In This Review

Jordan: Case Study of a Pivotal State
Jordan: Case Study of a Pivotal State
By Asher Susser
Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 2000, 134 pp

Created as Transjordan by Britain after World War I, Jordan has a slight historical pedigree, limited resources, and far stronger immediate neighbors-all of whom at one time or another have sought Jordan's demise. Its Palestinian population, whose roots are from Mandate Palestine west of the Jordan River, probably constitute a majority, and the Palestinian (indeed, the Arab) nationalist image of Hashemite Jordan has historically ranged from completely negative to ambivalent. Yet Jordan today is more stable, more liberal, and more democratic that most Middle Eastern states. The country has survived Nasser's Arabism, the Israeli flirtation with the "Jordan is Palestine" option, and even occasional doubts by great-power patrons about the country's future-in part because these states check each other's ambitions and settle for Jordan's continued existence as the best solution. Jordan also owes its survival to the long reign (1953-99) of the late King Hussein, who relied on a small group of completely loyal "king's men" and stepped his way through the minefields of domestic and international constraints in masterful fashion. A succinct and sympathetic historical review.