Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts Jordan in the Balance: Evaluating Regime Stability

Jordan in the Balance: Evaluating Regime Stability

Combating Terrorism Center

Protests regularly punctuate public life in Jordan, but the national riots that exploded in November 2012 over the rising cost of fuel seemed especially concerning. Coming after two years of continuous protests by opposition groups demanding economic and political reforms, telltale signs of rebellion—burning tires on highways, anti-regime chants in the streets, crowds attacking police stations—suggested the onset of revolution in the Hashemite kingdom.

Jordan plays a vital geopolitical role for the United States and its allies. It is a peace partner to Israel, provides neighboring oil-rich Iraq and Saudi Arabia with a military buffer, and serves as a natural barrier against Syrian and Iranian interests. There is no question that regime collapse in Amman would unleash strategic volatility. Although Jordan’s King Abdullah II has not reacted masterfully to the past two years of opposition, his autocratic monarchy will most likely retain power.

This article provides context on Jordan’s current troubles, outlines the factors that have made this crisis particularly unstable, and finally establishes the five reasons why the regime will likely survive.

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