July 11, 2021
WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST
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.
UPDATE ON JORDAN
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)