Jordan: Stability and instability in the Hashemite Kingdom

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This article is featured in the ORIENT IV 2019

June 2019 marked the twentieth year of the reign of King Abdullah II in Jordan. In these two decades, Jordan has faced no shortage of internal and external challenges, including the regional ‘Arab Spring’ in 2011-2012. But the last several years have been particularly trying, especially with the emergence of the Trump administration in the United States, shifts in key regional alliances and alignments, and worsening economic conditions. Traditional allies like the US, Saudi Arabia and the UAE seemed to partially sideline Jordan with a ‘deal of the century’ in mind, and many Jordanians worried that any ‘peace’ deal might come at their expense. Meanwhile Jordan’s longstanding economic and fiscal crises had grown even worse, with Jordanians lamenting unemployment, inflation, and corruption in public life. Many have taken to the streets in protests, demonstrations, and strikes to make clear their dissatisfaction with the status quo. Even as Jordanians feared that their own allies might sell them out in any potential US-brokered ‘peace’ deal, the kingdom faced deepening crises from within and from without. This article examines the question of stability in Jordan, including the economic and political challenges to its internal stability, as well as the impact of external challenges to that stability.

Curtis R. Ryan is a Professor of Political Science at Appalachian State University in North Carolina. He has written extensively on international relations in the Middle East, on inter-Arab relations, alliance politics, and on Jordanian domestic politics and foreign policy. He is the author of three books: Jordan in Transition: From Hussein to Abdullah (Lynne Rienner, 2002), Inter-Arab Alliances: Regime Security and Jordanian Foreign Policy (University Press of Florida, 2009), and most recently, Jordan and the Arab Uprisings: Regime Survival and Politics Beyond the State (Columbia University Press, 2018).

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