Has the Arab Spring finally arrived in Jordan?

by Phil Schneider

Arab protests in Jordan should be of major concern to Israel. The country of Jordan serves a vital role in keeping stability in the Middle East. If the Arab spring is reaching Jordan, then stability in the Middle East may be rattled.

Short History of Jordan

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is located in between Israel, Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.  It is big.  One could argue that Jordan is more of a crossroads between Asia, Africa and Europe than Israel.

The Emirate of Transjordan was set up in 1921.  They were not an independent country – but part of the British empire.  (So too, the land that would become the State of Israel was part of the British Empire until 1948.)  But in 1946, Jordan became a completely independent state.

It didn’t take long for the young country to get involved in trouble.  From 1947 – 1948, Jordan joined in with other Arab countries and invaded the young Jewish country – Israel.  Jordan made land gains and occupied what would become called the West Bank.  They even occupied the Old City of Jerusalem, imprisoned the fighters and older men, and kicked out all of the Jews.

However, despite the wars that Jordan fought in, the leadership of Jordan tended to be a bit more moderate than other Arab countries.

Six Day War

In 1967, Israel was threatened by Egypt and Syria.  Israel was forced into battle and surprised the Arab countries with a preemptive air strike.

Jordan could have stayed out of the war.  Israel basically pleaded with them not to enter the war.  But Jordan made a fateful decision and attacked Israel in the center of the country.

Israel fought back and handily defeated the Jordanian forces north, south and in Jerusalem.  The heartland of the Jewish people, which the Jordanians occupied for 19 years was now liberated.

Of course, the Jewish people celebrated their salvation along with their ability to go back to their ancient Biblical cities.

Peace Agreement

In 1994, Jordan and Israel signed a peace treaty with Bill Clinton smiling in the middle of the two leaders – Yitzhak Rabin and King Hussein.

Many believe that this is the ideal example of what peace would look like in the Middle East.  There have been no major conflicts between the two countries since then.  Tourists travel freely between the two countries.

The problem that Jordan faces today is one of major economic issues that threaten the stability of the regime.

It remains to be seen if the new Arab spring in Jordan will snowball into a full-fledged revolution or not.

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