By: Krishnendu R, Research Analyst, GSDN
Jordan is a young state, an Arab country called the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, a desert land with traces of ancient civilizations. Jordan is bounded north by Syria, east by Iraq, southwest and south by Saudi Arabia, and west by Israel and West Bank. It has a pivotal role in the Middle Eastern region. Jordan’s population is mainly Arabs, principally Jordanians and Palestinians. It is a relatively modern state carved from a desert after the great Arab revolt and has marked a pivotal role in the history
History of Jordan
Jordan is rich in archaeological and religious traditions, and the Jordanian desert was home to many hunters from the early Palaeolithic era. There, flint tools were found at Palaeolithic sites. A site at Tulayat al Gazal in Jordan Valley, a well-built village with painted plaster walls, also represents developments from the Neolithic to the Chalcolithic period.
The early bronze age is found through deposits from Dibon. Many sites were not excavated, and Al Shawak was where evidence of settlement was located. Nomadic invasions destroyed the Bronze Age culture, villages, and towns and the peaceful development of civilization. This area was believed to be occupied from 1300 to 1900 BC, but several archaeological surveys found traces of settlement only when the Egyptians came. It was confirmed by the founding of a temple at Amman, which imported objects from Egyptian, Mycenaean, and Cypriot. Prominent kingdoms dating from the middle bronze age onwards, Gilead in the north, Moab in central Jordan, and Midian in the south.
From (1300- 1000 BCE) there were invasions from both sides of the Jordan River. David attacked kingdoms like Moab and Edom. Modern Amman then Ammon regained its independence after the death of David. Assyrians were the successive invaders who took the eastern part of the country as far as Edom. Revolts happened against Assyrian rule in the 760s to 750s, but they again captured and ruled until the fall of the Assyrian empire; the country was divided under Assyrian governors. The Assyrian texts were the first source to refer to the Nabataeans. The country prospered only during the Hellenistic rule of the plutonomy. They built a new town, Ammon, and was renamed Philadelphia.
In 64-65, the Nabataean kingdom was conquered by the Romans under Pompey. They restored destroyed cities by the Jews and set up Decapolis. The country remained independent, but taxes in Jordan prospered under Roman rule. Many towns and villages were established after Christianity became recognized, and several churches were built.
In the early 7th century, Jordan was ruled by the new Arab Islamic Umayyad empire (the first Muslim dynasty). Later, in (750-1258) the successors of the Umayyads Abbasids took over power.
After the decline of the Abbasids, different regions of Jordan were ruled by Crusades, Ayyubids, mamelukes, and the Ottomans. 1516 Ottoman forces led Jordan and witnessed prosperity in the 16th century. Wasabi forces occupied Jordan after four centuries of Ottoman rule (1516 – 1918) ended during World War 1. Arabs joined the British army against the Ottomans, and the British took over the administration. On May 25, 1923, the British recognized Trans Jordan’s independence under the rule of Emir Abdulah. Still, matters of finance, military, and foreign affairs were in the hands of the British after World War 2, and he was proclaimed king. Later on in the interwar period, the British financially supported Jordan. Larter Abdullah was assassinated, and then his eldest son, Hussein ibn Tala, was crowned king in 1953. his policies were sharpened for regaining the west bank for the Hashemite dynasty, and after Husein Abdullah 2 took over the power.
Constitution and Political Landscape
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is a monarchy with a representative government based on a constitution established in 1952. King Abdullah II is the head of the state. Islam is the official religion. King is the commander of the armed forces. He excuses his duties through the prime minister and the council of ministers. The judiciary is an independent part of the government, with three categories of courts. The first category consists of regular courts that include courts of first instance and courts for appeals. The constitution also provides a special council that interprets laws on their constitutionality. The second category consists of courts for exercising jurisdiction over personal matters. The third court category consists of courts for land government, government, property, municipal tax, and custom courts.
The political process in Jordan is through the constitutional monarchy system. Political parties were banned before the elections, and the Arab national union, not a political party, was the only political organization allowed, they engage in socially active functions and they won in the 1989 elections. In 1992, political parties were recognized as long as they acknowledged the monarchy’s legitimacy.
Economy of Jordan
Jordan is a small country with limited resources; the country is facing a significant problem with water security. Jordan depends on others for energy requirements.
Trade and finance constitute Jordan’s one-third of GDP, transportation and construction represent one-fifth of the GDP remittances, and liquidity from Jordanians working abroad is a significant source of foreign exchange.
Jordan has been plagued by recession, debt, and employment because of the small size of the Jordan market and the presence of large numbers of refugees. Jordan sought financial aid from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank to boost the private sector, clear the country’s debt and loans from the World Bank, and revitalize the Jordanian economy. In 2000, Jordan joined the World Trade Organisation.
Jordan’s geographic location is a reason for political instability and a vulnerable economy. Agriculture in Jordan is only a tiny amount of cultivable land, and they import most food products.
Mineral resources like deposits of phosphates, potash, and marble. Quartic, gypsum, and baric were recently discovered. Jordan has no oil deposits and natural gas reserves are located in the eastern deserts.
Water scarcity led to conflict among states in the region overusing the Jordan River. In 2000, Jordan and Syria secured funds to construct a dam on the Yarmouk River. It also helps in generating electricity. Major products manufactured in the city where cement and extra traction of phosphate and petroleum refining were primarily exported were clothes, chemicals potash, and phosphates; imports are machinery ‘crude petroleum and food products.
Regional influence and foreign relations
Jordan has close connections with Western countries through its participation in enforcing UN sanctions against Iraq. Jordan has trade agreements with the USA. It also has good relations with the European Union and is part of European neighbourhood policy to increase the ties between its neighbours.
Jordan shares borders with Israel, Syria, and Iraq. There have been wars between the boundaries, so Jordan is maintaining diplomatic relations with its neighbours.
Jordan stands for an independent Palestinian state as part of a two-state solution; the ruling dynasty in Jordan has custodianship of holy sites in Jerusalem, which reinforced the Israel-Jordan peace treaty; there are also tensions in protecting the Muslim and Christian religious sites in Jerusalem.
The political position of Jordan changed after the conflict between Hamas and Israel, and the Jordanian prime minister expressed disapproval of Israel’s action in Gaza by calling back the ambassador from Israel and declaring that he would not be permitted to return, following the Hamas attack. Khasawneh argued that the Israel blockade in the Gaza Strip could not be justified as self-defence but criticized the genocide of Israel, which included safe zones and ambulances as targets.
Palestinian refugees (Jordanian residents) conducted protests against Israel’s attacks in Gaza. Jordan’s population has sympathy with Hamas; there was a massive fear of migration from Palestine to Jordan due to the Israel-Hamas war. Western allies see Jordan as a mediator in case Israel and Hamas agree to negotiate. King Abdullah has been part of meetings with Europe to secure the safe passage of humanitarian aid. The government is also fighting problems such as inflation, unemployment, and the trafficking of arms and drugs through Jordan to the West Bank.
Jordan has affiliations with the UN and related organizations, like the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization. Jordan is a core member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the Arab league. It is also a member of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Islamic Cooperation, and the Non-Aligned Movement.
Jordan’s geopolitical position, history, and political landscape mark a significant regional influence in the Middle Eastern region. Jordan was always committed to maintaining peace and stability in the area. Facing problems like water scarcity, managing the refugee population, and addressing economic issues, the country is trying to maintain active participation in regional diplomacy and promote interfaith between the nations to underscore its significance.