Jordan: The Ruse of Reform

Issue Date July 2013
Volume 24
Issue 3
Page Numbers 127-139
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Why has Jordan’s authoritarianism remained so stubborn? What makes the country’s Hashemite monarchy exceptional is that virtually no constituency apart from domestic oppositionists and international human-rights organizations puts consistent pressure on the kingdom to democratize. Western policy makers and Jordanian officials have successfully cultivated the kingdom’s image as a “moderate” Arab state, an oasis of stability and key ally in the world’s most strategic and turbulent region. Foreign aid from the United States and its allies remains the kingdom’s economic lifeline, and thus the best means by which to encourage the regime to actually take popular demands into account in its next reform gambit. With stability on the line, the next five years will prove to be the crucible for the Jordanian crown.