Every citizen is eligible for appointment to public posts, subject only to the candidate's merit and qualification. The Constitution also outlines various principles of labor legislation and directs the government to promote work and to protect labor.

Martial law was declared in 1967 and remained in force in 1989. The emergency regulations under martial law effectively abridged certain constitutionally guaranteed freedoms. These regulations permitted the martial law authorities and the secret police-- popularly referred to as the Mukhabarat rather than by its formal name of Dairat al Mukhabarat or General Intelligence Department (GID)--to arrest persons suspected of security offenses and to detain them without trial or access to legal counsel for indefinite periods. The emergency regulations also authorized the government to censor the press and other publications, banned political parties, and restricted the rights of citizens to assemble for political meetings and peaceful demonstrations.

The powers and functions of the state organs are elaborated in articles 41 through 110. The Constitution includes sections on finance, enforcement of laws, interpretation of the Constitution, and emergency powers and constitutional amendments. An amendment requires the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members of each legislative house, deliberating separately. When an amendment bill is twice rejected by either house, however, the bill must be deliberated in a joint session of the legislature; in this instance, a two-thirds vote is required for adoption. An amendment bill takes effect only on royal consent. In a move to ensure dynastic stability, the Constitution forbids any amendment concerning the rights of the king and his heirs during a period of regency.

The five amendments to the Constitution that have been approved since 1952 all pertain to the National Assembly. Two amendments were adopted in November 1974. The first permitted the king to dissolve the Senate and to dismiss any individual senator for behavior unbecoming of the office. The second amendment permitted the king to postpone elections for the House of Representatives for one year. In February 1976, a third amendment permitted the king to postpone parliamentary elections indefinitely. The two amendments adopted in 1984 authorized the government to hold parliamentary elections in any part of the country where it was feasible, thus, only in the East Bank. Until late 1988, when Jordan renounced claims to political sovereignty over the West Bank, the House of Representatives was empowered to select deputies to fill vacant seats from the West Bank.




The Constitution divides the powers and functions of the government into executive, legislative, and judicial categories. The Constitution assigns the legislative power to both the bicameral National Assembly and the king, who is also vested with executive power. The king exercises his executive authority with the aid of his cabinet ministers, collectively known as the Council of Ministers. Judicial power is vested in independent courts. The authority and services of the central government are extended to all corners of the kingdom through the eight governorates or provinces.

The King

Under the Constitution, the monarchy is the most important political institution in the country. Articles 28 through 40 of the Constitution enumerate the king's powers. He appoints the prime minister, the president and members of the Senate, judges, and other senior government and military functionaries. He commands the armed forces, approves and promulgates laws, declares war, concludes peace, and signs treaties (which in theory must be approved by the National Assembly). The king convenes, opens, adjourns, suspends, or dissolves the legislature; he also orders, and may postpone, the holding of elections. He has veto power that can be overridden only by a two-thirds vote of each house. The Constitution states that the king exercises his jurisdiction by iradah (sing.; pl., iradat--royal decrees), which must be signed by the prime minister and the minister or ministers concerned. As head of state, the king is accountable to no one.

Royal succession devolves by male descent in the Hashimite dynasty. The royal mandate is passed to the eldest son of the reigning king, to the eldest son of the successor king, and by similar process thereafter. Should the king die without a direct heir, the deceased monarch's eldest brother has first claim, followed by the eldest son of the other brothers according to their seniority in age. Should there be no suitable direct heir, the National Assembly selects a successor from among "the descendants of the founder of the Arab Revolt, the late King Hussein ibn Ali".

The heir apparent to the throne must be sane, a male Muslim, the son of Muslim parents, and born of a lawful wife. In addition, he must not have been excluded by a royal decree from the succession "on the ground of unsuitability." In 1965 Hussein (b. 1935) used this rule to exclude from the line of succession his two sons by his Muslim but British second wife Princess Muna. He also issued a royal decree that excluded his next younger brother Muhammad (b. 1945) and designated a second brother, Hasan (b. 1948), as crown prince. In June 1978, Hussein designated Prince Ali (b. 1975), his son from his third wife (Queen Alia, who was killed in a helicopter crash in February 1977) to succeed Hasan as heir apparent on the latter's succession to the throne.

When the throne is inherited by a minor, the powers of the king are exercised by a regent or by a council of regency, both of which may be appointed by a decree of the (previous) reigning king; if the king dies without having made such an appointment, the appointment is made by the Council of Ministers. The king attains majority on his eighteenth birthday based on the Muslim lunar calendar. Should the king be disabled by illness, his powers are exercised by a deputy, by a council of the throne appointed by the king, or by the Council of Ministers if the king is incapable of such appointment. The deputy or the council of the throne may also perform royal duties during the absence of the king from the country. If the absence extends to more than four months, the House of Representatives is empowered to "review" the matter.

The king has full responsibility for all matters pertaining to the royal household. He appoints the chief of the royal court, an official who can play an influential political role through his control of access to the monarch. Although the rank of the chief of the royal court is equivalent to that of a cabinet minister, his office is not part of the executive branch.

<>The Council of Ministers
<>The Legislature
<>The Judiciary
<>Local Administration


Jordan - The Council of Ministers


The cabinet, consisting of the prime minister and the other ministers, is the top executive arm of the state. Its members serve at the pleasure of the king, but the Constitution requires every new cabinet to present its statement of programs and policies to the House of Representatives for approval by a two-thirds vote of the members of that house. If the house passes a vote of no confidence, the cabinet must resign.

Traditionally, prime ministers have been recruited from families that have loyally served the Hashimites for many years. Zaid ar Rifai, who was prime minister from 1985 to 1989, is the son of a prominent Transjordanian politician who had served as prime minister to Hussein's grandfather. His successors, Ash Sharif Zaid ibn Shakir (April-November 1989) and Mudar Badran (designated prime minister in November 1989) have each worked with the king in a variety of political capacities. Significantly, both men served as chief minister of the royal court prior to becoming prime minister.

In September 1989, the cabinet included ministers responsible for the following portfolios: agriculture; communications; culture and information; defense; education; energy and mineral resources; finance and customs; foreign affairs; health; higher education; tourism and antiquities; interior; justice; labor and social development; municipal, rural, and environmental affairs; planning; religious affairs and holy places; supply; trade and industry; transportation; and youth. In 1989 the government also was served by a minister of state for prime ministerial affairs.

In 1986 the bureaucracy employed 109,523 Jordanians, making the government the principal employer in society. Selection generally was based upon merit, although patronage and nepotism remained fairly widespread. The government trained civil servants at a school of public administration in Amman, Jordan's capital. A majority of them were Palestinians who had opted for Jordanian citizenship; at the higher levels of the administrative hierarchy, however, Transjordanians probably outnumbered Palestinians. Allegiance to the monarchy and the Constitution remained an important factor in government service. In the aftermath of the Az Zarka affair in 1957 and the civil war of 1970 and 1971, numerous Palestinian civil servants were dismissed because of suspected disloyalty to the throne.

From the beginning of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank in June 1967 until Hussein relinquished Jordan's claim to sovereignty of the territory in July 1988, Amman continued to pay salaries and pensions to serving and retired West Bank municipal government employees. During this period, the West Bank came under the jurisdiction initially of the Bureau of Occupied Homeland Affairs, attached to the prime minister's office and headed by a cabinet-level minister; later this office became the Ministry of Occupied Territories. In addition to paying salaries, it was responsible for channeling Jordan's loans and development funds to Palestinian concerns in the West Bank. Following the decision at the Baghdad Summit meeting in November 1978 to set up a special fund for development and other projects in the Israeli-occupied territories, this ministry worked jointly with the PLO in administering aid funds for Palestinians in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. By 1988, when Jordan terminated payments, more than 20,000 West Bank Palestinians were estimated to be receiving salaries from the Jordanian government. All of these employees were granted retirement benefits or severance pay according to the number of years they had been municipal employees.


Jordan - The Legislature


Under the Constitution, the bicameral legislature is called the National Assembly and consists of the thirty-member appointed Senate (sometimes called the House of Notables) and the popularly elected House of Representatives (also called the Chamber of Deputies). Prior to July 1988, both houses had an equal number of representatives from each bank of the Jordan River. The Constitution stipulates that the size of the Senate cannot be more than half that of the lower house. Of the two chambers, the Senate is regarded as the more elite; but like the lower chamber, it has had little real influence in the legislative process. Although the House of Representatives was vested with more legislative power than the upper house, both chambers have been overshadowed by the executive side of government.

The senators are appointed by the king for four-year terms, with half the membership retiring every two years at the end of a senate session. A senator may be reappointed. Qualifications for a senator include a minimum age of forty years and prior government or military service in relatively senior positions. Senators have included present and past prime ministers, former members of the House of Representatives who had been elected at least twice, former senior judges and diplomats, and retired officers who have attained the rank of general.

Members of the House of Representatives are elected to fouryear terms by secret ballot. Candidates must be Jordanian citizens more than thirty years of age. Individuals representing foreign interests or having material interests in any government contract are disqualified. Also excluded are persons who have been debarred from public office or who have blood ties to the king within a prescribed degree of relationship. Ten of the eighty seats are reserved for minorities including Christians, beduins, and Circassians.

Voters must be at least nineteen years of age. Suffrage has been universal since 1973, when women were enfranchised. All Palestinian refugees who have adopted Jordanian citizenship enjoy equal voting privileges with Transjordanians.

Prior to the November 1989 elections, the last national elections for the House of Representatives had been held in April 1967. In 1970 Hussein cited the Israeli occupation of the West Bank as reason for postponing elections, but he decreed that serving members would continue in office until circumstances permitted the holding of new elections. The 1974 decision by Arab heads of state at a summit meeting in Rabat, Morocco, that the PLO was the sole representative of the Palestinian people raised questions about the political relationship of the West Bank to Jordan. In response to this decision, in November 1974 Hussein dissolved the House of Representatives, half of whose members represented the West Bank. Nevertheless, Hussein was reluctant to sever ties to the Israelioccupied territory, and subsequently he decreed that elections for a new house would be held in March 1976. Whether the elections would include or exclude the West Bank had serious consequences for Jordan's relations with the PLO. Moreover, some Arab states interpreted the Rabat decision to mean that Jordan should renounce its claims to the West Bank--an interpretation to which Hussein did not then subscribe. As the time for the elections drew near, Hussein decided that postponing the elections would be the prudent course to avoid foreclosing future political options. Consequently, in February 1976, he recalled the old house, with its West Bank members. It convened briefly to approve the indefinite suspension of elections for a new House of Representatives, then it adjourned.

In 1978, Hussein issued a royal decree that granted some legislative functions to a newly created sixty-member appointive body, the National Consultative Council (NCC). The NCC, which did not include any members from the West Bank, had a limited mandate to study, debate, and render advice on bills drafted by the Council of Ministers. The NCC possessed no authority, however, to make policy or to approve, amend, or reject any bill. The NCC provided advisory opinions to the Council of Ministers on general state policy when requested by the prime minister. The decree establishing it stated that the NCC would be "lawfully dissolved when the House of Representatives is elected and convened."

In January 1984, Hussein dismissed the NCC and reconvened the suspended National Assembly. He appointed new members to the Senate but called back those members of the House of Representatives who were serving when the lower house last met in 1976. By-elections were held in the East Bank in March to fill eight vacancies in the house that had resulted from the deaths of members since the 1967 elections. In accordance with a January 1984 constitutional amendment, the house also voted to fill seven vacant West Bank seats. In March 1986, the house approved a new electoral law that would increase its membership from 60 to 142; 71 members would be elected from the East Bank, 60 from the West Bank, and 11 from Palestinian refugee camps on the East Bank; this law was never implemented. In 1987 the government began registering Jordanians on the East Bank so that they could vote in parliamentary elections scheduled for 1988; these would have been the first national elections in more than twenty-one years. At the end of 1987, however, registration was halted and the king issued a royal decree that postponed elections for two years.

In July 1988, Hussein renounced Jordan's claims to the West Bank. In light of the new political situation, the king dissolved the House of Representatives. A royal decree issued in October postponed indefinitely elections for a reorganized legislature. A subsequent decree in December abolished the ministerial-level Office of Parliamentary Affairs. Following antigovernment riots in April 1989, however, outgoing Prime Minister Rifai promised that the interim government would concentrate on carrying out the long delayed parliamentary elections. In July Prime Minister Shakir scheduled the elections for November. They were the first national elections for the House of Representatives in more than twenty-two years.


Jordan - The Judiciary


The legal system of Jordan is based on sharia (Islamic law) and laws of European origin. During the nineteenth century, when Jordan was part of the Ottoman Empire, some aspects of European law, especially French commercial law and civil and criminal procedures, were adopted. English common law was introduced in the West Bank between 1917 and 1948, during most of which time the area was incorporated into the British-administered Mandate of Palestine, and introduced in the East Bank during the years 1921 to 1946, when the East Bank comprised the British Mandate of Transjordan. Under the Court Establishment Law of 1951 and the Constitution, the judiciary is independent. There are three kinds of courts: civil courts, religious courts, and special courts. The civil courts adjudicate all civil and criminal cases not expressly reserved to the religious or special courts.

The civil jurisdiction is exercised at four levels: the magistrates' courts, the courts of first instance, the Court of Appeal, and the Court of Cassation (the supreme court of the land). There are fourteen magistrates' courts throughout the country. They exercise jurisdiction in civil cases involving small claims of no more than JD250 (JD or Jordanian dinar) and in criminal cases involving maximum fines of JD100 or maximum prison terms of one year. The seven courts of first instance exercise general jurisdiction in all matters civil and criminal. A panel of three judges sits for all felony trials; two judges sit for misdemeanor and civil cases. The courts of first instance also exercise limited appellate jurisdiction in cases involving judgments or fines under JD20 and JD10 respectively.

There is a three-judge panel Court of Appeal that sits in Amman. Its appellate review extends to judgments of the courts of first instance, the magistrates' courts, and the religious courts. The highest court is the Court of Cassation in Amman; its president, who is appointed by the king, serves as the country's chief justice. All seven judges of the court sit in full panel when important cases are being argued. For most appeals, however, only five judges hear and rule on the cases.

The religious courts are divided into sharia courts for Muslims and ecclesiastical courts for the minority Christian communities. These courts are responsible for disputes over personal status (marriage, divorce, child custody, and inheritance) and communal endowment among their respective communities. One judge, called a qadi, sits in each sharia court and decides cases on the basis of Islamic law. Three judges, usually members of the clergy, sit in each ecclesiastical court and render judgments based on various aspects of canon law as interpreted by the Greek Orthodox, Melchite, Roman Catholic, and Anglican traditions. Appeals from the judgments of the religious courts are referred to the Court of Appeal sitting in Amman. If any dispute involves members of different religious communities, the civil courts have jurisdiction unless the parties mutually agree to submit to the jurisdiction of one of the religious courts. In case of jurisdictional conflicts between any two religious courts or between a religious court and a civil court, the president of the Court of Cassation appoints a three-judge special tribunal to decide jurisdiction or to hear the case.

Special courts include the High Tribunal (or High Council or Supreme Council), which interprets the Constitution at the request of the prime minister or of either chamber of the National Assembly; the Special Council, which may be called on by the prime minister to interpret any law that has not been interpreted by the courts of law; and the High Court of Justice, which is to be constituted when necessary by the Court of Cassation. The High Court of Justice hears habeas corpus and mandamus petitions and may issue injunctions involving public servants charged with irregularities; it is also empowered to try cabinet ministers charged with offenses. There is also a special court known as the Land Settlement Court. After 1976 when tribal law was abolished, tribal matters came under the formal jurisdiction of the regular courts, but adjudication apparently was still handled informally in traditional ways by local intermediaries or tribal authorities.


Jordan - Local Administration


In 1989 local government authorities were essentially an extension of the central government seated in Amman. Under the general supervision and control of the Ministry of Interior, the local units operated at the governorate (sing., Liwaa; pl., alwiyah), municipality, township and village (or town) levels. The East Bank was divided into the eight governorates of Amman, Al Balqa, Irbid, Az Zarqa, Al Mafraq, Al Karak, At Tafilah, and Maan. Each governorate was subdivided into districts (sing., qada) and subdistricts (sing., nahiya). The subdistricts comprised towns, villages, and rural areas. Each of the eight governorates was headed by an appointed commissioner. These commissioners were the principal agents of the king and supervised and coordinated the activities of various central government functions within their respective administrative divisions.

The basic administrative unit was the village or town. The towns and larger villages had municipal councils elected by popular vote. The normal practice was for the minister of municipal, rural, and environmental affairs to confirm as mayor the council member who received the highest number of votes in each municipal election. Smaller villages continued to be governed by traditional headmen known as mukhtars. The village and town authorities had limited responsibilities for administration of markets, law and order, sanitation, and other community activities.

The central government provided for local-level social services such as education, health, welfare, and public works. The multiplication and extension of government services during the 1970s and 1980s increased the influence of central authorities throughout the country. The elimination of tribal law in 1976 attested to the all-pervasiveness of central government penetration even in rural areas where tribal leaders traditionally had provided security and limited welfare services.




In 1989 the Jordanian political system continued to revolve around Hussein, who ruled firmly and tolerated no opposition. He had acceded to the throne in 1953, and the longevity of his tenure has been almost unparalleled in the contemporary Middle East. His reign, however, has been marked by numerous political crises: abortive coups, assassination attempts, and the disastrous consequences of the June 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Undoubtedly the most serious threat to his rule was the civil war with the PLO guerrillas in 1970 and 1971. Hussein's ability to remain in power for nearly four decades can be attributed to his own political acumen and a fortuitous combination of domestic and external situations. Nevertheless, the continued absence of institutions through which citizens could participate in the political process raised questions about the ultimate stability of his regime.

<>The Political Elite
<>Political Dissent and Repression
<>The Palestinians and the PLO


Jordan - The Political Elite


In 1989 Hussein remained the single most important person in Jordan's politics. His political preeminence derived in part from his skill in dealing with various domestic and external problems. He has traveled frequently to keep in touch with cross sections of the population and to establish rapport with his troops, with university students, and with members of tribes. Hussein's personalized approach has tended to counterbalance the virtual lack of independent, institutionalized channels that could serve as barometers of popular sentiments and attitudes toward the government. Also, Hussein's frequent visits to foreign capitals have enabled him to keep abreast of external developments and to obtain needed financial and technical assistance for his kingdom. His ability to maintain generally cordial relations with foreign states has been a critical asset for Jordan, in view of the country's heavy dependence on external aid.

Hussein has relied upon various political options to consolidate his power. He has used his constitutional authority to appoint principal government officials as a critical lever with which to reward loyalty and performance, neutralize detractors, and weed out incompetent elements. The Hussein-centered power structure comprised the cabinet ministers, members of the royal family, the palace staff, senior army officers, tribal shaykhs, and ranking civil servants. King Hussein has filled most of the sensitive government posts with loyal Transjordanians. Since the early 1950s, he also has appointed to responsible positions Palestinians supportive of the Hashimites. Beginning in the 1970s, he permitted an increasing number of Palestinians from families not traditionally aligned with the Hashimites to be co-opted into government service.

The Hashimites, the royal family headed by Hussein, form an extended kinship group related through marriage to several prominent Transjordanian families. The Hashimite family traces its ancestry back to the family of the Prophet, and for centuries it had been politically prominent in what is now Saudi Arabia. Abdullah ibn Hussein Al Hashimi (1882-1951), a son of Sharif Hussein of Mecca (1851-1931), established the Jordanian branch of the family in 1921 after Britain had created the Mandate of Transjordan and confirmed him as amir. London also permitted Abdullah's younger brother, Faisal (1885-1933), to assume the kingship of Iraq, another future state set up after World War I as a British-administered mandate. Abdullah changed his title from amir to king in 1946, when Transjordan was granted independence. Following his assassination in 1951, Abdullah's son Talal (1909- 1972) ruled briefly.

Hussein was Talal's oldest son. Before succeeding his father as king in 1953, Hussein was educated at Victoria College in Alexandria, Egypt and at Harrow School and the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, both in Britain. In 1955, Hussein married his first wife, Dina Abdul Hamid al Aun, an Egyptian of Hashimite ancestry. They had one daughter before their marriage ended in divorce. His second wife, Antoinette Gardiner of Britain, converted to Islam and took the name Muna al Hussein. She and Hussein had four children, two sons and twin daughters. Hussein divorced Princess Muna in 1973 and married his third wife, Palestinian Alia Tukan. Hussein and Queen Alia had one daughter and one son before her February 1977 death in a helicopter crash. In June 1978 Hussein married his fourth wife, Elizabeth Halaby, an American of Arab and Swiss descent. He proclaimed her Queen Nur al Hussein (light of Hussein). Hussein and Queen Nur have four children, two sons and two daughters. Throughout the 1980s, Queen Nur had a visible and active role promoting educational, cultural, social welfare, architectural, and urban planning projects in Jordan.

Hussein has two younger brothers and one sister. His brothers Muhammad and Hasan had significant political roles in 1989. The most important Hashimite after Hussein was Hasan, whom the king had designated as crown prince through royal decree in 1965. Muhammad was a businessman and was active politically behind the scenes. Families that were related to the Hashimites included the politically prominent Sharaf and Shakir families. Hussein's cousin, Sharif Abdul Hamid Sharaf, was a close political adviser throughout the 1970s and served briefly as prime minister before his death in 1980. Another member of the family, Layla Sharaf, was Jordan's first woman cabinet officer, serving as minister of culture and information in 1984-85. A third cousin, Field Marshal Ash Sharif Zaid ibn Shakir, was a longtime political confidant who served the king in many sensitive positions. In December 1988, Hussein appointed Shakir chief of the royal court and director of the secret police (Mukhabarat); beginning in late April 1989 he served for seven months as prime minister.

Hussein has been supported throughout his reign by the original Transjordanian population, particularly the beduin tribes who revered him as a descendant of the family of the Prophet Muhammad and as a ruler imbued with those qualities of leadership they valued most--courage, self-reliance, valor, and honesty. The beduin have formed a prominent segment within the army, especially among the senior ranks of the officer corps. Their loyalty helped Hussein survive a number of crises and thereby served as a stabilizing force within the country. Nevertheless, since the mid-1980s there has been evidence of erosion of beduin and Transjordanian support for Hussein's regime. Significantly, it was primarily East Bankers, rather than Palestinians, who participated in widespread antigovernment riots that swept several towns of Jordan in 1989.

Other politically influential individuals were affiliated with the old East Bank families. For example, Zaid ar Rifai, appointed prime minister in 1985, was the son of Samir ar Rifai, a politician who had served several terms as prime minister under the rule of Abdullah during the 1930s and 1940s and subsequently was a prime minister for Hussein. Many members of the Abdul Huda, Majali, Badran, Hashim, Tal, and Qassim families also served the Hashimites loyally.

Another element of the political elite were the non-Arab Circassians, the descendants of Muslim immigrants who came from the Caucasus Mountains in the late nineteenth century and settled in Amman and its environs. The Circassians allied with the Hashimites in the 1920s, and since that time leading Circassian politicians have held important and sensitive positions in the government and military. The Al Mufti family has been one of the most politically prominent Circassian families, and one of its members, Said al Mufti, served as prime minister.

In the 1980s, the influential scions of traditional and aristocratic Palestinian families known for their Hashimite sympathies were outnumbered by Transjordanians in almost all top government posts. The distinction between Transjordanians and Palestinians tended to be played down, however, because officially the Palestinians of the East Bank have been accepted as Jordanian citizens. Palestinians continued to hold an important place in society as leading merchants, financiers, professionals, educators, and technocrats.


Jordan - Political Dissent and Repression


All political parties were banned in 1957 and have been illegal since the establishment of martial law in 1967. In addition, Marxist-oriented parties were forbidden under the Anti-Communist Law of 1953. Evidence of illegal political activity is monitored by the Mukhabarat, or secret police. Persons suspected of engaging in political activities are arrested by the Mukhabarat and may be detained without charges for prolonged periods. In 1989 several Jordanian political parties existed in exile and were believed to have many secret sympathizers and underground cells operating in Jordan. These parties included the Arab Constitutionalist Party, the Communist Party of Jordan, the Palestine Communist Party, the Islamic Liberation Party, the National Jordanian Movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Unionist Democratic Association. In addition, the various Palestinian guerrilla organizations clandestinely recruited in the refugee camps.

Up to mid-1989, observers concluded that the Mukhabarat continued to be generally effective in discouraging the expression of political dissent or political activities within Jordan. It remained unclear how extensive the political liberalization inaugurated in the summer of 1989 would become and what role the Mukhabarat would have. It was also uncertain how greater tolerance of dissident views would affect political groups outside the country. As late as 1988, several Jordanian and Palestinian political groups engaged in terrorism directed against Jordanian officials and government offices. The Black September group, formed by Palestinians to avenge the Jordanian army attack on Palestinian guerrilla bases in Jordan in September 1970, remained committed to the overthrow of the Hashimite monarchy. Throughout the 1980s, it claimed responsibility for assassinations of Jordanian diplomats in various cities of Asia and Western Europe; in 1988 it claimed responsibility for several bombings that took place in Amman.

Although the government did not officially permit the banned political parties to participate in the fall campaign for the November 1989 House of Representatives elections, it ignored the claims of many candidates that they actually represented such parties. The campaign for the eighty contested seats was relatively free of voter intimidation, with the Mukhabarat keeping an uncharacteristically low profile. A total of 647 candidates took part, including several former political prisoners who were released from detention in the summer. The Muslim Brotherhood supported twenty-six candidates, of whom twenty actually won seats. Candidates affiliated with other Islamist groups won an additional fourteen seats. Thus, Islamists emerged as the largest bloc in Parliament, controlling more than 42 percent of the seats. Candidates representing various secular parties opposed to the government won a total of ten seats. As a result, the House of Representatives convened with a majority of forty-four members upon whom the government could not count for support, thirty-three government supporters, and three seats to be determined.


Jordan - The Palestinians and the PLO


Palestinians have been a complicating factor in the Jordanian political process since the annexation of the West Bank in 1950. Transjordanians tended to fear that the numerically preponderant Palestinians could emerge as a dominant force if competitive politics were permitted to resume. For years many Palestinians openly opposed Hussein's monarchical absolutism and demanded equality and proportional participation in the political process. Their frustrations under Hussein's rule, at least through the 1960s and early 1970s, provided a fertile ground for their empathy and support for the PLO. Since 1971, when the PLO guerrilla forces were crushed and driven out of Jordan, Palestinians generally have been politically dormant. Given the authorities' effective discouragement of political expression critical of the regime, it was difficult in 1989 to ascertain what the political aspirations or preferences of the Palestinians in Jordan might be.

The Palestinian equation became further complicated after October 1974 as external pressures were brought to bear on Jordan. The catalyst was the unanimous decision of the Arab states meeting in Rabat to recognize the PLO as the sole authorized representative of the Palestinian people. Strongly prodded by Egypt, Syria, and other Arab states, Hussein was obliged to assent to the Rabat decision although he still claimed the West Bank as Jordanian territory until 1988. This development has portended uncertain implications for Jordan's domestic politics and its relationship with the West Bank.

Following the Rabat Summit, Hussein and PLO leader Yasir Arafat met to reconcile relations, strained since the 1970-71 civil war. Their discussions resulted in the decision in early 1975 for Jordan and the PLO to cease mutual recriminations. Hussein rejected, however, a PLO demand that it be permitted to reestablish its military and political presence in the East Bank. After 1974 there was a noticeable resurgence of Palestinian empathy for and identification with the PLO in many parts of the world. This sentiment was nowhere more evident than in the West Bank. There, in the municipal elections that Israel permitted to be held in April 1976, candidates supporting the PLO defeated most of the candidates identified with Hussein. The outcome was a reversal of the municipal elections held in 1972, when pro-Hussein candidates handily won over pro-PLO candidates.

The process of reconciliation also was complicated by the linkage of the Jordanian-PLO equation to the broader configuration of Middle East problems. In March 1977, Hussein and Arafat met in Cairo as part of the Egyptian-Syrian efforts to prepare for an upcoming Geneva peace conference on the Middle East. The two leaders addressed, inter alia, the question of future relations between Jordan and a proposed Palestinian state on the West Bank. Their discussions focused on whether the PLO should be represented as an independent delegation at the conference in Geneva or as part of Jordan's delegation. The latter course was preferred by Hussein.

The Hussein-Arafat contact became more frequent in the wake of Egyptian president Anwar as Sadat's visit to Jerusalem in November 1977 and his signing of the United States-mediated Camp David Accords in 1978 and the Treaty of Peace Between Egypt and Israel in 1979. Nevertheless, Arafat and other PLO leaders were suspicious of Hussein's ultimate intentions vis-à-vis the Camp David Accords. Although Jordan had no part in the Egyptian-Israeli negotiations, it was directly linked to the process for settling the future of the West Bank. The first agreement, called "A Framework for Peace in the Middle East," stipulated that Egypt and Israel would negotiate with Jordan and Palestinian representatives for a transitional self-governing authority to administer the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, a noncontiguous Palestinian enclave on the Mediterranean Sea that also was occupied by Israel. Jordan declared it was neither legally nor morally obligated to this agreement and refused to participate in the negotiations, which consequently made no progress. Hussein's decision to maintain a dialogue with the United States, however, fueled the fears of some Palestinians that the monarch tacitly supported the Camp David Accords and was seeking ways to preclude the PLO from gaining control of the West Bank.

The expulsion of the PLO from Lebanon in the wake of Israel's 1982 invasion of that country brought the contradictory Jordanian and PLO objectives into open conflict. Initially, relations improved because Hussein agreed to accept a small contingent of expelled fighters and to permit the reopening of PLO political offices for the first time since the 1970-71 civil war. In several face-to-face meetings held between September 1982 and April 1983, Hussein and Arafat discussed Jordan's role in future negotiations over the fate of the West Bank. Because neither the United States nor Israel was willing to talk with the PLO at this time, Hussein tried to obtain Arafat's endorsement for Jordan to serve as spokesman for the Palestinians. More extreme Palestinian guerrilla leaders--often called "rejectionists" because they rejected any compromises that would circumscribe their goal of an independent Palestinian state that included all of pre-1948 Palestine-- distrusted Hussein and would not be assuaged by Arafat's reassurances. Without a broad-based consensus within the PLO, Arafat apparently felt he could not agree to a common negotiating strategy with Hussein. Consequently, Hussein broke off the talks in April 1983; for the remainder of the year, Jordan's relations with the PLO were strained.

Violent factional feuding engulfed the PLO beginning in May 1983, inducing the moderate elements (who generally coalesced around Arafat) to revive contacts with Hussein. By this time, Jordan had decided to assert its influence in the West Bank more aggressively, albeit within the limits tolerated by the Israeli occupation authorities. The National Assembly, dissolved following the Rabat decision in 1974, was recalled in January 1984 and deputies were appointed to fill vacant West Bank seats in the House of Representatives. Nevertheless, Hussein seemed to welcome the rapprochement with the moderate faction of the PLO and gave his blessing to the holding of a Palestine National Council (PNC) meeting in Amman in November 1984. The PNC meeting was an historic event that was broadcast on Jordanian television and picked up by viewers in the West Bank. The meeting strengthened Arafat's authority as leader of the PLO and enabled him to negotiate with Hussein without fear of the inevitable recriminations from extremist factions who had boycotted the Amman meeting.

Hussein and Arafat continued to cooperate after the PNC meeting, both leaders speaking of the need for Jordan and a Palestinian state to maintain a special relationship. In February 1985, they announced a joint Jordanian-Palestinian agreement on a peace framework. This agreement called for the convening of an international peace conference whose participants would include the five permanent members of the United Nations (UN) Security Council and all parties to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Although the PLO would represent Palestinians, its PLO delegates would not attend the conference separately but rather as part of a joint Jordanian- Palestinian contingent. The agreement stipulated that the Palestinian people would have the right to exercise national self- determination within the context of a proposed confederated state of Jordanians and Palestinians.

Following his agreement with Arafat, Hussein pursued two policies simultaneously. While trying to serve as a spokesman for the Palestinians in talks with the United States, and eventually even with Israeli politicians, Hussein also tried to persuade Arafat to make a public declaration of PLO support for UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, both of which implicitly recognized Israel's right to exist. Arafat, who still felt he had to be wary of the influence of the more extreme factions in the PLO, was unwilling to be pushed as far toward moderation as Hussein had hoped. The extremist guerrilla groups criticized Arafat for the agreement, claiming that it would deny Palestinians the right to establish a sovereign state within the pre-1948 boundaries of Palestine. Some of the extremists demonstrated their potential for undermining any possible compromise solutions by carrying out sensational terrorist acts in September and October of 1985. The international response to these incidents, especially the Israeli aerial bombing of PLO headquarters in Tunisia, increased Arafat's reluctance to make the political concessions that Hussein believed were required to obtain United States support for an international conference.

Hussein's disappointment in Arafat contributed to an erosion of their political relationship. In February 1986, Hussein announced that he was terminating the year-old Jordan-PLO agreement. Tensions with the PLO were exacerbated in May by the student demonstrations at Yarmuk University in the northern Jordanian city of Irbid. In July Hussein ordered the offices of Arafat's Al Fatah organization closed following criticisms of the harsh manner in which Jordanian security forces had put down the Yarmuk demonstrations.

During 1986 both Hussein and Arafat intensified their competition for influence in the West Bank. The king appeared to have the upper hand in this contest because Jordan's banking system controlled the disbursement of pan-Arab funds earmarked for West Bank (and also Gaza Strip) development projects. However, the Palestinian uprising, the intifadah, which began in December 1987, exposed the fragility of Hussein's influence in the occupied territories. It became obvious during the first half of 1988 that, compared with the PLO, pro-Hashimite sympathizers had little support. Hussein decided that political circumstances required a bold move that would preserve Jordan's interests. Thus, in July he renounced all claims to sovereignty over the West Bank. By doing so, Hussein apparently hoped to enhance the Jordanian position in a post-intifadah era. If the PLO succeeded in consolidating its influence in the occupied territories and in winning international support for its claim to rule the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, then Hussein's abdication of responsibility would stand Jordan in good stead. It would enable Jordan to forge political and economic links with a new state, which, because of its small area and lack of natural resources, would be dependent in various ways on its only neighbor to the east. If the PLO failed to deliver on the political aspirations being expressed by the intifadah, then Hussein would be ready to offer Jordan's services as negotiator in terminating the Israeli occupation.

The PLO accepted Hussein's challenge. Arafat met with the king during the late summer and early fall to discuss strategy. Among the practical measures agreed to was a scheme for the PLO to assume responsibility for payment of the salaries of West Bank and Gaza Strip municipal employees through Jordanian financial institutions. Subsequently, at an historic PNC meeting in Algiers in November 1988 at which all major factions were represented, the PNC declared the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to be the independent state of Palestine. The PNC also renounced the use of terrorism, accepted UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 (both of which recognized the existence of Israel), and declared its willingness to negotiate the end of the occupation. Jordan was one of the first nations to recognize the new state and announced its readiness to discuss how the two countries could maintain a special relationship.

In 1989 the PLO remained essentially an umbrella organization of numerous civilian and military groups. It was originally founded in 1964 as a political organization to represent the interests of Palestinians. The various Palestinian guerrilla groups were formed independently of the PLO, and they initially were critical of the PLO's objectives and policies. In 1968-69, however, most of the guerrilla groups joined the PLO, and their leaders assumed dominant roles in the organization. Although the PLO has greatly expanded its various service functions in the cultural, diplomatic, economic, educational, health, humanitarian, political, social, and welfare fields since 1969, for most Western observers these functions have been overshadowed by the military and terrorist activities associated with the guerrilla groups.

The PLO guerrilla groups recruited most of their fighters from the Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. Although some of these camps were established as early as 1948 and all have long since been transformed into permanent villages or urban neighborhoods, high levels of poverty and unemployment remain dominant characteristics. Many young men raised in these camps found the guerrillas' idealization of Palestinian nationalism and politico-military organization appealing alternatives to the despair fostered by routine idleness and lack of opportunity. Joining one of the guerrilla groups enabled such men to assert their identity and channel their energies. Although the various guerrilla organizations differed in temperament, ideology, and tactics, they all shared the objective of establishing an independent Palestinian state.

The oldest, largest, and best equipped of the PLO guerrilla groups was Al Fatah--the Palestine National Liberation Movement as the group was officially known. Arafat (also called Abu Ammar) has led Al Fatah since its formation in 1957. Since 1969, Arafat has also been chairman of the PNC's fifteen-member Executive Committee- -and hence the dominant figure of the PLO leadership. For more than thirty years, Al Fatah has been a coalition of moderate, conservative, and radical nationalists who accepted the tactical necessity of cooperating with Arab governments, including those they regarded as reactionary, to help achieve their goals. Predominantly Muslim in membership, Al Fatah generally has eschewed commitment to radical ideologies such as Islamic revolution or Marxism and refrained from interference in the internal affairs of Arab states.

The progressive moderation of Al Fatah's goals after 1973 led to major splits within the organization. The original objective to liberate all of pre-1948 Palestine was replaced in 1974 with the aim of establishing a transitional state on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Sabri Khalil al Banna, known by his code name of Abu Nidal, vehemently opposed this change. Abu Nidal and a small group of his supporters defected from Al Fatah and formed the Al Fatah Revolutionary Council. A more serious split occurred in 1983 when Said Musa Muragha (also known as Abu Musa) organized Al Fatah fighters in Lebanon who feared Arafat's reconciliation with Egypt would lead eventually to recognition of Israel. The supporters of Arafat and Abu Musa fought each other for control of Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon during 1983 and 1984, with heavy casualties on both sides. The anti-Arafat forces received support from Syria that helped them expel Arafat loyalists from camps in areas occupied by the Syrian army. Abu Musa and the Al Fatah dissidents eventually formed a new group called Al Fatah Uprising.

From a tactical and ideological standpoint, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) was the principal counterpoint to Al Fatah. George Habash and Ahmad Jibril founded the PFLP after the June 1967 War. The PFLP was a consciously Marxist-Leninist organization. It defined as enemies not just Israel and Zionism, but also imperialism and the Arab regimes that cooperated with the United States, the country it proclaimed to be the main imperialist power. It called such Arab regimes reactionary, advocated their overthrow, and the establishment of progressive, democratic, and secular governments in all Arab states, including Palestine. Habash and the other PFLP leaders soon were divided, however, on the issue of whether armed struggle or political considerations should take precedence in achieving their objectives. Jibril broke with Habash in 1968 and formed a rival organization, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine- General Command (PFLP-GC), which placed primary emphasis on armed struggle. The following year Nayif Hawatmah, who was an East Bank Jordanian, also split from the PFLP and organized the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP). Hawatmah's DFLP tended to stress exploring political options before resorting to armed struggle.

The PFLP, PFLP-GC, and DFLP held attitudes toward reactionary Arab regimes that precluded cooperation with Hussein, whose government they regarded as a prime candidate for revolutionary overthrow. Their openly professed ideology and maintenance of armed bases within Jordan's Palestinian refugee camps were major factors in precipitating the 1970 conflict between the guerrillas and the Jordanian army. After the guerrillas were suppressed, Habash, Hawatmah, and Jibril remained hostile and unforgiving toward Hussein. When Arafat began the process of reconciliation with Hussein in 1973, they opposed any PLO ties or even dialogue with Jordan and publicly called for Hussein's overthrow. Habash and Jibril were the principal organizers in 1974 of the rejectionist front of guerrilla groups, which refused to accept the PLO decision to establish a Palestinian state on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The rejectionists were those groups that rejected any negotiations or compromises with Israel and insisted on using armed struggle to liberate all of historic Palestine. In 1983 Jibril supported Abu Musa and the Al Fatah dissidents, joining with them to form the National Alliance, which opposed any diplomatic initiatives or cooperation with Hussein.

In addition to Al Fatah and the Marxist groups, several smaller guerrilla organizations were active in 1989. The most important of these were As Saiqa, the Arab Liberation Front (ALF), the Popular Struggle Front (PSF), and the Palestine Liberation Front (PLF). As Saiqa was formed in 1968 in Damascus and has continued to be politically and financially dependent upon Syria. Palestinians who lived outside of Syria generally perceived As Saiqa as a tool of the Syrian government. As Saiqa's counterpart was the ALF, formed in Baghdad in 1969. In the 1970s, the ALF supported the rejectionist front, as did Iraq. In the 1980s, however, the ALF aligned itself with Arafat's Al Fatah, a position consistent with that of Iraq. The PSF has consistently advocated armed struggle since it was founded in 1967. Prior to 1980, the PSF was supported by Iraq, but since 1980 Syria has been its principal backer. The PLF was formed in 1977 as a result of a split within the PFLP-GC. Originally part of the rejectionist front, since 1983 it has been one of the groups trying to effect a reconciliation between Arafat and Abu Musa.

The PLO's organizational equivalent to a parliament was the Palestine National Council (PNC), in 1989 based in Algiers. The PNC's 301 deputies represented the Palestinian diaspora. Included among them were representatives of the Palestinian parties (the political wings of the various guerrilla groups); the six guerrilla groups which accept the policies of the PLO (Al Fatah, PFLP, DFLP, ALF, PLF, and the Palestine Communist Party); student and educational groups; youth and women's groups; professional associations; labor unions; and the Palestine Red Crescent Society. In addition, the Palestinian communities in various Arab and non- Arab countries were represented.

The PNC was supposed to meet once a year, but political complications often forced the postponement of annual gatherings. The factional strife that plagued the PLO following the sixteenth PNC conclave in February 1983 prevented convening a full session for four years. Although a PNC meeting was held in Amman in November 1984, its legitimacy was questioned because several of the guerrilla leaders, including Habash of the PFLP and Hawatmah of the DFLP, refused to attend. The eighteenth PNC, which met in Algiers in April 1987, represented the first effort to heal the rift in the PLO and achieve a consensus on policy. Although the PFLP-GC, As Saiqa, the PSF, and the Abu Musa faction did not participate, the PFLP, DFLP, and the Palestine Communist Party--the three guerrilla groups that, like Al Fatah, had a reputation for independence of Arab governments--did attend and agreed to accept PNC decisions. Abu Nidal also attended the eighteenth PNC. However, the other leaders voted not to grant his group representation on the PNC because they believed his reputation as a notorious terrorist would tarnish the PLO's image at a time when the organization was seeking diplomatic support for an international peace conference.

The 1987 PNC meeting adopted several significant resolutions pertaining to the PLO's conflict with Israel. It voted to endorse an international peace conference on the basis of UN General Assembly resolutions that recognized the PLO and the right of the Palestinians to self-determination; it called for PLO participation in such a conference as a full partner, and not as part of a Jordanian delegation; it abrogated the PLO-Jordan accord of 1985, but also advocated maintaining "special" ties between Jordanians and Palestinians; and it authorized the PLO to develop relations with groups in Israel that supported Palestinian self- determination. These decisions were a prelude to the even more significant resolutions that were passed at the historic nineteenth PNC meeting in Algiers in November 1988.

Between PNC congresses, the Palestine Central Committee (PCC), created in 1973, set policies and carried out specific programs and actions undertaken by the PLO's cabinet, the fifteen-member Executive Committee. The PCC's actual function, however, was limited to a consultative role; its sixty members, appointed by the PNC based on the recommendation of the Executive Committee, included representatives from the Executive Committee and the major guerrilla groups. The PNC's speaker or chairman presided over PCC meetings. The legislative and executive functions of these top PLO bodies were in accordance with the principles and policies contained in three key documents: the Palestinian National Charter; the Fifteen-Point Political Program; and the National Unity Program.

Although the PNC was officially described as the highest policymaking body and supreme organ of the PLO, the real center of power was the fifteen-member Executive Committee. The committee's members were elected by and collectively responsible to the PNC. The manner of their election ensured representation of the major guerrilla and political groups on the committee. Arafat was re- elected chairman of the Executive Committee in 1988, a position he has held since 1969. Al Fatah had three seats on the committee; in addition, Arafat generally obtained the support of the seven "independents," the committee members who were not affiliated with any of the guerrilla groups.

The administration of the PLO was grouped under nine main functions that were carried out in different countries depending on local Palestinian needs. These were supported by funds collected and distributed by the PLO's treasury and financial arm, the Palestine National Fund. The fund obtained its revenues from payments made by Arab governments in accordance with agreements made at the summit level (i.e., the Baghdad Summit of 1978); from voluntary contributions by Palestinians; from the 3 to 6 percent income tax levied by some Arab states on the salaries of resident Palestinian workers; and from loans and grants by Arab as well as non-Arab countries. Iraq and Syria provided financial aid directly to particular guerrilla groups despite persistent efforts by the PLO to terminate this practice and to centralize fund-raising and fund-distributing procedures.

In 1989 the PLO maintained "diplomatic" missions in more than 120 countries that recognized it as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. Although the PLO had not proclaimed a government-in-exile for the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, more than twenty-five countries recognized it as the de jure government of the independent state of Palestine, declared at the 1988 PNC meeting in Algiers. The PLO has maintained a mission at UN headquarters in New York since being granted observer status in 1974. The PLO also operated numerous "information offices" in the major cities of the world. In 1988 the United States government ordered the closure of PLO's information office in Washington.

The PLO's nearest equivalent to a Red Cross Society was called the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS). The PRCS supported hospitals and clinics for Palestinians in Arab countries as well as in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Prior to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, the PRCS operated ten major hospitals and eleven clinics in that country. These facilities provided a broad- range of medical services to Palestinian refugees at no cost or for nominal fees. The hospitals and clinics were severely damaged during the occupation of south Lebanon and the siege of Beirut. Since 1983, the periodic fighting in Lebanon has seriously impeded the PRCS's efforts to reconstruct medical centers and provide health services.

The PLO also sponsored numerous educational and cultural projects and operated an economic enterprise called the Palestine Martyrs' Works Society, better known by its Arab acronym SAMED, which ran small factories. SAMED's workshops produced such items as blankets, tents, uniforms, civilian clothes, shoes, handicrafts, furniture, and toys. SAMED was originally established in 1970 to provide vocational training for the children of Palestinian men and women killed in service to the Palestinian national cause. After 1976 SAMED decided to accept any Palestinian needing employment if work were available. Most SAMED workshops were in the refugee camps in northern Lebanon and thus were not affected by the Israeli invasion of south Lebanon in 1982. SAMED workshops and activities were disrupted, however, during the 1983-84 fighting between Arafat loyalists and dissidents in Palestinian camps in northern Lebanon.

The military function of the PLO was under the supreme command of the chairman of the Executive Committee. The PLO's regular military arm was called the Palestine Liberation Army (PLA). Its units were stationed in various Arab countries where they coordinated their activities with those of Arab armies. The coordination was centrally handled by the Palestinian Armed Struggle Command, which also was responsible for law and order among Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria.




Jordan's foreign policy has been a function mainly of its response to developments in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Its generally moderate and carefully measured response has been based on its appraisal that effective Arab unity is a precondition for substantive peace negotiations with Israel. The persistence of intra-Arab differences over the form and substance of pan-Arab cooperation has constrained Jordan to steer a flexible and prudent course. In addition, the scarcity of domestic resources and the consequent heavy dependence on outside powers for economic and military support have contributed to Jordan's caution in foreign policy. Moreover, the PLO's enhanced stature since the mid-1970s as a key factor in the processes of Middle East reconciliation and peace has been a further compelling reason for Jordan's generally pragmatic responses to an uncertain foreign policy milieu.

<>Relations with Israel
<>Relations with the Arab States
<>Relations with the United States


Jordan - Relations with Israel


In 1989 Jordan still refrained from establishing diplomatic relations with Israel. The absence of formal relations notwithstanding, the two countries had cooperated directly or indirectly since 1967 in a multiplicity of matters pertaining to the West Bank, the Israeli-occupied territory whose Palestinian population retained Jordanian citizenship until 1988. Hussein's aim was to maintain influence and eventually regain control of the West Bank, a goal that had not been realized by 1988, when he renounced Jordan's claim to sovereignty of the area. Hussein's ambitions were frustrated by Israel's unwillingness to negotiate seriously any withdrawal from the West Bank and by the increasing popularity of the PLO. As early as 1974, Israel's refusal to consider a United States-mediated disengagement agreement with Jordan, similar to the ones that had then been concluded with Egypt and Syria, weakened Hussein's image as a leader who could recover occupied Arab land. Israel's refusal also helped to strengthen pan-Arab support for the PLO's claim to represent West Bank Palestinians. Later that year, Arab heads of state meeting in a summit conference in Rabat, Morocco, agreed to recognize the PLO's right to establish an independent state in the West Bank once the latter was liberated from Israel.

Although Hussein paid lip service to the 1974 Rabat decision, he continued to hope Jordan would recover the West Bank. His hopes were nurtured by Israel's refusal to deal with the PLO. To maximize Jordan's political leverage from the new situation, Hussein pursued simultaneously a highly visible policy of reconciliation with the PLO and a less perceptible policy of cultivating pro-Hashimite politicians in the West Bank. The measures intended to preserve Jordan's traditional links to the West Bank actually were undertaken with the tacit approval of Israel. These measures included authorizing the continuation of the long-standing economic and family ties between the East and West banks under the "open bridges" policy; continuing payment (until 1988) of salaries to Palestinian officials on the government payroll before and since 1967; strengthening economic links by increased imports from the West Bank and by continued extension of development grants and loans to Palestinian firms in the West Bank; and providing government guarantees for private Jordanian loans to West Bank municipalities.

After 1977, when Egypt's President Anwar as Sadat initiated direct negotiations with Israel that led to a separate peace agreement (and Egypt's temporary ostracism from the Arab world), Hussein was unwilling to follow Sadat's lead without prior pan-Arab acquiescence. Hussein apparently believed that in the absence of broad Arab support to legitimize any political talks with Israel, his own rule in the East Bank could be threatened. Consequently, he refused to participate in the Camp David process and was skeptical of President Reagan's 1982 proposal for a West Bank "entity" in association with Jordan. Israel's rejection of the Reagan Plan provided Hussein the boon of not needing to respond to an initiative that the Palestinians claimed would deny them genuine self-determination. Two years later, when Shimon Peres became prime minister of Israel, in September 1984, he offered to negotiate directly with Jordan without the participation of the PLO. Hussein decided the state of pan-Arab politics precluded his consideration of a "Jordanian option" at that time. Instead, he called for an international peace conference that would include a joint JordanPLO delegation. Hussein perceived an international forum that brought together both the United States and the Soviet Union as well as the principal Arab states and Israel as a protective umbrella under which he could enter into negotiations with the Israelis.

Peres, whose Labor Party was willing to consider Israeli withdrawal from at least part of the West Bank, endorsed Hussein's idea of an international peace conference in an October 1985 speech before the United Nations. Subsequently, he initiated secret meetings with Hussein to discuss procedures for convening such a conference and ways to finesse the issue of PLO participation. Peres opposed the presence of the PLO at a possible conference, but did not object to non-PLO representatives of Palestinians attending. Hussein was not able to obtain firm Israeli commitments, however, because Peres's coalition partner, Likud Bloc leader Yitzhak Shamir, opposed the convening of an international conference and prevented the government from achieving consensus on the issue. After Shamir became prime minister in late 1986, Peres, as foreign minister, continued his diplomatic efforts on behalf of an international conference. Peres had at least one publicized meeting with Hussein in London, but he lacked support from his own government. Hussein, who believed that Peres was interested in substantive negotiations over the West Bank while Shamir was not, took the unprecedented step during the Israeli elections of 1988 of announcing that a Labor Party victory would be better for the peace process.


Jordan - Relations with the Arab States


In 1989 Jordan maintained relatively cordial relations with most other Arab states. Jordan's closest ties were with Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. King Hussein made frequent trips to these countries to confer with their leaders on regional and international strategy. Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and other Arab oilproducers provided Jordan with financial aid in accordance with guidelines originally agreed on at the November 1978 Baghdad Summit. The total amount of these grants had declined dramatically by 1984 because of the budgetary problems that depressed oil prices caused in petroleum-producing countries. Nonetheless, they remained an important source of total government revenue for Jordan.

Jordan's close relations with Iraq developed as a result of Hussein's strong support for President Saddam Husayn during the latter's eight-year war with Iran (1980-88). The monarch's ardent backing of Saddam was attributable at least in part to his fears that a collapse of the Iraqi regime could result in Jordan's eastern neighbor being ruled by a radicalized Shia religious government allied to Iran. The relationship also benefited Jordan in various ways. For example, Jordan's only port, Al Aqabah, served throughout the war as a major transshipment center for Iraqi imports. Goods off-loaded at Al Aqabah were trucked overland to Iraq by Jordanian transportation companies, in the process generating local employment, handling fees, and profitable business. Jordan also exported a variety of light consumer goods to Iraq, although the value and volume of this trade fluctuated in accordance with Iraqi foreign exchange problems. Both during and after the war, Iraq, whose army used primarily Soviet-made equipment, periodically gave to Jordan United States- and Britishmade military hardware captured from Iran, including at least sixty United States-manufactured M-47 tanks.

In 1984 Jordan became the first Arab state to reestablish diplomatic relations with Egypt. Hussein had begun advocating Egypt's reintegration into the Arab community of nations as early as 1981. The king perceived Egypt as an effective bulwark against the spread of radical Islamic political movements that he believed were being engendered by the Iran-Iraq War. Following the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon and the expulsion of the PLO from that country, unofficial consultations with Egypt on regional security issues became routine. PLO chief Arafat's trip to Egypt in December 1983--the first by an Arab leader since the Baghdad Summit of November 1978--paved the way for Jordan's resumption of official relations without fear of being branded a traitor to Arab nationalism.

Following the reestablishment of diplomatic relations, Jordan and Egypt became extremely close allies. Hussein frequently praised Egyptian president Husni Mubarak as one of the Arab world's great leaders. Mubarak supported Hussein's pro-Iraq policy, his efforts to involve moderate Palestinians in the peace process, and his call for an international peace conference. Hussein and Arafat met several times on "neutral" Egyptian territory; when their personal relations were tense, such as in 1986-87, Mubarak mediated and kept them on civil terms. Hussein reciprocated Mubarak's diplomatic support by trying to persuade other Arab heads of state that Egypt should be readmitted to the League of Arab States (Arab League). In February 1989 Egypt and Jordan joined with Iraq and the Yemen Arab Republic (North Yemen) to form a new Arab Cooperation Council, a regional organization modeled after the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Jordan's relations with Syria were correct in 1989, although there had been considerable strain between them during most of the previous two decades. In September 1970, a Syrian military unit had crossed into Jordan to aid the Palestinian guerrillas who were fighting the Jordanian army. The Syrian force was repulsed, but relations remained tense and were severed in July 1971. Relations with Syria improved briefly following the October 1973 War, but deteriorated again by the late 1970s. Syria apparently feared Hussein's close ties with Washington would involve Jordan in the Camp David process. When religiously inspired disturbances broke out in Aleppo and other Syrian cities during the winter of 1979-80, the government immediately suspected--and accused--Jordan of complicity. In addition, Syria had a bitter rivalry with Iraq. Damascus perceived Amman's support of Iraq in that country's war with Iran (initiated by an Iraqi invasion of Iran in September 1980) as confirmation of conspiracy theories about Baghdad trying to encircle Syria. By the end of 1980, relations between Jordan and Syria had deteriorated to such an extent that military clashes appeared possible along the common border where both countries had massed troops. The escalating tension eventually was defused by Saudi Arabian diplomatic intervention, although relations remained strained.

Jordan broke diplomatic relations with Syria in 1981, charging Damascus with plotting to assassinate its prime minister and kidnapping its ambassador to Lebanon. For the next five years, the two neighbors were estranged. Amman accused Syria of assisting radical Palestinian groups who carried out several political killings of Jordanian diplomats in Europe and the Middle East. Tentative efforts to improve relations in 1983-84 were aborted by Syrian denunciation of Jordan's resumption of relations with Egypt. Finally, in the fall and winter of 1985-86, Saudi Arabia mediated reconciliation talks that led to a restoration of diplomatic ties. In May 1986, the Jordanian prime minister became the first highranking official from Amman to visit Syria since 1977. Relations between Jordan and Syria gradually improved since then.

Jordan maintained cordial relations with the Arab states of the Persian Gulf in 1989. These countries--Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates--were collectively Jordan's most important source of foreign financial aid. The level of their assistance, especially that from Kuwait, has fallen, however, since 1981. Thousands of Jordanians and Palestinians holding Jordanian passports continued to work in the Persian Gulf in business, government, education, and engineering. The remittances they sent to their families in Jordan, especially those living in the refugee camps, represented a significant proportion of Jordan's foreign exchange earnings. The Persian Gulf countries also were markets for Jordanian agricultural and consumer exports.

Jordan's relations with the other Arab states--excepting Libya- -were generally good in 1989. Tensions existed over economic policy between Jordan and Morocco, however, as both countries exported phosphates. The amount of Jordan's reserves of these minerals and the value of its exports were significantly less than those of Morocco, a major international producer. Jordan, which traditionally exported its phosphates to Southeast Asia, complained that Morocco had stolen its Asian markets between 1985 and 1987 by deliberately selling its phosphates at prices lower than it cost Jordan to mine and transport the minerals.

Jordan had a history of tense relations with Libya, deriving from Libyan support since 1970 for Palestinian guerrilla groups opposed to Hussein. The most serious incident between the two countries occurred in February 1984, when the Jordanian embassy in Tripoli was destroyed during demonstrations organized by the Libyan government to protest Hussein's support of Arafat and his call for reconciliation with Egypt. Jordan broke diplomatic relations following this episode. In 1988 Jordan received a Libyan delegation sent to Amman to discuss normalizing relations between the two countries.


Jordan - Relations with the United States


Although Amman established diplomatic relations with Washington in 1949, the United States did not become actively involved in Jordan until 1957, when it replaced Britain as the Hashimite Kingdom's principal Western source of foreign aid and political support. Jordan and the United States never entered into treaty commitments, but Washington's policy was to ensure Jordan's continued independence and stability. Thus, the United States assisted Jordan in equipping and training its military forces. During the civil war of 1970-71, the United States firmly supported Hussein, although it did not become directly involved in the conflict. After Jordan's army had defeated the PLO guerrillas, Washington extended substantial budgetary and military aid to the Hashimite Kingdom. This aid contributed significantly toward Jordanian recovery from the damages suffered not only in the civil war but also in the June 1967 War and during the intensive Israeli shelling of the Jordan valley between 1968 and 1970. Hussein's close alignment with the United States before and after the civil war predictably aroused strong anti-American sentiment among Palestinians in Jordan and elsewhere.

The October 1973 War, in which Jordan was not a direct participant, brought Jordan and the United States much closer in the peace process that began after the conflict. Jordan joined with the United States in support of UN Security Council Resolution 338. This resolution called on the parties involved in the October 1973 War to cease their hostilities and to implement UN Security Council Resolution 242 of 1967 providing for a peace based on Israeli withdrawal from occupied territories. Hussein hoped to obtain American backing for a return of the West Bank to Jordanian control. His expectations were buoyed by Washington's success in negotiating disengagement and limited withdrawal of forces agreements between Egypt and Israel and Syria and Israel.

The failure of the United States during 1974 to persuade Israel to pull back its forces from part of the West Bank as an initial step toward a peace agreement with Jordan disillusioned Hussein with respect to the ability of the Americans to pressure Israel on the issue of withdrawal from the occupied Palestinian territories. Although he continued to value Washington's reaffirmations of support for Jordan's security and economic progress, Hussein became increasingly skeptical of American assurances that the West Bank would be reunited with the East Bank. Consequently, he refrained from participation in the Camp David process, which he was convinced would be used by Israel to perpetuate its control of the West Bank. After Egyptian and Israeli negotiations on the autonomy plan had stalled, Hussein tried to rekindle United States interest in an international conference to deal with territory for the Palestinians.

Throughout the 1980s, the United States continued to assign Jordan a key role in a resolution of the status of the West Bank. Hussein believed, however, that Washington did not understand how essential it was for the stability of his regime to regain full control over all of the West Bank and how politically dangerous it would be for him to agree to any partial measures. For example, Hussein did not publicly criticize President Reagan's September 1982 proposal for Middle East peace: but since this plan restricted self-determination for Palestinians on the West Bank to an "autonomous authority" in association with Jordan, he regarded American expectation of his endorsement as unrealistic. Hussein accepted that political developments since 1974 made it impossible to ignore the PLO in any peace negotiations. Thus, one of his policy aims vis-à-vis the United States became to convince Washington to deal--at least unofficially--with the PLO. From the end of 1982 until the end of 1988, Hussein served as an intermediary between the United States and the PLO, attempting to get both parties to make the kind of political concessions that were necessary before a dialogue could be initiated.

During the early 1980s, Hussein seriously considered expanding Jordan's military relations with the United States. He gave tentative approval for the creation of an unpublicized 8,000-strong Jordanian strike force that would respond to requests for assistance from Arab countries within a 2,400-kilometer radius of Jordan. The intended target of this special force was to be the Persian Gulf, where the traditional allies of both Jordan and the United States feared the potentially destabilizing consequences of the Iran-Iraq War. The United States agreed to provide the special Jordanian unit with weapons and other military equipment. In an apparent effort to obtain approval of the United States Congress for the extra funding needed to arm the strike force, in early 1984 the Reagan administration disclosed its formation. This unexpected disclosure caused consternation in Amman, and news of the Jordanian strike force provoked harsh criticism from Syria and from Palestinian guerrilla groups opposed to Hussein. In order to minimize negative repercussions, Hussein tried to distance his country from the strike force by portraying it as a United States initiative in which Jordan had no real interest or substantive involvement. Congress did not approve the requested funds, and the plan was subsequently abandoned.

Hussein's disappointment with American policy increased when Congress later refused to authorize selling weapons to Jordan and voted to reduce the amount of aid the administration requested as punishment for its perception that Amman had failed to cooperate with Israel. Hussein resented these measures because he believed he had exerted great efforts in persuading Palestinian and other Arab leaders to adopt more moderate and flexible positions and had himself agreed to several private meetings with Peres. In 1989 Jordan's relations with the United States remained friendly and cooperative in economic and military matters but were clouded by Hussein's lack of confidence in Washington's policy toward Israel and the occupied territories.


Jordan - MEDIA


In 1989 Jordan had four daily newspapers, all published in Amman. One, The Jordan Times, was printed in English. The three Arabic dailies were Sawt ash Shab (Voice of the People), Ar Rai (Opinion), and Ad Dustur (The Constitution). The press was mostly privately owned and subject to censorship. The Arabic-language papers had been suspended at various times throughout the 1980s for publishing articles that the government considered objectionable. In 1988 the government ordered the dissolution of the board of directors of all three Arabic papers. The Ministry of Culture and Information was responsible for most press censorship on a daily basis and frequently provided editors with guidance on how to report on sensitive foreign policy and security matters. In practice, editors generally exercised self-censorship to minimize conflicts with the authorities.

The government also tried to control individual journalists by rewarding those deemed cooperative and by punishing those whose stories it considered critical. The most common punishment was the withdrawal of government-issued press credentials, which all writers were required to have in order to work for a newspaper or news agency. This procedure was used to prevent several journalists (including a principal writer for The Jordan Times) from publishing during 1987 and 1988. Journalists also have been subjected to house arrest. In June 1987, the government dissolved the Writers' Association, a professional organization of journalists, charging that it had become a political group and had contacts with illegal parties. The Ministry of Culture and Information subsequently sponsored an official union, the Journalists' Association, and required all writers to join it.

The government attempted to discourage the Arabic press of East Jerusalem from publishing critical stories, especially about Hussein's relations with the PLO, by such means as banning single issues of papers and magazines, refusing to renew the passports of West Bank journalists, and sending messages through discreet channels that certain writers or editors would be arrested if they entered Jordan. Foreign publications and journalists also were banned when their articles criticized Jordan. In 1986 Western correspondents expressed concern about the government's interference with press freedom during and after the disturbances at Yarmuk University. In 1988 the government expelled an American correspondent for National Broadcasting Company (NBC) because he had reported on political repression in Jordan.

The government operated an official news agency known as PETRA. Several international news services maintained offices in Amman, including Agence France-Presse, Associated Press, Reuters, and TASS. Radio and television broadcasting were controlled by the government. Jordan Radio and Television had twenty hours of Arabic radio programs daily, and fifteen hours in English. There were an estimated 550,000 privately owned radio receivers in 1985, the latest year for which statistics were available. Jordan Radio and Television also broadcast ninety hours weekly of television programs in Arabic and English. In 1985 there were an estimated 280,000 television sets in the country. Both radio and television accepted advertisements.


Jordan - Bibliography

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CITATION: Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress. The Country Studies Series. Published 1988-1999.

Please note: This text comes from the Country Studies Program, formerly the Army Area Handbook Program. The Country Studies Series presents a description and analysis of the historical setting and the social, economic, political, and national security systems and institutions of countries throughout the world.

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