Jordan

Jordan is one of the most modern Arabic countries in the Middle East. Like most Arab nations, it is a monarchy supported by a representative legislative assembly whose powers have been marginally increasing since the death of the current king’s father in 1999. Major decisions, however, remain solidly with the king.

Following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, Great Britain divided what it named "Jordan" from Palestine and consolidated its power by supporting regional overlords. Britain guided independence in 1946 towards the control of its first king, Hussein, who then governed the country until 1999. He was succeeded peacefully by his son, the current King Abdallah II. The current king is very western leaning and a staunch ally of the U.S.

Jordan lost the West Bank to Israel during the 1967 war, and the monarchy then barely managed to defeat a Palestinian revolution in 1970. The King permanently relinquished claims to the West Bank in 1988 and in 1994 signed a peace treaty with Israel.

The country is slightly smaller than Indiana with a population of around six million. Despite its location it has no proven oil reserves and produces only one-sixth of the natural gas it consumes. Exports are driven by a relatively highly educated population developing small textile and pharmaceutical industries. Tourism is an important part of the overall economy. The developing population, however, is increasingly importing foreign goods, placing new stresses on a fragile economy.