Playing a weak hand well Jordan’s Hashemite kings and the United States (Bruce Riedel, Brookings)

The American interaction with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has revolved around two men, King Hussein, and his son King Abdallah. Both have ruled a Jordan that is surrounded by ambitious states, some with rapacious designs on Jordan’s territory over the years. Syria has longed to reunite Jordan with its traditional Syrian homeland. Iraq has had designs on the whole country. Saudi Arabia has sought to gain Aqaba and Ma’an in the south. Egypt sought for years to absorb Jordan into the United Arab Republic. Israel has taken the West Bank and contemplated taking the Jordanian Golan.

All of Jordan’s neighbors have stronger economies and bigger militaries. Jordan is bereft of natural resources aside from its fabulous archaeological sites in Jerash and Petra. It is very dependent on outside aid, first from Great Britain, then from America and the Gulf states. It still is dependent on outside assistance to maintain its small but effective army and air force and to keep the economy stable.

Playing a weak hand well: Jordan’s Hashemite kings and the United States (