Caught in the Middle, As Usual

(Economist-UK) Jordan is a vital regional ally of the U.S., which promotes and bolsters the country as a showpiece of economic and political progress and globalization. With only 5m people and wedged between Israel, Syria, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia ("the neighbors from hell," as the king has privately called them), Jordan is now the world's fourth-biggest recipient of American aid. But despite the consequent increase in American largesse, most of Jordan's so-called East Bankers (those who are not Palestinian) are hostile to American policy, sympathizing strongly with the "resistance" by their Sunni co-religionists against the new Shia-dominated order in Iraq. For all the talk of modernization and political pluralism, Jordan is still a politely authoritarian state run by a king whose near-absolute power is underpinned by a ruthless and watchful security service.

2005-11-11 00:00:00

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