Just because European diplomats created some Arab countries in the post-World War I settlements does not mean those countries are necessarily susceptible to disintegration, notes Steven A. Cook, senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of “The Struggle for Egypt: From Nasser to Tahrir Square.”
Yet Jordan’s allegedly artificial borders have become meaningful, and, within them, people have a sense of what it means to be Jordanian. In Syria, where war has taken a toll on the territorial integrity of the country and hardened sectarian and ethnic differences, it is important to remember that the descent into conflict began when Syrians asserted a different concept of citizenship and the relationship between rulers and the ruled.
A U.S. ally for more than half a century, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is one of the pillars of American Middle East policy, the Hudson Institute observes:
But this longtime bulwark of stability in an otherwise dangerous and volatile region is now being buffeted by powerful—and unwelcome—winds of change. Two of its bordering neighbors, Syria and Iraq, are engulfed in civil wars featuring both active Iranian involvement and well-resourced Sunni extremists like the Islamic State. Moreover, the role of Hamas in West Bank politics remains an unsettled question. Domestically, Jordan has been suffering a severe refugee crisis for more than a decade, to which the Syrian conflict alone has recently added another million-plus civilian exiles.
Can Jordan continue to manage the various emergencies on its doorstep? What can the American government do to help one of its key Middle East partners?
On August 26th, Hudson Institute Senior Fellow Lee Smith will host an expert panel featuring Faysal Itani, Salameh Nematt, and David Schenker for a discussion about the present state and future prospects of Jordan and its central role in American Middle East policy.
Tuesday, August 26th 12:00 to 1:30 pm
Hudson Institute, 1015 15th Street, NW – Sixth Floor, Washington, DC 20005