In This Review

Jordan in Transition: From Hussein to Abdullah
Jordan in Transition: From Hussein to Abdullah
By Curtis R. Ryan
Lynne Rienner, 2002, 170 pp

Those living in Jordan account for less than two percent of the Arab world's population. The country is neither oil rich nor endowed with other resources. But history and geography have blessed (or cursed) Jordan with a disproportionate significance, involving this small state in the Arab-Israeli confrontation, pan-Arab politics, and regional relations with the West. A viable Jordan is important. Ryan traces Jordan's developments over the past decade by concentrating on four themes: the trajectory of political liberalization since 1989; the efforts at economic adjustments to globalization; foreign policy changes including the 1994 peace treaty with Israel; and the transition to King Abdullah II when King Hussein's death in February 1999 ended his 46-year reign. There is also good coverage of Jordan's several elections, national and municipal, since the 1980s; the split between Jordanian citizens with Palestinian roots and Transjordanians; and even some attention to the limited liberalization in media and women's rights. Ryan's own reading of progress to date and future prospects may be described as cautiously positive.