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November 06, 1992 - Image 39

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-11-06

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

pursue different lifestyles.
King Hussein, who assumed
the throne at age 17, barely
finished high school and put
in less than a year at
Britain's Royal Military
Academy at Sandhurst.
The Oxford-educated
crown prince has followed
his predilection for intellec-
tual pursuits in authoring
two books on Middle Eastern
affairs: one on the Palestin-
ian question, the other on
the status of Jerusalem.
King Hussein has had four
wives, while his more con-
servative brother has been
married to the same woman
— a Pakistani beauty he met
at Oxford — for 24 years.
The brothers are also said
to have differing views on a
number of political issues.
Crown Prince Hassan was
less than enthusiastic, for
example, about Jordan's
support of Saddam Hussein
after the Iraqi conquest of
Kuwait. He is also re-
portedly less committed
than the king to Jordan's
attachment to the West
Bank.
Should Crown Prince
Hassan ascend the throne
any time soon, he will in-
herit a country that is
manifestly stable but suffer-
ing from a variety of prob-
lems that could set off un-
rest. Jordan has long been
plagued by economic
difficulties, and with the
population growth rate (3.5
percent) exceeding that of
the GNP, it is easy to under-
stand why. Yet except for
the outbreak of food riots in
1989, the government has
managed to keep potentially
disruptive elements in
check.
That task may become
more difficult as time goes
on. For Jordan, (much like
Lebanon, Iraq, and even
Syria) is marked by di-
vergent power and demo-
graphic structures. Like
many traditional monar-
chies, King Hussein's
regime rests upon a power
base of influential families
— in this case indigenous
residents of the East Bank
plus a few families that
migrated from the Arabian
peninsula and the West
Bank. This "Trans-
Jordanian elite" is the
mainstay of both the army
and the government bureau-
cracy.
The majority of Jordan's
citizens, however (between
50 and 60 per cent after the
entry of 300,000 refugees
from Kuwait following the
Gulf War,) is Palestinian.
And though well assimilated
into East Bank society, the
Palestinians do not

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