Established as a sovereign nation in 1946, Jordan is a relatively new country, and the same royal family has been in power for the entire stretch of its brief history. The death of long-time monarch, King Hussein in 1999 brought about a new era for Jordan. Hussein’s son, King Abdullah is now the reigning leader, and he has overseen and promises further economic and political reform for the country. At the center of warring countries and heated conflict, Jordan has miraculously maintained its place as a relatively peaceful country, and a safe haven for refugees from the region.
A Crossing of Culture
The original inhabitants of Jordan, tribesmen known as East Bank Jordanians, are in the vast minority in the main body of population, which is made up mostly of Israeli and Palestinian refugees and their offspring, who fled to Jordan to escape the constant warring state of their own countries. This mixing of cultures has provided a foundation of a people who are more open to change and growth than other areas of the Middle East. Even in the face of political tensions and reform, protests remain mostly peaceful, especially when compared to the civil unrest seen in neighboring countries.
A Leader in Peace
This crossing of cultures in Jordan has created a melting pot that has allowed them to escape some of the sectarian conflict that plagues the other countries of the Middle East. Internal conflict against a monarchy that is perceived as too powerful does arise from time to time, but the current monarchy has made steps to allow Parliament to have more of a governmental influence, and the country seems to be making strides in this area. Al-Qaeda terrorist activity is seen in the country periodically, mostly from Iraqi groups, but they have much less of a presence in Jordan than they do in other countries in the region. The United States and other world leaders view Jordan as a friend and ally in the Middle East, and offer aid and economical support to encourage them to continue to be a peaceful anchor of an otherwise volatile region.
A Growing Economy
Unlike their oil-rich neighbors like Saudi Arabia and Iraq, Jordan doesn’t have a huge reserve of oil, or any other major natural resources to tap into to support their economy. They rely on agricultural resources and supplies for their support. Jordan is also home to a sophisticated health service system, which is one of the top in the Middle East. They also rely on tourism and foreign aid to support their economy. The upside to steering clear of the oil business is that Jordan’s currency and economy is very stable for a Middle Eastern country, and their economic growth is expected to continue and improve for the foreseeable future.