Tag Archives: King Abdullah II


BLOG 525

July 11, 2021


Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.


I first visited Jordan in 1968. The country was struggling and many conditions were the same as they had been in 1200 A.D., but the people were warm and friendly. Little did I know that two of my sons would someday teach at the University of Aman and I would have a Jordanian daughter-in-law. Consequently, I have had a concern and interest in the Hashemite Kingdom during all of these following decades. During this period, Yashar Arafat attempted to move the Palestinians into Jordan while he had visions of taking over the country. It took the Jordanian Army to finally drive the Palestinians out. Native Jordanians have remained a proud people.  However, lately there have been a number of struggles.

This past week both Israel and the United States made major gestures to Jordan and its ruler King Abdullah II, a sign that they share serious concerns over the kingdom’s stability. On Tuesday, the US administration announced that  King Abdullah will travel to the US later this month and will be the first Middle East leader to visit the Biden White House.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki stressed Jordan’s role as “a key security partner and ally of the United States,” and said the visit would “showcase Jordan’s leadership role in promoting peace and stability in the region.”

A number of difficult issues have been confronting Jordan. Water shortage, tensions in the royal family as well as economic woes have pushed a nervous America and Israel to show support for king, fearing fall of a key ally could have disastrous effects on the entire region . In April, rare Palace intrigue spilled into the open, as King Abdullah’s half-brother Prince Hamzah was placed under house arrest. The dramatic and very public episode shone a spotlight on fissures that have the potential to cause the entire edifice of the Hashemite regime to crumble, with delirious effects for Israel and its security.

Frustration in Jordan has simmered for years against the background of economic troubles, political repression and doubts about Abdullah’s legitimacy. In the last year, the COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated many of the public’s grievances, albeit mostly within the confines of the monarchy’s tight control of free expression.

Jordan’s strict lockdown was initially effective in slowing the spread of the virus, but it wreaked havoc on the economy. Unemployment reached nearly 25% by the end of 2020, as the economy suffered its worst contraction in decades.

This certainly is a good time for America to help.

My latest books:

I Marched with Patton: A Firsthand Account of World War II

Alongside One of the U.S. Army’s Greatest Generals!

by Frank Sisson (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

You can find I MARCHED WITH PATTON on Amazon.

82 Days on Okinawa: One American’s Unforgettable Firsthand Account of the Pacific War’s Greatest Battle!

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA on Amazon.

by Art Shaw (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

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Filed under America, Israel, Palestinians


With blood-shed in Syria and chaos in Egypt, why would President Obama cross the Jordan to stop by the palace for a chat with King Abdullah II? The newspapers have been full of stories about the war in Syria and the riots in Egypt, pushing Jordan to the back burner. Unfortunately, many westerners have missed some important events transpiring there. Recent statements by the king and his uncle Hassan actually reveal a different story of turmoil.

Serious rumblings in Jordan spell significant trouble. On October 5 a massive demonstration expressed anti-regime sentiments and considerable dissatisfaction with the Hashemite rulers. The Kingdom’s media sources claimed it was only 5,000 protestors, but Jordan’s daily newspaper Alghad  reported 250,000 marched through downtown Amman. A considerable discrepancy in headcount!

I know Jordan well having traveled there for the first time in the late ‘60s, and had two sons with Ph.D.’s who lived in Amman and taught at the University of Amman. At one point, I delivered a lecture there. One of my sons is married to a Jordanian citizen. I have watched the country make significant developments over the past 40 years. However, the Arab Spring appears to be ratcheting up tension in the country.

Today there are regular anti-regime protests throughout the kingdom with open calls for toppling the king. Behind this unrest is a staggering economy. The impetus for the unrest comes from Jordanian East bankers and/or Beduin Jordanians. In response to these crisis, Prince Hassan made several statements that sounded more like desperation than explanations. The focus of what he had to say was an attempt to shift emphasis to Israel and renew Jordan’s claims to the West Bank area now held by Israel. In addition, these statements have been attempts to worry the Palestinian majority in that country that they might be absorbed if radical change occurred.

The threat has had more of a back-fire effect that causing the Palestinians to back off.  At this moment, Palestinians are excluded from government jobs, state colleges, and state healthcare. Some years back, the Hashemites ran Arafat and his P.L.O. organization out of the country and into Lebanon. Make no mistake. The Kingdom has an expansive intelligence system with spies as well as interception of all emails in and out of the country. I have personally observed how extensive this operation is. Certainly, the eves dropping is working over time today.

In his own statements, King Abdullah has attempted to rewrite history and ignore how the country came into being. The Faisal-Weizmann agree in l9l9 established a homeland for Arabs under the Hashemites. The fact is that Jordan is a Hashemite-occupied part of a British Mandate for Palestine. Even when Jordan held the West Bank area, the Arab League and the United Nations did not recognize their sovereignty. Only Britain, Pakistan, and Iraq gave recognition. As Palestinian-Jordanian writer Mudar Zahran, noted, King Adullah should consider himself very lucky to still be on the throne in Jordan.

Washington would certainly want to prop up the Hashemite Kingdom and keep Jordan stable. While this portion of Obama’s trip many not get great attention, it will be far more important to King Adullah who needs all the help he can get right now.

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Filed under Egypt, middle east, Syria, Violence