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A Brief History of People Who Believe in Myths: a Story About Jordan

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All throughout history there have been an endless amount of country’s that have ruled in different regimes and that have practiced monarchy, democracy, oligarchy, and theocracy etc., varying on time, leader, as well as what the people demanded. However, Jordan chooses a particular way to rule that makes it stand out. Jordan carries a very rich and compelling history on how they got to where their country stands today and how the historical roots of the country and political socialization effects the level of the political participation there, and how Jordan’s institutional structure contributes to their democracy and how globalization effects their country as a whole. Now let’s being from the very beginning of time.

Jordan is a land steeped in history. It has been home to some of mankind’s earliest settlements and villages, and relics of many of the world’s great civilizations can still be seen today. As the crossroads of the Middle East, the lands of Jordan and Palestine have served as a strategic nexus connecting Asia, Africa and Europe. Thus, since the dawn of civilization, Jordan’s geography has given it an important role to play as a conduit for trade and communications, connecting east and west, north and south. The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is strategically located in the Middle East; bound by Syria to the north, Iraq to the northeast, Saudi Arabia to the east and south, the Red Sea to the south, and the West Bank in the Palestinian National Authority and Israel to the west. Jordan was ruled by several different powers throughout its history, though its modern history began with the Great Arab Revolt of 1916 that threw off the rule of the Ottoman Turks who had occupied the territory since the 16th century. “Even though an Arabic government in Damascus claimed sovereignty over the territory, the San Remo Conference of 1920 gave mandate powers over the territory”. The British placed Amir Abdullah Ibn Al-Hussein, a descendent of the Prophet Mohammed, in charge of the newly coined Emirate of Transjordan. When the British mandate ended on 22 May 1946, Amir Abdullah was crowned king of the now independent state of Jordan. A parliamentary system headed by the King was established.

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“After the end of WWI, the Saudis, were very strong-much stronger than King Hussein and it was impossible for His Majesty’s Government to compel Ibn Saud – they could only influence him, and thus would not interfere in the affairs of Arabian Peninsula on Abdullah’s or his father’s behalf. During the First World War, the British maintained friendly relationships with both Hussein and Ibn Saud and were reluctant to choose between the two. According to” There was plenty of tension between the Hashemite dynasty and the Saudi dynasty because the Saudi dynasty was not able to conquer Trans-Jordan. Ibn Saud moved across Arabia and launched a number of raids into Jordan, some of which landed rather close to the administration in Amman and posed a threat to the security of the British mandates in Transjordan and Palestine. This threat of invasion prompted the definition of borders through diplomatic channels. “In the spring of 1924, the British attempted to hold a conference to delimit borders between Transjordan, the Hejaz, and the Nejd, yet both Abdullah and Ibn Saud were unsatisfied with the proposed borders and efforts quickly dissolved.” The Hadda Agreement of 1925, in which the British government negotiated with Ibn Saud the terms of the Transjordan-Nejd border Arabia, because at this point Ibn Saud was ruling the Hejaz and Nejd but did not officially establish the state of Saudi Arabia until 1932 – however, de facto this agreement would set the boundary for what was to become Saudi Arabia”. The relationship between Trans Jordan and Saudi Arabia strengthened.

When the British mandate over Palestine ended two years later, Jordan took part in a pan-Arab military movement that invaded the area which the British had intended as the independent Jewish state of Israel. The war between Israel and the Arab states gave Jordan control over the Old City section of Israel and the West Bank. King Abdullah integrated this region into the government of Jordan by giving it equal representation in the Parliament. However, after Jordan lost the Westbank to Israel, he imposed martial law. “The Jordan-Israel Peace Treaty was signed on October 26, 1994, at the southern border crossing of Wadi ‘Araba. The treaty guaranteed Jordan the restoration of its occupied land, as well as an equitable share of water from the Yarmouk and Jordan rivers. Moreover, the treaty defined Jordan’s western borders clearly and conclusively for the first time, putting an end to the dangerous and false Zionist claim that “Jordan is Palestine.” So that “Israel” wouldn’t try to classify Jordan and Palestine and give a reason occupy more land. However just this past year Jordan refused to renew the treaty, while Israel was leasing 405 acres of land from Jordan for agriculture reasons. Abdullah II of Jordan has amid public pressure to rebuke the Israeli government because of the U.S. Embassy’s move to Jerusalem and ongoing violence in Gaza while Israel wants to expand their relationship.

King Hussein finally began to initiate gradual political liberalization, first with the reinstitution of parliamentary elections, then the legalization of political parties in 1992. The Constitution of 1952 created a constitutional monarchy with a monarch, prime minister, council of ministers, bicameral legislature, judiciary, and high tribunal. With that being said the national language became Arabic and national religion became Islam. However, while it recognized many personal freedoms such as the freedom of worship, expression, assembly, and the press, these freedoms were subject to possible limitation by law.

The 1952 constitution is the most recent of a series of legislative instruments that, both before and after independence, have increased executive responsibility. In modern day Jordan the Legislative powers are shared by the king and Parliament, which is comprised of the 40-member House of Notables while the 80-member House of Deputies while senators are appointed by the king. The houses of Parliament have several permanent committees, including: Legal, Financial, Administrative and Foreign Affairs. Members of Lower House of Parliament committees are elected for two years. “The Law Amending the Law of Election to the House of Deputies for the Year 1993” which adjusted Jordan’s electoral system to the principle of “one person, one vote.” The provisional law ended the previous voting system, whereby voters were entitled to as many votes as the number of parliamentary seats allocated for their district. This new law divides the country into 20 electoral constituencies, each with a certain allotment of seats in the Lower House of Parliament. Jordanians 18 years of age and older may vote. Political parties were banned before the elections in 1963, however. Between 1971 and 1976, when it was abolished, the Arab National Union was the only political organization allowed.

Jordan’s level of support for the Jordanian government have develop over time and is possibly rooted from mass media and political socialization. Any political socialization sends the messages that mass media does communicate originated from other agencies such as the family or public education systems. For example, Young people in Jordan only know what they know from mass media and base their political views on that while only taking interest in international news beside domestic news. Despite the apparent equality of men and women in Jordan, women remain noticeably inactive in the political sphere. The political socialization and structure for the women in Jordan and considerably low considering having undergone rapid liberalization, demarcation, and modernization. Government officials and scholars still question why the women empowerment at the economic and educational levels have not been converted into political power, could it be social factors, family, or political factors? Although women in Jordan have had significant improvement with improving legislative and, gaining seats in parliament, their participation in the public sphere has been very limiting.

“Globalization is widely used nowadays in different aspects of life. It is a term that we have been hearing quite frequently, which consequently leads one to wonder whether it is a new concept that have concurred in our lives recently or it has roots in the history of humanity”. “Globalization means global, transnational interactions of people, shared cultures, information and technology, education, economy and value systems beyond the cultural divide of West and East. In other literature, Globalization is a historical process that began with the first movement of people out of Africa into other parts of the world, traveling short, then longer distances, migrants, merchants, and others have always taken their ideas, customs, and products into new lands. Others suggest that the phenomenon of globalization began in a primitive form when humans first settled into different areas of the world; however, it has shown a rather steady and rapid progress in recent times and has become an international dynamic which, due to technological advancements in Jordan. “It has increased in speed and scale, so that countries in all five continents have been affected and engaged or it is from the economic, political and cultural point of view’. “Globalization shows, on the one hand locality, on the other hand globality. It also presents uniformity and multiplicity. It affects national and local practices but at the same time these national and local practices affect global processes”. According to Al- Zyoud “During the Arab Spring in 2011, Jordan reportedly received over $10 billion dollars in foreign aid. Despite the generous donations that Amman receives, it still struggles with an economic crisis fueled by a national debt of nearly $40 billion, an 18.5 percent unemployment rate, a debt-to-GDP ratio of 95 percent, and an average per capita income of $5,213”. The massive informal economy employing nearly half of the national labor force, and the continued implementation of business-friendly labor policies, unemployment risen, and average income levels dropped which increases the level inequality. According to Marwan A. Kardoosh “Per capita GDP, which is more relevant to people’s lives, hasn’t grown at all due to Jordan’s swelling population’. which has lots to do with refuges fleeing war and seeking asylum in Jordan and this causes a high rate of unemployment, simply because there are just no jobs. Many Jordanian citizens work and save as much as they can to be able to come to America to work to prosper more economically. The capital in any country has lots to do with how the citizens live and make their money, in a country like Jordan where a large percentage of their people are unemployed causes gowning debt, increase in social instabilities and can effect international trade, which would most defiantly be a big issue for Jordan.

Jordan’s monarchy rule shows its weaknesses and strengths, while the country today struggles to keep their people on their two feet economically, they also have a low participation rate in politics and a low voter turnout when it comes to the political culture and political socialization in Jordan. Although Jordan inhibits small bits of democracy when it comes to the citizens being able to vote on seats in parliament, it is still a monarchy. Globalization will either make it or break it for Jordan unless their economy and capital improve over time. As the citizens being to become more and more impatient with the government a coupe or an antigovernment uprising is in their near future.

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