Jordan is a small country that occupies an area of approximately 96188 square kilometers. The country is located in southwest Asia at the junction ofLevantine and the Arabian areas of Middle East. Specifically, the country is bordered to the south by Syria, it is at the west of Iraq, and Saudi Arabia is to the north while Israel is Israel and the west bank. EasternJordan forms the largest part of the country’sland (92%) and consists of the Arabian plateau. Some parts of the Syrian desert lies in the northwest region while the Jordanian highlands lies at the western plateau which harbors the great rift valley, the Jordan river, the dead sea and Arabah. Most of the country is covered by hills and as well as mountains. Jordan River is short approximately 160 kilometers but due to the mountains headwaters, the riverbed drops from an elevation of approximately 3000meteres above sea level to more than 400 meters below sea level thus making the Dead Sea occupy the deepest depression worldwide. The topography of the country consists of a plateau which is about 700 to 1000meters in height and it covers most of the country. The climate of the place is amazing with long rains occurring from November to April with the rest of the year being very dry. The summers are usually very hot and reaches peak in august, while winter is cool and variable in the Mediterranean style of climatic conditions.
According to the World Bank statistics, from 1990 to 2008, the population of Jordan increased by 2.7 million people which represented a growth rate of 86%. The total population of the country according to the CIA fact book of 2015 estimates were 81117564 that included the refugees who came from the Syrian civil war. Comparatively, Lebanon had 39% growth, Israel 56%, and 67% in Syria. Estimates indicates that half of the Jordanian population roots in Palestine and the minority groups include the Circassians, the Chechen’s and the Armenians there also exists refugees who includes Syrian, Iraq’s and the Assyrians as well as guest workers from various parts of the world. The official language of Jordan is Arabic though English is generally used in business and government. 70% of the people live in urban areas and less than 6% of the rural population are nomadic. Majority of people live in areas frequented by rainfall. Majority of the Jordanians are Sunni Muslims (94%) with and the rest Christians.
Society and culture
Despite the growing population, Jordan society/culture has a rich history of hospitality that is displayed by the hosts to the guests. This can even be felt on the streets where the phrase “ahlan wa sahlan” meaning, “I welcome you” is depicted everywhere. These traditions dates back in the time of Bedouin culture where a guest and the host shares a cup of coffee in which the host sips first out of the coffee to ensure that the coffee is at the correct temperature. Actually according to the society’s culture, the guest drinks the remains of the host’s cup, and then the guest is served the next cup and another. The host also is tasked with the role of ensuring that the guest is stays comfortably and is allowed to stay as long as he/she pleases. This is taken as “karam”, meaning generosity and implies nobility and refinement. The tradition of the people favors cousin’s weddings thereby enabling the family property to stay within the family. Choices for marriage are discussed between the father, mother, the groom and the women in the hose to decide on the best choice to become a wife. The people loves sport including football and basketball.
The political shape of Jordan is characterized by a parliamentary monarchy whereby the prime minister heads the government that consist of a multiparty system. The monarchy was established after the constitution was promulgated in 1952 on January the 8th. The monarch on the throne takes charge of the armed forces being the commander in chief, and the chief executive, who appoints the prime minister. He may appoint or dismiss all judges by a decree and is responsible for approving the amendments to the constitution, and may declare war on another nation. The king also appends to all cabinet decisions, court judgments. The national currency are portrayed in his name. Formerly, he appointed the cabinet but upon the Jordanian protests that occurred in 2011, he agreed to elect a cabinet over sighted by the chamber of deputies. The parliament comprises of a 75 seat chamber consisting of the senate appointed by the king, 150 seat housing deputies popularly elected and six seats reserved for women. The legislative term is four years with 12 governors serving the monarch. The judicially is independent from the executive and the legislative arm of government and has three categories of courts namely the regular, the special and the religious courts. King Abdulla II is the current king and the prime minister is Abdullar Ensour from the independent party who was elected in 2012.
According to the World Bank survey, Jordan is classified as the third freest economy and an upper middle income economy in the Middle East and North Africa, and 32nd freest in the world. Being an emerging economy, the country has been facing various economic challenges including regional instability, scarce water supply, and reliant on imports from oil for energy. The economy is said to be growing at an estimated rate of 3% annually and has a well-developed banking sector with conservative banking policies that helped the country survive the 2009 global financial crisis. The economy is also characterized by the privatization of state owned corporations and the economy liberalization. There are six major economic zones favorable for large scale investment in the textile, aerospace, and cosmetic among other. The various industries shaping the economy include mining and minerals, telecom and IT, energy, transport, tourism, agriculture, forestry among others. Outside the Persian Gulf, the country’s economy is deemed as the most developed. The challenges facing the economy includes the implementation of systemic reforms, improved transparency, and enhanced rule of law.
Military and power
The Arab army are the country’s military army and comprises of the ground troops (Jordan Arab army), the air force (the royal air force) and the navy (the royal coast guard) who are all under the control of the king- the commander in chief. The country’s military and firepower capabilities are interesting, having an available manpower of 33000000, with 2825000 fit for the military service. 143000 people reach the military age annually with active frontline and active reserve personnel standing at 110700 and 65000 respectively. The main role assigned to the military/armed forces include to protect the country/kingdom from external invasion, protect the people internally, and to protect the king. The military was formerly structured into two divisions but has been transformed to harbor lighter and more mobile forces that are based on a brigade structure to enable the troops to be more efficient when reacting to an emergency. The country has a special operation forces that are well equipped in the line of military attack. The installation of sophisticated command, control, communication, computer, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) will enhance the interoperability between the forces and other coalition forces. This being the case, the country is considered to be an intelligence hub in Middle East under the GID (General Intelligence Directorate) that has been cooperating with the US, Israel and British intelligence through a spying system, thus ensuring the stability of the country. It is notable that the country has been able to support and undertake various UN peacekeeping missions and ranks the highest internationally, in troops and staff participation
Military relationship with the US
In terms of military relationship with the United States, the country has had cordial relationship for decades, and has currently over 1700 US military persons positioned in Jordan. The US has been helping the country receive defense articles, training and loans to purchase military power/equipment’s to boost its security as well as that of neighboring countries1. The country also receives US antiterrorism assistance from NADR (Nonproliferation, Anti-Terrorism, Demining, and RelatedPrograms account). This being the case, the US has been helpingJordan procure and maintain the current conventional weapons and other foreign military financing to enable the country maintain modest fighting and surveillance equipment’s for better enhancement of border monitoring as well as counter terror capability2. Because of the fragile Iraq and Syria conditions, the country has requested to export the US made unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to help maintain peace and stability in these countries. There has also been military cooperation between the two countries as operations in Iraq and Syria began. More so, joint training exercises have been carried out where the Jordanian army train in the US
Current issues in Jordan
Just like any other country in the world, terrorism is a global issue and impacts anybody who goes against its idealism. Jordan has not been left out with ISISissues in Syria and Iraq being fresh every day. The ability of ISIS to control large areas in Iraq and Syria have led to security threats in Jordan. Attacks and counter attacks have been going on as Jordantry’s to secure its territories and its people. Due to the effect of terrorism on the neighboring countries, the country has been faced with the challenge of surging number of refugees coming into the country coming from the war torn countries around. With over 1.3 million refugees, the GDP of the country has been affected. At the same time, the public schools have been strained as Syrian children enroll in the already crowded schools, housing costs increased as well as the labor market have been affected. The unemployment rate in the country has been soaring up and with the influx of refugees who come competing with the locals, the country’s economic outlook and poverty levels are likely to impact the nation. In summary therefore, some of the current most significant issues facing Jordan include the terrorist threat, refugee issue, the ISIS, and the unemployment woes.
Ham, Anthony, and Paul Greenway. Jordan. Lonely Planet, 2003.
Sharp, Jeremy, Jordan: background and U.S. relations. 2014
Teller, Matthew. Jordan. Rough Guides, 2002. Top of Form
Ham, Anthony, and Paul Greenway. 2003. Jordan. (Footscray, Vic., Australia: Lonely Planet.) P. 19
Teller,Mathew. 2002. Jordan.( London: Rough Guides) p. 62-4
Sharp 2014. Jordan: background and U.S. relations. P. 12-5