Jordan: State loyalty put to the test

Abdulrahman al-Rashed
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Jordan has suffered the most from the political instability that has marked the region for decades. Throughout the years, it paid the price over and over again: Palestinian displacement waves, thousands of Iraqis crossing its borders following the invasion, and over one million Syrians fleeing to the country after 2011. Amid the instability that still plagues its three neighbors alone, Jordan is a victim of geopolitics, and to this day, Jordanians must share their livelihoods with millions of refugees, both old and new -- not to mention the increasing political risks that fall on the shoulders of the Hashemite Kingdom. Yet, despite threats of tension and possible unrest due to neighboring wars, Jordan maintained its internal peace, thanks to the strength of their state and the solid relationship between the leadership and the people.

It is known that Jordan is a patient country. However, it became certain that its patience has run out when it announced a series of arrests targeting those accused in the case of Prince Hamza and declared its intention to conduct State Security trials and enact laws that will protect Jordan from any threats of chaos in the country.

Prince Hamzah Binal-Hussein attends the opening of the parliament in Amman, Jordan. (AP)
Prince Hamzah Binal-Hussein attends the opening of the parliament in Amman, Jordan. (AP)

Support came flooding in as all major and regional powers backed Jordan and King Abdullah. Much to their dismay, those who were betting on cornering the political leadership and polarizing the country were disappointed to see an influx of explicit domestic and foreign support for the Jordanian state and its leadership instead.

On the very eve of the arrest of the persons accused of conspiring to cause instability, Jordan's first message in the statement it issued was that everything is under control. This was evidenced in the streets that did not see any army tanks, security forces, or protests while Jordanians voiced their support for the political leadership and the country’s stability.

King Abdullah Bin Hussein enjoys great popularity among Jordanians, given his close and participatory relationship with them and his eagerness to drive government institutions to perform their duties towards the citizens.

Over the course of many a difficult year, Jordan was able to maintain its social and economic balance. The kingdom does not have any oil to speak of and its maritime access is quite limited while its river has barely any water flowing in it, but Jordan’s real wealth comes from the education and skills of its people; highly competent men and women who serve as the country’s key economic resource. Despite its limited financial resources, the World Bank rated Jordan as one the best countries in terms of infrastructure. However, with some luck, Jordan could start its shale oil operations as soon as next year according to estimates of large deposits of shale oil underlying Jordan’s territory.

Like other countries in the region, Jordan’s problem is not the economy itself as much as the secondhand repercussions of the turmoil afflicting neighboring countries. Not only does this scare off investors, but also places heavy burdens on the state to prevent any ensuing risks. When stability and normality are restored in Iraq and Syria, then Jordan’s security and economy will finally thrive, and the same goes for its western neighbor, where the promised Palestinian state lies.

The attempted coup that never saw the light in Jordan this week sounds the alarm for all countries in this flaming region as preventing the return of political upheavals has become a common demand.

This article was originally published in, and translated from, the pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat.

Read more:

The outstanding crises of Arabs: Are there any solutions?

Prince Hamza, other figures attempted to harm Jordan’s security: Deputy PM

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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