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Title: Poor kid on the bloc: the importance of being Jordan
Authors: Budeiri, Musa 
Keywords: Poverty - Jordan;Citizenship - Social aspects - Jordan
Issue Date: 1996
Publisher: Welt des Islams
Abstract: Seventy-one years after Winston Churchill laid the foundations of statehood in Transjordan, complete with ruling dynasty, albeit initially for a trial period of six months, questions continue to arise regarding the identity, the nature, and indeed even the viability of the state project in a territory which historically speaking has never existed as a distinct political entity. Transjordan sole distinctive feature consisted, in retrospect, of bestriding the pilgrimage route from Syria to Mecca. The demise of Ottoman rule did not leave it with cultural or economic particularities distinguishing it from its neighbors, while its settled population possessed no clearly defined characteristics. The inhabitants of the north and the west associated with Syria, while the population of the south had strong tribal and historical links with the Arabian peninsula. Yet as part of the settlement which concluded the Great War by dividing the spoils among the Anglo-French victors, both state and regime in Transjordan have proved to be hardy and resilient. Contrary to often touted claims and persistent attempts at myth-making, the state's existence has never been seriously threatened, whether by Wahabi raids, or by Israeli expansionist policies. Carved out of territory that was to have become part of the Palestine Mandate its fate nevertheless has become linked to that of the Palestine problem. Fulfilling a variety of functions, first as a receptacle to host and shelter the Palestinians expelled from their homeland in 1948, increasingly as a pro-western buffer the Arab states and Israel, and ju conservative oil-rich Gulf states and the radical Pan Arab and revolutionary currents sweeping the Arab east in the fifties and sixties, both state and regime continued to present their usefulness to regional actors (e.g., the Egyptian Saudi rupture over the Yemen, the long continuing Iraqi - Syrian feud, the Egyptian-Syrian rupture after Camp David). From an international perspective, no sooner had the umbilical cord which linked Jordan to Britain been severed in 1957, than a hegemonic United States stepped in to take its place. The stability of Jordan was conceived as a necessary part of regional stability conducive to the guaranteed flow of cheap Middle East oil. Luckily for Jordan's rulers, maintenance of such stability was deemed to necessitate, from an American viewpoint, not only supporting the security of the state of Israel, but also the survival of a pro-Western conservative monarchy in Jordan
DOI: 10.1163/1570060962597454
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