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JORDAN

LOCATION, SIZE, AND EXTENT
TOPOGRAPHY
CLIMATE
FLORA AND FAUNA
ENVIRONMENT
POPULATION
MIGRATION
ETHNIC GROUPS
LANGUAGES
RELIGIONS
TRANSPORTATION
HISTORY
GOVERNMENT
POLITICAL PARTIES
LOCAL GOVERNMENT
JUDICIAL SYSTEM
ARMED FORCES
INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION
ECONOMY
INCOME
LABOR
AGRICULTURE
ANIMAL HUSBANDRY
FISHING
FORESTRY
MINING
ENERGY AND POWER
INDUSTRY
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
DOMESTIC TRADE
FOREIGN TRADE
BALANCE OF PAYMENTS
BANKING AND SECURITIES
INSURANCE
PUBLIC FINANCE
TAXATION
CUSTOMS AND DUTIES
FOREIGN INVESTMENT
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
HEALTH
HOUSING
EDUCATION
LIBRARIES AND MUSEUMS
MEDIA
ORGANIZATIONS
TOURISM, TRAVEL, AND RECREATION
FAMOUS JORDANIANS
DEPENDENCIES
BIBLIOGRAPHY

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

Al-Mamlaka al-Urdunniyya al-Hashimiyya

CAPITAL: 'Ammān

FLAG: The national flag is a tricolor of black, white, and green horizontal stripes with a seven-pointed white star on a red triangle at the hoist.

ANTHEM: As-Salam al-Maliki (Long Live the King).

MONETARY UNIT: The Jordanian dinar (jd) is a paper currency of 1,000 fils. There are coins of 1, 5, 10, 20, 25, 50, 100, and 250 fils and notes of ½, 1, 5, 10, and 20 dinars. jd1 = $1.40845 (or $1 = jd0.71) as of 2005.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: The metric system is the legal standard, but some local and Syrian units are still widely used, especially in the villages.

HOLIDAYS: Arbor Day, 15 January; Independence Day, 25 May; Accession of King Hussein, 11 August; King Hussein's Birthday, 14 November. Muslim religious holidays include the 1st of Muharram (Islamic New Year), 'Id al-Fitr, 'Id al-'Adha', and Milad an-Nabi. Christmas and Easter are observed by sizable Christian minorities.

TIME: 2 pm = noon GMT.

LOCATION, SIZE, AND EXTENT

Situated in southwest Asia, Jordan has an area of 92,300 sq km (35,637 sq mi). Jordan extends 562 km (349 mi) nesw and 349 km (217 mi) senw. Comparatively, the area occupied by Jordan is slightly smaller than the state of Indiana. It is bounded on the n by Syria, on the ne by Iraq, on the e and s by Saudi Arabia, on the sw by the Gulf of Aqaba, and on the w by Israel, with a total land boundary length of 1,635 km (1,016 mi) and a coastline of 26 km (16 mi).

Jordan's capital city, 'Ammān, is located in the northwestern part of the country.

TOPOGRAPHY

The Jordan Valley has a maximum depression of 392 m (1,286 ft) below sea level at the Dead Sea; south of the Dead Sea the depression, called Wadi'Araba, slowly rises to reach sea level about halfway to the Gulf of Aqaba. To the east of the Jordan River, the Transjordanian plateaus have an average altitude of 910 m (3,000 ft), with hills rising to more than 1,650 m (5,400 ft) in the south. Farther eastward, the highlands slope down gently toward the desert, which constitutes 88% of the East Bank. The Jordan River enters the country from Israel to the north and flows into the Dead Sea; its main tributary is the Yarmuk, which near its juncture forms the border between Jordan and Syria. The Dead Sea is the lowest point on the earth's surface, at 408 m (1,339 ft) below the level of the Mediterranean. The Dead Sea has a mineral content of about 30%.

CLIMATE

The Jordan Valley has little rainfall, intense summer heat, and mild, pleasant winters. The hill country of the East Bankancient Moab, Edom, and Gileadhas a modified Mediterranean climate, with less rainfall and hot, dry summers. The desert regions are subject to great extremes of temperature and receive rainfall of less than 20 cm (8 in) annually, while the rest of the country has an average rainfall of up to 58 cm (23 in) a year. Temperatures at 'Ammān range from about 4°c (39°f) in winter to more than 32°c (90°f) in summer.

FLORA AND FAUNA

Plants and animals are those common to the eastern Mediterranean and the Syrian Desert. The vegetation ranges from semi-tropical flora in the Jordan Valley and other regions to shrubs and drought-resistant bushes in the desert. About 1% of the land is forested. The wild fauna includes the jackal, hyena, fox, wildcat, gazelle, ibex, antelope, and rabbit; the vulture, sand grouse, skylark, partridge, quail, woodcock, and goldfinch; and the viper, diced water snake, and Syrian black snake. As of 2002, there were at least 71 species of mammals, 117 species of birds, and over 2,100 species of plants throughout the country.

ENVIRONMENT

Jordan's principal environmental problems are insuffi cient water resources, soil erosion caused by overgrazing of goats and sheep, and deforestation. Water pollution is an important issue in Jordan. Jordan has 1 cu km of renewable water resources with 75% used for farming activity and 3% used for industrial purposes. About 91% of the total population have access to pure water. It is expected that the rate of population growth will place more demands on an already inadequate water supply. Current sources of pollution are sewage, herbicides, and pesticides.

Jordan's wildlife was reduced drastically by livestock overgrazing and uncontrolled hunting between 1930 and 1960; larger wild animals, such as the Arabian oryx, onager, and Asiatic lion, have completely disappeared. Under a law of 1973, the government has prohibited unlicensed hunting of birds or wild animals and unlicensed sport fishing, as well as the cutting of trees, shrubs, and plants. As of 2003, 3.4% of Jordan's total land area is protected.

According to a 2006 report issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), threatened species included 7 types of mammals, 14 species of birds, 1 type of reptile, 5 species of fish, and 3 species of invertebrates. Endangered species in Jordan include the South Arabian leopard, the sand cat, the cheetah, and the goitered gazelle.

POPULATION

The population of Jordan in 2005 was estimated by the United Nations (UN) at 5,795,000, which placed it at number 104 in population among the 193 nations of the world. In 2005, approximately 3% of the population was over 65 years of age, with another 37% of the population under 15 years of age. There were 108 males for every 100 females in the country. According to the UN, the annual population rate of change for 200510 was expected to be 2.4%, a rate the government viewed as too high. The government has allocated funds to improve education about reproductive health. The projected population for the year 2025 was 8,265,000. The population density was 65 per sq km (168 per sq mi), with the highest density in the northern Jordan River Valley. A portion of the population is nomadic.

The UN estimated that 79% of the population lived in urban areas in 2005, and that urban areas were growing at an annual rate of 2.30%. The capital city, 'Ammān, had a population of 1,237,000 in that year.

MIGRATION

In 2000 there were 1,945,000 migrants living in Jordan, accounting for approximately 40% of the total population. Of those migrants, 83%, or about 1,610,100 were refugees. In 2004 Jordan hosted 1,740,170 refugees and 12,453 asylum seekers. Also, in 2004, 243 Jordanians sought asylum in Canada and Sweden. The net migration rate estimated for 2005 was 6.42 migrants per thousand population. The government views the immigration level as too high, and the emigration level as too low.

There were 350,000 Jordanians in Kuwait before the 1990 Iraqi attack on Kuwait. Jordan sided with Iraq in the Gulf War, as a result most Jordanians were expelled from Kuwait. However, by 2001, there were 30,000 Jordanians in Kuwait, counting 9,000 as employed. In 2003, there were an estimated 400,000 Jordanian expatriates working outside the country, most in oil-rich Arab Gulf countries. Worker remittances in 2003 amounted to $2.2 billion, up 2.2% from 2002.

ETHNIC GROUPS

Ethnically, the Jordanians represent a mixed stock. Most of the population is Arab (approximately 98%), but, except for the Bedouin nomads and seminomads of the desert and steppe areas, this element is overlain by the numerous peoples that have been present in Jordan for millennia, including Greek, Egyptian, Persian, European, and Negroid strains. The Palestinian Arabs now resident in Jordan tend to be sedentary and urban. Perhaps 1% of the population is Armenian, and another 1% is Circassian. There are also small Kurd, Druze, and Chechen minorities.

LANGUAGES

Arabic is the official language of the country and is spoken even by the ethnic minorities who maintain their own languages in their everyday lives. The spoken Arabic of the country is essentially a vernacular of literary Arabic; it is common to neighboring countries as well but is quite different from the spoken language in Egypt. There also are differences between the languages of the towns and of the countryside, and between those of the East and West banks. English is widely understood by the upper and middle classes. About 1.7 million people are registered as Palestinian refugees and displaced persons; most of these are citizens.

RELIGIONS

Islam is the state religion, although all are guaranteed religious freedom. Most Jordanians (about 95%) are Sunni Muslims. Of the racial minorities, the Turkomans and Circassians are Sunni Muslims, but the Druzes are a heterodox Muslim sect. Christians constitute about 4% of the population and live mainly in 'Ammān or the Jordan Valley; most are Greek Orthodox or Roman Catholic. Other officially recognized denominations include Melkite, Armenian Orthodox, Maronite, Assyrian, Anglican, Lutheran, Seventh-Day Adventist, United Pentecostal, and Presbyterian. Groups registered as religious societies by the government include Baptists, Free Evangelicals, Nazarenes, the Christian Missionary Alliance, and Assemblies of God. There are some members of the Coptic church; these are primarily Egyptian immigrants. The Baha'is are mainly of Persian stock. Chaldean and Syriac Christians are also represented. A tiny community of Samaritans maintains the faith of its ancestors, a heterodox form of the ancient Jewish religion. There are numerous missionary groups within the country.

The constitution provides for religious freedom with the stipulation the all religious practices are within the semblance of "public order and morality." Non-Muslims are not permitted to proselytize to Muslims. Conversion from Islam to other faiths is not expressly prohibited, but converts face a great deal of legal and social discrimination. Certain Muslim and Christian holidays are celebrated as national holidays. The Royal Institute for Interfaith Studies and the Royal Academy for Islamic Civilization research are government-sponsored organizations that promote tolerance and understanding between Muslims and Christians.

TRANSPORTATION

Jordan's transportation facilities are underdeveloped, but improvements have been made in recent years. The third development plan (198690) allotted jd445 million for transportation. A good road network links the principal towns and connects with Syria, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. In 2003 Jordan's road system totaled 7,364 km (4,580 mi), all of which were paved. In 2003, there were 315,250 passenger cars and 107,920 commercial vehicles.

The rail system, as of 2004, consisted of some 505 km (314 mi) of narrow-gauge single track, and is a section of the old Hijaz railway (Damascus to Medina) for Muslim pilgrims. It runs from the Syrian border through 'Ammān to Ma'an, where it connects with a spur line to the port of Al-'Aqabah. Reconstruction of the section from Ma'an to Medina in Saudi Arabia, which had been destroyed in World War I, was undertaken in the early 1970s as a joint venture by Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Syria.

Al-'Aqabah, Jordan's only outlet to the sea, is situated at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba, an arm of the Red Sea. The port was initially developed after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, which cut off Arab Palestine and Transjordan from Mediterranean ports; substantial development did not begin until the 1960s. The port has been enlarged for general use, including terminals for loading potash and fertilizers. In 2005 Jordan had 20 merchant ships of 1,000 GRT or more, totaling 78,814 GRT.

Jordan had an estimated 17 airports in 2004. As of 2005 a total of 15 were paved, and there was also one heliport. The major airport is the Queen Alia International Airport, about 30 km (19 mi) south of 'Ammān, which was opened in the early 1980s. Aqaba Airport is the other international airport. The government-owned Alia-Royal Jordanian Airline operates domestic and international flights. In 2003, about 1.313 million passengers were carried on scheduled domestic and international flights.

HISTORY

As part of the Fertile Crescent connecting Africa and Asia, the area now known as Jordan has long been a major transit zone and often an object of contention among rival powers. It has a relatively well known prehistory and history. Neolithic remains from about 7000 bc have been found in Jericho, the oldest known city in the world. City-states were well developed in the Bronze Age (c.32002100 bc). In the 16th century bc, the Egyptians first conquered Palestine, and in the 13th century bc, Semitic-speaking peoples established kingdoms on both banks of the Jordan. In the 10th century bc, the western part of the area of Jordan (on both banks of the Jordan River) formed part of the domain of the Hebrew kings David and Solomon, while subsequently the West Bank became part of the Kingdom of Judah. A succession of outside conquerors held sway in the area until, in the 4th century bc, Palestine and Syria were conquered by Alexander the Great, beginning about 1,000 years of intermittent European rule. After the death of Alexander, the whole area was disputed among the Seleucids of Syria, the Ptolemies of Egypt, and native dynasties, such as the Hasmoneans (Maccabees); in the 1st century bc, it came under the domination of Rome. In Hellenistic and Roman times, a flourishing civilization developed on the East Bank; meanwhile, in southern Jordan, the Nabataean kingdom, a native Arab state in alliance with Rome, developed a distinctive culture, blending Arab and Greco-Roman elements, and built its capital at Petra, a city whose structures hewn from red sandstone cliffs survive today. With the annexation of Nabataea by Trajan in the 2nd century ad, Palestine and areas east of the Jordan came under direct Roman rule. Christianity spread rapidly in Jordan and for 300 years was the dominant religion.

The Byzantine phase of Jordan's history, from the establishment of Constantinople as the capital of the empire to the Arab conquest, was one of gradual decline. When the Muslim invaders appeared, little resistance was offered, and in 636, Arab rule was firmly established. Soon thereafter, the area became thoroughly Arabized and Islamized, remaining so to this day despite a century-long domination by the Crusaders (12th century). Under the Ottoman Turks (15171917), the lands east of the Jordan were part of the Damascus vilayet (an administrative division of the empire), while the West Bank formed part of the sanjak (a further subdivision) of Jerusalem within the vilayet of Beirut.

During World War I, Sharif Hussein ibn-'Ali (Husayn bin 'Ali), the Hashemite (or Hashimite) ruler of Mecca and the Hijaz, aided and incited by the United Kingdom (which somewhat hazily promised him an independent Arab state), touched off an Arab revolt against the Turks. After the defeat of the Turks, Palestine and Transjordan were placed under British mandate; in 1921, Hussein's son 'Abdallah was installed by the British as emir of Transjordan. In 1923, the independence of Transjordan was proclaimed under British supervision, which was partially relaxed by a 1928 treaty, and in 1939, a local cabinet government (Council of Ministers) was formed. In 1946, Transjordan attained full independence, and on 25 May, 'Abdallah was proclaimed king of the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan. After the Arab-Israeli War of 1948, King 'Abdallah annexed a butterfly shaped area of Palestine bordering the Jordan (thereafter called the West Bank), which was controlled by his army and which he contended was included in the area that had been promised to Sharif Hussein. On 24 April 1950, after general elections had been held in the East and West banks, an act of union joined Jordanian-occupied Palestine and the Kingdom of Transjordan to form the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Th is action was condemned by some Arab states as evidence of inordinate Hashemite ambitions. Meanwhile, Jordan, since the 1948 war, had absorbed about 500,000 of some 1,000,000 Palestinian Arab refugees, mostly sheltered in UN-administered camps, and another 500,000 nonrefugee Palestinians. Despite what was now a Palestinian majority, power remained with the Jordanian elite loyal to the throne. On 20 July 1951, 'Abdallah was assassinated in Jerusalem by a Palestinian Arab, and his eldest son, Talal, was proclaimed king. Because of mental illness, however, King Talal was declared unfit to rule, and succession passed to his son Hussein I (Husayn ibn-Talal), who, after a brief period of regency until he reached 18 years of age, was formally enthroned on 2 May 1953.

Between the accession of King Hussein and the war with Israel in 1967, Jordan was beset not only with problems of economic development, internal security, and Arab-Israeli tensions but also with diffi culties stemming from its relations with the Western powers and the Arab world. Following the overthrow of Egypt's King Faruk in July 1952, the Arab countries were strongly influenced by "Arab socialism" and aspirations to Arab unity (both for its own sake and as a precondition for defeating Israel). Early in Hussein's reign, extreme nationalists stepped up their attempts to weaken the regime and its ties with the United Kingdom. Notwithstanding the opposition of most Arabs, including many Jordanians, Jordan maintained a close association with the United Kingdom in an effort to preserve the kingdom as a separate, sovereign entity. However, the invasion of Egypt by Israel in October 1956, and the subsequent Anglo-French intervention at Suez, made it politically impossible to maintain cordial relations with the United Kingdom. Negotiations were begun to end the treaty with Britain, and thus the large military subsidies for which it provided; the end of the treaty also meant the end of British bases and of British troops in Jordan. The Jordanian army remained loyal, and the king's position was bolstered when the United States and Saudi Arabia indicated their intention to preserve Jordan against any attempt by Syria to occupy the country. After the formation of the United Arab Republic by Egypt and Syria and the assassination of his cousin, King Faisal II (Faysal) of Iraq, in a July 1958 coup, Hussein turned again to the West for support, and British troops were flown to Jordan from Cyprus.

When the crisis was over, a period of relative calm ensued. Hussein, while retaining Jordan's Western ties, gradually steadied his relations with other Arab states (except Syria), established relations with the USSR, and initiated several important economic development measures. But even in years of comparative peace, relations with Israel remained the focus of Jordanian and Arab attention. Terrorist raids launched from within Jordan drew strong Israeli reprisals, and the activities of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) often impinged on Jordanian sovereignty, leading Hussein in July 1966, and again in early 1967, to suspend support for the PLO, thus drawing Arab enmity upon himself. On 5 June 1967, an outbreak of hostilities occurred between Israel and the combined forces of Jordan, Syria, and Egypt. These hostilities lasted only six days, during which Israel occupied the Golan Heights in Syria, Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, and the Jordanian West Bank, including all of Jerusalem. Jordan suffered heavy casualties, and a large-scale exodus of Palestinians (over 300,000) across the Jordan River to the East Bank swelled Jordan's refugee population (700,000 in 1966), adding to the war's severe economic disruption.

After Hussein's acceptance of a cease-fire with Israel in August 1970, he tried to suppress various Palestinian guerrilla organizations whose operations had brought retaliation upon Jordan. The imposition of military rule in September led to a 10-day civil war between the army and the Palestinian forces (supported briefly by Syria which was blocked by Israel), ended by the mediation of other Arab governments. Subsequently, however, Hussein launched an offensive against Palestinian guerrillas in Jordan, driving them out in July 1971. In the following September, Premier Wasfi al-Tal was assassinated by guerrilla commandos, and coup attempts, in which Libya was said to have been involved, were thwarted in November 1972 and February 1973.

Jordan did not open a third front against Israel in the October 1973 war but sent an armored brigade of about 2,500 men to assist Syria. After the war, relations between Jordan and Syria improved. Hussein reluctantly endorsed the resolution passed by Arab nations on 28 October 1974 in Rabat, Morocco, recognizing the PLO as "sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people on any liberated Palestinian territory," including, implicitly, the Israeli-held West Bank. After the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty of 1979, Jordan joined other Arab states in trying to isolate Egypt diplomatically, and Hussein refused to join further Egyptian-Israeli talks on the future of the West Bank.

After the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and the resulting expulsion of Palestinian guerrillas, Jordan began to coordinate peace initiatives with the PLO. These efforts culminated in a February 1985 accord between Jordan and the PLO, in which both parties agreed to work together toward "a peaceful and just settlement to the Palestinian question." In February 1986, however, Hussein announced that Jordan was unable to continue to coordinate politically with the PLO, which scrapped the agreement in April 1987. The following year the King renounced Jordan's claim to the West Bank and subsequently patched up relations with the PLO, Syria, and Egypt. In 1990, owing largely to popular support for Saddam Hussein, Jordan was critical of coalition efforts to use force to expel Iraqi forces from Kuwait. Relations with the United States and the Gulf states were impaired; Jordan lost its subsidies from the latter while having to support hundreds of thousands of refugees from the war and the aftermath. Jordan's willingness to participate in peace talks with Israel in late 1991 helped repair relations with Western countries. In June 1994, Jordan and Israel began meetings to work out practical steps on water, borders, and energy which would lead to normal relations. And, later that year, Jordan and Israel signed a peace treaty, ending the state of war that had existed between the two neighbors for decades. Relations with the major players in the Gulf War also improved in the years after the war. In 1996, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait were well on the way toward establishing normal relations.

Internally in the 1980s, Hussein followed policies of gradual political liberalization which were given new impetus by serious rioting over high prices in 1989. In that year, for the first time since 1956, Jordan held relatively free parliamentary elections in which Islamists gained more than one-third of the 80 seats. Martial law was ended in 1991 and new parliamentary elections were held in 1993. The King's supporters won 54 seats with the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies taking 18 places, the largest bloc of any party. However, the 1997 elections were boycotted by a number of opposition groups, who complained of unfair election laws, and the new upper house of parliament appointed by King Hussein did not include any members of Islamist groups.

In 1998 Hussein underwent treatment for cancer in the United States and delegated some of his powers to his brother, crown prince Hassan, who was next in the line of succession to the throne. The following winter, however, Hussein named his son Abdallah heir apparent. On 8 February 1999 King Hussein died, ending a 46-year reign; his funeral was attended by dignitaries from countries throughout the world. King Abdallah II pledged his support for the Middle East peace process, a more open government, and economic reforms requested by the IMF. However, there was widespread uncertainty about how the untested 37-year-old heir would meet the challenges thrust upon him.

His first year in power reassured many observers, both at home and abroad. Domestically, he pushed through a series of trade bills that helped pave the way of the country's admission to the WTO, which came in April 2000, and declared his intention of implementing wide-ranging administrative and educational reforms. On the international front, Abdallah played a role in the resumption of talks between Israel and Syria and also took a firm stance against the presence of Islamic extremists in his own country, driving the radical Hamas organization out of Jordan.

Abdallah dissolved parliament in June 2001, elections were postponed twice, and were held in June 2003. Independent candidates loyal to the king won two-thirds of the seats. In October 2003, a new cabinet was appointed following the resignation of Prime Minister Ali Abu al-Ragheb. Faisal al-Fayez was appointed prime minister. The king also appointed three female ministers. In April 2005, a new cabinet was sworn in, led by Prime Minister Adnan Badran, after the previous government resigned amid reports of the king's unhappiness over the pace of reforms.

Following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Jordan enacted a series of temporary laws imposing sharp restrictions on the right to public assembly and protest. A law broadened the definition of "terrorism," and allowed for the freezing of suspects' bank accounts. The number of offenses carrying the death penalty was increased, and journalists who publish articles which the government deems harmful to national unity or to be incitement to protests were subject to three years' imprisonment.

In October 2002, senior US diplomat Laurence Foley was assassinated outside his home in 'Ammān. In April 2004, eight Islamic militants were sentenced to death for their role in the assassination.

In March 2005, Jordan returned its ambassador to Israel after a four-year absence. Jordan had recalled its envoy after the start of the al-Aqsa intifada in 2000.

GOVERNMENT

Jordan is a constitutional monarchy based on the constitution of 8 January 1952. The king has wide powers over all branches of government. The constitution vests legislative power in the bicameral national assembly, composed of a 55-member senate and a 110-member lower house of representatives (chamber of deputies). Senators are appointed by the king for renewable four-year terms; the chamber of deputies is elected by secret ballot for a four-year term, but the king may dissolve the chamber and order new elections. Six seats in the chamber of deputies are reserved for women. There is universal suffrage at age 18, women having received the right to vote in April 1973; general elections were held in 1989, 1993, 1997, and 2003. In February 1999, King Abdallah II succeeded to the throne following the death of his father, King Hussein.

The national assembly is convened and may be prorogued by the king, who also has veto power over legislation. The executive power of the king is administered by a cabinet, or council of ministers. The king appoints the prime minister, who then selects the other ministers, subject to royal approval. The ministers need not be members of the chamber of deputies. In the prolonged emergency created by the wars with Israel and by internal disorders, especially after 1968, King Hussein exercised nearly absolute power. The national assembly, adjourned by the king in 1974, met briefly in 1976 to amend the constitution; parliamentary elections were postponed indefinitely because of the West Bank situation, and the Assembly was then dissolved. In 1978, King Hussein established a national consultative council of 60 appointed members. The national assembly was reconvened in 1984, as King Hussein sought to strengthen his hand in future maneuvering on the Palestinian problem. Political parties were legalized in 1992. The freely elected parliaments of 1989 and 1993 played an increasingly active and independent role in governance, with open debate and criticism of government personalities and policies. However, new press restrictions were imposed by 1997, and a majority of opposition groups boycotted the elections that year. King Abdallah dissolved parliament in June 2001 and postponed elections until summer 2002; they were once again postponed and finally held in June 2003.

POLITICAL PARTIES

Political parties were abolished on 25 April 1957, following an alleged attempted coup by pan-Arab militants. In the elections of 1962, 1963, and 1967, candidates qualified in a screening procedure by the Interior Ministry ran for office, in effect, as independents. The Jordanian National Union, formed in September 1971 as the official political organization of Jordan and renamed the Arab National Union in March 1972, became inactive by the mid-1970s. In 1990, the election law was amended to ban bloc voting or by party lists, substituting instead a "one person, one vote" system. In 1992, political parties were again permitted and 22 were authorized to take part in elections. The principal opposition group has been the Islamic Action Front, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood.

In the parliamentary elections of 8 November 1993, 22 political parties fielded candidates, representing a wide range of political views. Seats were widely dispersed among a range of largely centrist parties supportive of King Hussein's IMF-modeled reforms and his pro-Western stance. The largest bloc of seats, however, was won by the Islamic Action Front, an arm of the Muslim Brotherhood. In 1997, nine pro-government parties, hoping to gain leverage against the large Islamist bloc in upcoming elections, banded together to form the National Constitutional Party. However, the grouping won only a total of three seats, and the Islamic opposition boycotted the elections altogether. Only six parties fielded candidates. Independent pro-government candidates representing local tribal interests won 62 out of the 80 contested seats; 10 seats were won by nationalist and leftist candidates; and 8 by independent Islamists.

In the 2003 elections for the chamber of deputies, independents won 89.6% of the vote, or 92 seats; the Islamic Action Front won 10.4% of the vote or 18 seats. One of the six seats reserved for women was awarded to an IAF candidate. The turnout was 57%.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Eastern Jordan is divided into 12 governoratesAjlun, Al' Aqabah, 'Ammān, Irbid, Balga, Jarash, Al Karak, Ma'ān, Ma'dabā, Az Zarqā', Al Mafraq, and Aţ Tafilaheach under a governor appointed by the king on the recommendation of the interior minister. The towns and larger villages are administered by municipal councils. A new municipal elections law provides for the election of half the council members, while the other half are government appointees. Mayors and council presidents are appointed by the council of ministers. Smaller villages are headed by a headman (mukhtar ), who in most cases is elected informally.

JUDICIAL SYSTEM

There are six jurisdictions in the judiciary: four levels of civil and criminal jurisdiction, religious jurisdiction, and tribal courts. The civil code of 1977 regulates civil legal procedures. The Supreme Court, acting as a court of cassation, deals with appeals from lower courts. In some instances, as in actions against the government, it sits as a high court of justice. The courts of appeal hear appeals from all lower courts. Courts of first instance hear major civil and criminal cases. Magistrates' courts deal with cases not coming within the jurisdiction of courts of first instance. Religious courts have jurisdiction in matters concerning personal status (marriage, divorce, wills and testaments, orphans, etc.), where the laws of the different religious sects vary. The Shariah courts deal with the Muslim community, following the procedure laid down by the Ottoman Law of 1913. The Council of Religious Communities has jurisdiction over analogous cases among non-Muslims. Tribal courts, which have jurisdiction in most matters concerning tribe members, are losing their importance as more people take their cases to the government courts instead.

In 1991, the state security court, which hears security cases in panels of at least three judges, replaced the martial law court. Under 1993 amendments to the state security court law, all security court decisions may be appealed to the court of cassation on issues of law and weight of evidence. Prior to 1993, the court of cassation reviewed only cases involving death or imprisonment for over 10 years, and review was limited to errors of law.

Although the judiciary is independent, it is subject to political pressure and interference by the executive branch. The constitution prohibits arbitrary interference with privacy, family, and home. Police must obtain a judicial warrant before conducting searches.

Jordan drew up a comprehensive plan to modernize its judicial system. The 11-point 200206 judicial reform plan sought to enhance the efficiency of the court system and to strengthen judicial independence, among other initiatives.

ARMED FORCES

In 2005, the Jordanian armed forces had 100,500 active personnel with 35,000 reservists. The Army numbered 85,000 personnel and was equipped with 1,120 main battle tanks, 19 light tanks, more than 226 armored infantry fighting vehicles, 1,350 armored personnel carriers, and 1,233 artillery pieces. The Air Force had 15,000 active personnel, including 3,400 air defense personnel. Equipment included 100 combat capable aircraft, including 85 fighters and another 15 used for training. The Air Force also had over 40 attack helicopters. The Jordanian Navy had an estimated 500 active members. The service's major naval units consisted of 20 patrol/coastal vessels. Paramilitary forces consisted of the Public Security Directorate with an estimated 10,000 members. The Jordanian defense budget in 2005 totaled $956 million. Jordan had peacekeepers stationed in 11 regions or countries around the world.

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

Jordan became a member of the United Nations on 14 December 1955 and belongs to ESCWA and several nonregional specialized agencies, such as the FAO, UNESCO, UNIDO, WHO, IFC, IMF, and the World Bank. Jordan became a member of the WTO in 2000. It is one of the founding members of the Arab League and also participates in the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, the Arab Monetary Fund, the Council of Arab Economic Unity, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), and G-77. It is a partner in the OSCE.

Jordan has greatly benefited from the work of UNICEF and of UNRWA, which helps the Palestinian refugees. Jordan and Israel signed a peace treaty in 1994 and exchanged ambassadors the following year. The country has supported UN missions and operations in Kosovo (est. 1999), Ethiopia and Eritrea (est. 2000), Liberia (est. 2003), Sierra Leone (est. 1999), East Timor (est. 2002), Georgia (est. 1993), and Haiti (est. 2004), among others. Jordan is a member of the Nonaligned Movement.

In environmental cooperation, Jordan is part of the Basel Convention, the Convention on Biological Diversity, Ramsar, CITES, the London Convention, the Kyoto Protocol, the Montréal Protocol, the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and the UN Conventions on the Law of the Sea, Climate Change, and Desertification.

ECONOMY

Jordan's economy has been profoundly affected by the Arab-Israeli conflict. The incorporation of the West Bank after the war of 1948 and the first exodus of Palestinians from the territory that became Israel tripled the population, causing grave economic and social problems. The loss of the West Bank in 1967 resulted not only in a second exodus of Palestinians but also in the loss of most of Jordan's richest agricultural land and a decline in the growing tourist industry. The 197071 civil war and the October 1973 war also brought setbacks to development plans. The steadying influence has been foreign funds. An estimated 80% of annual national income in the early 1980s came from direct grants from and exports to oil-rich Arab countries and from remittances by Jordanians working there. Also important to the economy has been Western economic aid, notably from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany. The economy expanded rapidly during 197580, growing in real terms by an average of 9% a year, but the growth rate slowed to 5% in 1985, primarily from reductions in aid from other Arab states because of their declining oil receipts. The onset of the recession in Jordan in the mid-1980s followed by the economic collapse of 198889 and the Gulf conflict in 1990 left the country with an unemployment rate of approximately 3035%, high inflation, and about 2530% of the population living below the poverty line.

When in 1989 Jordan was unable to service its external debt due to 100 repayment commitments, the Jordanian government concluded an agreement with the IMF to pursue a series of economic reforms across a five year period (that is, by 1993) in exchange for bridge finance: the budget deficit was to be reduced from 24% of GDP to 10% of GDP; the current account balance was to improve from a deficit equivalent to 6% of GDP to a balanced position; export earnings were to grow from $1.1 billion in 1989 to $1.7 in 1993; and the rate of inflation was to drop from 14% in 1989 to 7% in 1993. The Gulf War interrupted this program, as the Jordanian government came out on the side of Iraq, and presumably in favor of a completely different way of solving its economic vulnerability; that is, through association with an enlarged and empowered Arab state. The international economic embargo against Iraq during the Gulf War meant that Jordan lost a lucrative export and re-export market. The loss of Iraq's oil supplies resulted in Jordan having to pay the market price for oil imports from Syria and Yemen. The balance of annual aid transfers, some $200 billion, promised by the Arab oil states in 1990, failed to take into consideration the influx of some 230,000 Jordanian nationals from Kuwait that resulted from the Iraqi invasion. They imposed a strain on government services and added to the pool of unemployment.

In 1994 Jordan entered into another three-year structural adjustment program financed by IMF's Extended Fund Facility (EFF). On 26 October 1994 Jordan signed a peace treaty with Israel that contained protocols for economic reform and regional integration. The fiscal year 1994/95 saw real GDP growth of about 6% and inflation of only about 33.5%. In order to build on these gains, and to incorporate the opportunities offered by the peace accord, a new three-year program was negotiated under the EFF, which ran officially from 6 February 1996 to 8 February 1999. In this case, the program fell well short of its targets, as real GDP growth slowed to an annual average of 1%, and budget deficits as a percent of GDP increased to 10% instead of decreasing as envisioned.

In April 1999 another three-year structural adjustment program was embarked upon, this time with finance from both the EFF and the Compensatory and Contingency Financing Facility (CCFF) of the IMF. The program called for privatization, tax reform, trade liberalization, and increased foreign investment. Advances were made in all these areas. The government divested itself of shares in over 50 corporations, among the most important being the sale of a 10.5% share in the Jordan Telecommunications (JT) in an initial public offering (IPO) on the 'Ammān Stock Exchange (ASE) in October 1999, and a further sale of 40% to a France Telecom/Arab Bank Consortium in January 2001. All or portions of the subsidiaries of the national airline, the Royal Jordanian, were privatized, including the sale of 80% of Aircraft Catering Center to the Alpha British Company. By November 2002, the ASE had attained a capitalization of over $7 billion. Tax reforms included the lowering of top rates on personal and business income taxes, the elimination or reduction of a number of subsidies and exemptions, phased introduction of a value-added tax (VAT) regime, and, in connection with trade liberalization reforms, the reduction of many customs and tariffs.

In 2000, Jordan acceded to the WTO, a condition of which was the elimination of most laws limiting foreign investment. On 28 September 2001 the US Congress passed a separate Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Jordan. In the period 1999 to 2002, the biggest single stimulus to the Jordanian economy came from the Qualifying Industrial Zones (QIZs), a type of industrial estate authorized in a 1998 agreement among Jordan, Israel, and the United States, whereby manufactured exports from a QIZ could enter the US market duty free provided it contained at least 35% local content. QIZs particularly have nurtured a fast growing textile export industry. The targets set by the IMF-monitored program for 19992002including annual growth of 34%, inflation held to 23%, a budget deficit reduced to 4% of GDP by 2001, and a strengthening of the country's foreign reserve positionwere all substantially met despite the eruption of the second Palestinian intifada in late 2000 and the global economic slowdown from 2001 forward. Real GDP growth rose steadily from 3.1% to 4% to a projected 5.2% from 1999 to 2002.

Inflation, as measured by consumer prices, was negligible, falling from 3.1% in 1998 to 0.6%, 0.7%, and 1.8% for the period 19992001. An increase in inflation in 2002 to 3.5% is attributable mainly to administered price increases, particularly for electricity and petroleum products, as subsidies were removed. The government's annual deficit as a percent of GDP was at 3.7% in 2001, better than the program's 4% target, but in this case progress was not uninterrupted: the deficit rose to 4.7% of GDP in 2000 and was projected at 4.1% for 2002. There was, however, uninterrupted progress in terms of net public debt as a percent of GDP, which fell from 105.1% of GDP in 1999 to a projected 88.2% in 2002. Part of this improvement stemmed from some debt forgiveness by the United States and the European Union. As of the end of 2002, five Paris Club reschedulings of Jordan's sovereign debtfrom February 1992, June 1994, May 1997, May 1999, and July 2002, respectivelywere being paid down. On its foreign reserve position, according to the IMF, Jordan's net usable international reserves in the period 1999 to 2002 were on average sufficient to cover a little over seven months of imports, up from only a four-month coverage in 1998. In May 2002, Jordan's international reserves were close to $3 billion.

In November 2001, the government introduced its Plan for Social and Economic Transformation (PSET), a program of health and education spending and transfer payments to the poor amounting to 4% of GDP and to be financed in such a way from grants and revenues so as not to add to the country's debt. PSET particularly aims at dealing with Jordan's chronic unemployment problem, which due in part to Malthusian population growth dynamics, worsened slightlyfrom 12.7% in 1998 to 14.7% in 2001during the latest period of economic growth. Population growth is such that the 8.6% growth in nominal GDP between 1999 and 2001 produced only a 2.4% increase in per capita income. In July 2002 the IMF announced a two-year standby agreement with Jordan for sdr85.28 million (about $113 million) to support both the PSET and the continuing program of economic reforms. The Jordanian economy has managed to continue to improve in 2002, with the second Palestinian intifada unfolding next door.

The economy expanded by 6.2% in 2004, up from 3.6% in 2003; in 2005, the GDP growth rate was estimated at 6.5%. The inflation rate was fairly stable, and at 3.4% in 2004 it did not pose a major problem to the economy. The unemployment rate was tagged at 15%, although unoffi cial numbers show it to be as high as 30%. The war in Iraq, started in 2003, has significantly influenced the economy of Jordanthe former was an important trade partner and the main provider of oil.

INCOME

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports that in 2005 Jordan's gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at $27.7 billion. The CIA defines GDP as the value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year and computed on the basis of purchasing power parity (PPP) rather than value as measured on the basis of the rate of exchange based on current dollars. The per capita GDP was estimated at $4,800. The annual growth rate of GDP was estimated at 5.5%. The average inflation rate in 2005 was 3.9%. It was estimated that agriculture accounted for 3.5% of GDP, industry 29.9%, and services 66.7%.

According to the World Bank, in 2003 remittances from citizens working abroad totaled $2.201 billion or about $415 per capita and accounted for approximately 22.1% of GDP. Foreign aid receipts amounted to $1,234 million or about $233 per capita and accounted for approximately 12.6% of the gross national income (GNI).

The World Bank reports that in 2003 household consumption in Jordan totaled $7.65 billion or about $1,441 per capita based on a GDP of $9.9 billion, measured in current dollars rather than PPP. Household consumption includes expenditures of individuals, households, and nongovernmental organizations on goods and services, excluding purchases of dwellings. It was estimated that for the period 1990 to 2003 household consumption grew at an average annual rate of 5.1%. In 2001 it was estimated that approximately 32% of household consumption was spent on food, 17% on fuel, 5% on health care, and 8% on education. It was estimated that in 2001 about 30% of the population had incomes below the poverty line.

LABOR

The Jordanian labor force numbered an estimated 1.46 million people in 2005, with an additional 300,000 workers employed abroad. As of 2001 (the latest year for which data was available), the service industry accounted for an estimated 82.5% of the nation's workforce, with industry at 12.5%, and agriculture at 5%. The official unemployment rate was reported at 15% in 2004. However, it is estimated that the unofficial rate may be as high as 30%.

Workers have the right to form unions and must register to be legal. The General Federation of Jordanian Trade Unions, formed in 1954, was comprised of 17 trade unions in 2002. Approximately 30% of the labor force is unionized. Unions are allowed to collectively bargain but they are not allowed to strike or demonstrate without a permit. Labor disputes are mediated by the Ministry of Labor. The government does not adequately protect employees from antiunion discrimination.

The national minimum wage was $114 per month in 2002 for all sectors except agriculture and domestic labor. This amount does not provide the average family with a living wage. The minimum working age is 16 and this is effectively enforced by the Ministry of Labor except for children working in family businesses or on family farms. The standard workweek is 48 hours, with up to 54 hours per week for hotel, restaurant, and cinema employees.

AGRICULTURE

Agriculture still plays a role in the economy, although 40% of the usable land consists of the West Bank, lost to Jordan since 1967. As of 2003, only 4.5% of all land in Jordan was utilized for crop sown feed production. Rain-fed lands make up 75% of the arable land, while the remaining 25% is partially or entirely irrigated and lies mostly in the Jordan Valley and highlands. While the system of small owner-operated farms, peculiar to Jordan among the Arab countries and originating in the Land Settlement Law of 1933, limits the number of large landowners and shared tenancy, the minuscule holdings have inhibited development. Agriculture accounted for 2% of GDP in 2003.

Production of principal field crops in 2004 included wheat, 50,000 tons; barley, 30,000 tons; and tobacco, 2,000 tons. Prominent vegetables and fruits produced in 2004 included tomatoes, 415,000 tons; eggplant, 52,000 tons; cucumbers, 100,000 tons; and cabbages, 28,000 tons. Over 16 million fruit trees that year produced 147,000 tons of citrus, 160,700 tons of olives, 51,000 tons of bananas, and 28,000 tons of grapes. The output of fruits and vegetables has been encouraging, in part because of increased use of fertilizers, herbicides, and plastic greenhouses by the nation's farmers in the Jordan Valley.

Irrigation schemes and soil and water conservation programs have received emphasis in Jordan's economic development. The 77-km (48-mi) East Ghor Canal, substantially completed in 1966 and reconstructed in the early 1970s after heavy war damage, siphons water from the Yarmuk River and provides irrigation for about 13,000 hectares (32,000 acres). Water conservation in other areas has been undertaken with the rehabilitation of old water systems and the digging of wells. As of 2003, an estimated 75,000 hectares (185,000 acres) were irrigated.

The cooperative movement has made progress in the agricultural sector; the Central Cooperative Union, established in 1959, provides seasonal loans and advice to local cooperatives. The Agricultural Credit Corporation, founded in 1960, provides low-cost loans to finance agricultural investments.

ANIMAL HUSBANDRY

Raising livestock for both meat and dairy products is an important part of Jordanian agriculture. Animal husbandry is usually on a small scale and is often of the nomadic or seminomadic type indigenous to the area. The large nomadic tribes take their camels into the desert every winter, returning nearer to the cultivated area in summer. The camels provide transportation, food (milk and meat), shelter, and clothing (hair); the sale of surplus camels is a source of cash. Sheep and goat nomads make similar use of their animals. Imported milk and meat are sold at subsidized prices.

Animal products account for about one-third of agricultural output. Sheep and goats account for 90% of the livestock and are raised for both meat and milk. The Awasi is the major breed of sheep used, and the goat is the Baladi. In 2005, the number of sheep was estimated at 1,671,000, goats at 444,000, and cattle at 69,000 head. Jordan had an estimated 25 million chickens in 2005; poultry meat production was 121,000 tons that year. Meat production from cattle and sheep reached 8,700 tons in 2005. Production of fresh milk from cattle, sheep, and goats was 252,700 tons in 2005. Jordan produces about 30% of its needs in red meat and 50% of milk.

FISHING

Fishing is unimportant as a source of food. The rivers are relatively poor in fish; there are no fish in the Dead Sea, and the short Gulf of Aqaba shoreline has only recently been developed for fishing. The total fish catch was only 1,131 tons in 2003.

FORESTRY

Jordan formerly supported fairly widespread forests of oak and Aleppo pine in the uplands of southern Jordan, both west and east of the Jordan River, but forestland now covers less than 1% of the total area. Scrub forests and maquis growths are the most common; the olive, characteristic of the Mediterranean basin, is widely cultivated. The important forests are around Ajlun in the north and near Ma'an. By 1976, some 3,800 hectares (9,400 acres) had been newly planted as part of a government afforestation program. From 1976 to 1991, an additional 10,000 hectares (24,700 acres) also was reforested. Roundwood production was 257,000 tons in 2004. Imports of forestry products totaled $167 million in 2004.

MINING

Jordan in 2004 was the world's fifth-largest producer of phosphate, and ranked sixth in the world in the output of potash. Jordanian exports in 2004 totaled $3.26 billion, of which minerals and associated products accounted for 21%. Among Jordan's exports in 2004, potash accounted for $231 million, followed by: fertilizers (made from phosphate rock and potash), $175 million; phosphate rock at $166 million; phosphoric acid at $90.5 million; and cement at $30 million. Jordan also produced common clay, feldspar, natural gas and petroleum (for domestic consumption), gravel, gypsum, kaolin, lime, limestone, marble, crushed rock, salt, silica sand, steel, dimension stone, sulfuric acid, and zeolite tuff. In 2004, Jordan mined no metals, although it had deposits of copper, gold, iron, sulfur, titanium, and, in the Dead Sea, bromine and manganese.

Phosphate mine output (gross weight) in 2004 was 6.223 million metric tons. Phosphate reserves totaled 1 billion tons.

Production of potash crude saltsfrom Dead Sea potassiumwas a record 1.929 million metric tons in 2004, down from 1.961 million metric tons in 2003. The World Bank has estimated that of the dissolved solids contained in the Dead Sea, 33 billion tons were sodium chloride and magnesium chloride and about 2 billion tons were potassium chloride.

Copper deposits between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba remained undeveloped. Other potential for progress lay in the availability of bromine, dolomite, glass sands, iron, lead, oil shale, tin, travertine, and tripoli.

ENERGY AND POWER

Jordan, with miniscule deposits of petroleum, and natural gas, must rely upon imports to meet its petroleum and natural gas needs.

Jordan had proven oil reserves of only 445,000 barrels as of 1 January 2002. Production in 2004 averaged 40 barrels per day, while consumption in that same year averaged 103,000 barrels per day. As a result, oil imports in that year came to an estimated 100,000 barrels per day. Refinery output in 2002 averaged 80,780 barrels per day.

Jordan has proven natural gas reserves of 3.256 billion cu m as of 1 January 2002. Production and consumption in 2002 each came to 10.95 billion cu ft. All output was marketed.

Almost all of Jordan's electrical power generating capacity is based on the use of fossil fuels. In that year, generating capacity totaled 1.661 million kW, with conventional thermal capacity accounting for 1.650 million kW. Hydropower accounted for 0.010 million kW of capacity, and geothermal/other capacity accounted for 0.001 million kW. Electric power production in 2002 totaled 7.642 billion kWh, with conventional thermal sources producing 7.587 billion kWh. Hydropower sources produced 0.052 billion kWh and geothermal/other produced 0.003 billion kWh.

INDUSTRY

With government encouragement, industry plays an increasingly important part in Jordan's economy. In 1990, the manufacturing sector contributed 15% to GDP at factor cost. Manufacturing output fell by 2.9% in 1991 due to the adverse impact of the Gulf War. In 1992, the sector grew by 6.2%. In 2001, industry as a whole accounted for 26% of GDP, while manufacturing contributed 17%. The sector grew at an annual rate averaging 6.7% between 1988 and 1998. Most industrial income comes from four industries: cement, oil refining, phosphates, and potash. Cement production has been rising since the 1980s.

In 1998, the government sold 33% of the Jordan Cement Factories Company (JCFC) to La Farge of France as part of its program of privatization begun in 1996. The 60-year old Jordan Phosphates Mine Company (JPMC) has a monopoly on phosphate mining in Jordan. In 2002 the government negotiated the sale of a 40% stake in JPMC to the Potash Company of Saskatchewan. The Arab Potash Company, a pan-Arab company, was granted a 100-year monopoly for potash mining in Jordan when it was founded in 1956. As of 2003, the government holds 52% and is seeking to sell 26%.

Jordan's one oil refinery is in Az-Zarqa', which has a capacity of 90,4000 barrels per day. Oil is supplied to it from Iraq by a fleet of 1,500 trucks traveling across 600 miles of desert highway. Iraq sells oil to Jordan on terms of one-half free and one-half with a 40% discount of the price above $20/barrel. Since 1998 Jordan and Iraq have been agreed in principle to replace the oil trucks with a pipeline, estimated to cost $350 million. In 2002, Jordan was formally receiving bids for the first stage of the projects. The government holds 52% in a 100-year monopoly. The trade between Jordan and Iraq suffered once the US offensive against Iraq started in 2003.

In 2005, industry accounted for 29.9% of the GDP, and it employed 12.5% of the workforce; agriculture had only a 3.5% share in the economy, and it employed 5% of the workforce; services came in first, with a 66.7% share in the economy, and a 82.5% share in the labor force. The industrial production growth rate was 7.5%, higher than the GDP growth rate in the same year.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Expenditures for research and development (R&D) for the period 1996-2002 (the latest period for which data was available) totaled 6.33% of GDP. High technology exports in 2002, totaled $48 million, or 3% of manufactured exports. A dozen institutes offer scientific training. The Islamic Academy of Sciences, founded in 1986, is an international organization that promotes science, technology, and development in the Islamic and developing worlds. The Jordan Research Council, founded in 1964, coordinates scientific research in the country. The Royal Scientific Society, founded in 1970, is an independent industrial research and development center. All three institutions are in 'Ammān. In 1996 Jordan had 13 universities and colleges offering courses in basic and applied science. In 198797, science and engineering students accounted for 26% of college and university enrollments. In 1998, Jordan had 1,977 researchers actively engaged in R&D per million people.

DOMESTIC TRADE

Lack of proper storage facilities, inadequate transportation service, and a lack of quality controls and product grading have been chronic handicaps to Jordanian trade. However, these deficiencies have been alleviated, directly and indirectly, under progressive development plans. Traditional Arab forms of trade remain in evidence, particularly in villages, and farm products generally pass through a long chain of middlemen before reaching the consumer. In 'Ammān, however, Westernized modes of distribution have developed and there are supermarkets and department stores as well as small shops. Some local investors are beginning to take an interest in the potential for foreign franchises.

Business hours are from 8 am to 1 pm and from 3:30 to 6:30 pm, six days a week. Shops close either on Friday for Muslims or on Sunday for Christians. Banks stay open from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm and from 3:30 to 5:30 pm, Saturday through Th ursday.

FOREIGN TRADE

Jordan has traditionally run a trade deficit with imports at least doubling exports. During the 1990s, fertilizers accounted for about a quarter of Jordan's commodity exports and amounted to almost a quarter of the world's total exports of crude fertilizers (23%). However, in 2000, Jordan's fertilizer exports plummeted, accounting for a mere 7.6% of exports. No particular commodity now dominates Jordan's export market, but key exports include

Country Exports Imports Balance
World 3,081.6 5,653.2 -2,571.6
United States 663.0 361.0 302.0
Iraq 542.5 374.6 167.9
Free zones 279.4 279.4
Switzerland-Liechtenstein 201.4 75.0 126.4
India 199.0 85.0 114.0
Saudi Arabia 161.7 647.9 -486.2
United Arab Emirates 117.3 144.0 -26.7
Israel 108.0 133.9 -25.9
Syria 97.1 153.2 -56.1
Algeria 57.5 57.5
() data not available or not significant.

apparel (8.9%), medical and pharmaceutical products (8.6%), and paper products (4.7%). Other important exports are industrial machinery (4.8%) and vegetables (6.4%).

In 2004, exports reached $4.2 billion (FOBFree on Board), while imports grew to $8.7 billion (FOB). The bulk of exports went to the United States (28.9%), Iraq (17.6%), India (7.1%), and Saudi Arabia (5.6%). Imports included manufactured goods, machinery and transport equipment, crude oil and petroleum products, food and live animals, and mainly came from Saudi Arabia (19.8%), China (8.4%), Germany (6.8%), and the United States (6.8%).

BALANCE OF PAYMENTS

Jordan's chronically adverse trade balance has long been offset by payments from foreign governments and agencies, especially from Jordan's oil-rich Arab allies, and by remittances from Jordanians working abroad, chiefly in Saudi Arabia. During the Gulf War, expatriate remittances and aid from Arab countries dropped sharply, causing the improvement of the trade deficit to halt. Th is trend continued into the mid-1990s despite an increasing surplus in the services sector. Although Jordan enjoyed a balance of payments surplus in 2000 of around 11% of GDP, the country suffers from a chronic trade deficit, largely due to its reliance on foreign oil. Annual imports usually amount to more than double the exports.

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reported that in 2002 the purchasing power parity of Jordan's exports was $2.5 billion while imports totaled $4.4 billion, resulting in a trade deficit of $1.9 billion.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported that in 2001 Jordan had exports of goods totaling $2.3 billion and imports totaling $4.3 billion. The services credit totaled $1.48 billion and debit $1.73 billion.

Exports of goods and services reached $4.7 billion in 2004, up from $4.4 billion in 2003. Imports increased from $6.9 billion in 2003 to $7.2 billion in 2004. The resource balance was consequently

Current Account 962.9
     Balance on goods -1,996.3
         Imports -5,077.9
         Exports 3,081.6
     Balance on services -270.0
     Balance on income 122.5
     Current transfers 3,106.7
Capital Account 93.5
Financial Account -247.4
     Direct investment abroad
     Direct investment in Jordan 376.2
     Portfolio investment assets -118.9
     Portfolio investment liabilities -349.1
     Financial derivatives
     Other investment assets 283.1
     Other investment liabilities -438.6
Net Errors and Omissions 539.2
Reserves and Related Items -1,348.2
() data not available or not significant.

negative in both years, slightly improving from -$2.515 billion in 2003, to -$2.482 billion in 2004. The current account balance was positive, decreasing from $429 million in 2003 to $182 million in 2004. Foreign exchange reserves (including gold) decreased to $3.9 billion, covering more than six month of imports.

BANKING AND SECURITIES

The Central Bank of Jordan, founded in 1964 with a capital of jd2 million and reorganized in 1971, is in charge of note issue, foreign exchange control, and supervision of commercial banks, in cooperation with the Economic Security Council. In 1995, the Central Bank established the dinar as a fully convertible currency for noncapital remittances. In November of that year the bank announced a fixed dollar-dinar rate for current payments. Because of Jordan's IMF-led structural adjustments and trade and investment liberalizations, it became the first Arab country to receive credit ratings from both Standard and Poor and Moody's.

The banking system includes, besides the Central Bank, thirteen commercial banks (five of which are branches of foreign banks), five investment banks, two Islamic banks, one Industrial Development Bank, and several other institutions. Commercial banks have a tradition of being both small, with a low capital base, and highly conservative. The Arab Bank, by far the largest "high street" bank, and the Housing Bank are the largest banks in Jordan. Jordanian banks have acted rapidly to fill the banking void in the Occupied Territories, since the agreement between the PLO and Israel transferred administrative authority to the Palestinians. State banks include the Arab Bank, The Bank of Jordan, Cairo 'Ammān Bank, Jordan-Kuwait Bank, and the Jordan National Bank. Commercial banks included those of Jordan, other Arab countries, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Foreign commercial banks in Jordan include the British Bank of the Middle East, Citibank (US), the Arab Land Bank, and the Arab Banking Corporation (Jordan). The late 1970s and 1980s saw an expansion of niche institutions, such as four investment banks, six specialized credit institutions (three of which are under public ownership), four nonbanking financial institutions, and one Islamic bank. Unfortunately, many of these have been either too small to have had a strong impact on the provision of credit, or have replicated the approach of the commercial banks. Since 1992, moneychangers have been able to operate legally, having been closed down in February 1989, but their area of operation has been heavily circumscribed.

Loans are extended by the Jordan Industrial Bank, Agricultural Credit Corp., Jordan Co-operative Organization, and other credit institutions.

The 'Ammān Financial Market (AFM) has been in existence since the late 1970s. Like most of the equity markets in the Middle East, the AFM is small and lacking in the dynamism that has seen markets in Latin America and Asia take off over the past ten years. A total of 115 companies were listed in 1997, making the AFM second in the Arab world only to Egypt, which quoted some 700 stocks. The capitalization of the AFM stood at around $5 billion, putting it level with Bahrain, but ahead of Oman and Tunisia. In 1996, the government instituted a law allowing foreigners to invest in the AFM. In 1999, the 'Ammān Stock Exchange (ASE) was established as a privately managed institution. There were 149 listed public-shareholding companies at that time, with a market capitalization of approximately $6 billion. As of 2004, a total of 192 companies were listed on the ASE, which had a market capitalization of $18.383 billion that year. In 2004, the ASE General Index rose 62.4% from the previous year to 4,245.6.

INSURANCE

The Al Ahlia Insurance Co. and the Jordan Insurance Co. offer commercial insurance. Several US and British insurance companies have branches or agents in Jordan. A new insurance law in 1998 brought about stricter regulation of the industry. In 1999, there were 26 national insurance companies operating in Jordan and one foreign insurance company. In 2003, the value of all direct premiums written totaled $220 million, of which nonlife premiums accounted for $192 million. In that same year, Middle East was Jordan's top nonlife insurer with gross written nonlife premiums of $15.2 million. The country's top life insurer that same year was American Life Insurance (Alico), with gross written life premiums of $18.4 million.

PUBLIC FINANCE

Jordan has had to rely on foreign assistance for support of its budget, which has increased rapidly since the 1967 war. During the late 1980s, Jordan incurred large fiscal deficits, which led to a heavy burden of external debt. Efforts at cutting public expenditures reduced the budget deficit from 21% of GDP in 1989 to 18% in 1991. The Persian Gulf War, however, forced Jordan to delay the IMF deficit reduction program begun in 1989.

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimated that in 2005 Jordan's central government took in revenues of approximately $3.6 billion and had expenditures of $4.6 billion. Revenues minus expenditures totaled approximately -$1 billion. Public debt in 2005 amounted to 77.7% of GDP. Total external debt was $8.459 billion.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported that in 2003, the most recent year for which it had data, budgetary central government revenues were jd2,364.2 million and expenditures were

Revenue and Grants 2,364.2 100.0%
     Tax revenue 1,316.9 55.7%
     Social contributions 19 0.8%
     Grants 683.9 28.9%
     Other revenue 344.4 14.6%
Expenditures 2,387.6 100.0%
     General public services 730.6 30.6%
     Defense 517.6 21.7%
     Public order and safety 211.6 8.9%
     Economic affairs 77 3.2%
     Environmental protection 87.2 3.7%
     Housing and community amenities 58.9 2.5%
     Health 246.3 10.3%
     Recreational, culture, and religion 45.8 1.9%
     Education 355.4 14.9%
     Social protection 57.2 2.4%
() data not available or not significant.

jd2,387.6 million. The value of revenues were us$16,763 million and expenditures us$16,310 million, based on a official exchange rate for 2003 of us$1 = jd.14104 as reported by the IMF. Government outlays by function were as follows: general public services, 30.6%; defense, 21.7%; public order and safety, 8.9%; economic affairs, 3.2%; environmental protection, 3.7%; housing and community amenities, 2.5%; health, 10.3%; recreation, culture, and religion, 1.9%; education, 14.9%; and social protection, 2.4%.

TAXATION

A new income tax law went into effect in 2002 that reduced the top income tax rate to 25% from 30%. The new law also equalized the level of tax exempt income for men and women, at jd1,000 for both sexes. Income tax rates range from 525%, with the average tax payer paying a marginal rate of 5%.

As of 2005, Jordan's corporate tax structure was divided into three tax rates, each targeted to the type of business operated. Hospitals, hotels, industrial, mining, construction, and transportation companies are subject to a 15% rate. Banks and financial institutions are subject to a 35% rate, while foreign exchange dealers, insurance, telecommunications, trade, and other companies are subject to a 25% rate. Capital gains on shares and depreciable assets are subject to a tax rate of 35%. For financial companies and banks, 75% of capital gains stemming from the sale of shares are subject to the tax, while other companies are exempt. In January 2001 Jordan entered the second phase of its transformation to a value-added tax (VAT) regime, a reform begun in 1996. The VAT rate is 13%, and in 2001 about 25 new commodities were added to its coverage, including some food products, tobacco, coffee, soft drinks, new cars, heavy-duty vehicles, and paper products. Businesses with sales less than jd250,000 a year are exempt from registering for the VAT. There are no capital gains or net worth taxes on individuals and social security taxes are paid jointly by employers and employees.

CUSTOMS AND DUTIES

Customs and excise duties used to provide a large portion of all tax revenues, but following accession to the World Trade Organization, they are no longer so high. All imports and exports are subject to licenses. Import duties are levied by CIF (cost, insurance, and freight) value, with a 030% rate. There is also a 13% value-added tax (VAT) that is applied to both imported and domestically produced goods. Jordan grants preferential treatment to imports from Arab League countries, under bilateral trade agreements that exempt certain items from duty and under multilateral trade and transit agreements with Arab League countries. Jordan also signed a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with the United States in October 2000.

FOREIGN INVESTMENT

In the past there was little foreign investment in Jordan apart from the oil pipelines, but in the early 1970s, the government began offering liberal tax inducements, including a six-year corporate tax holiday for firms established in 'Ammān and a tax holiday of up to 10 years for those outside the capital. 100% foreign ownership of local enterprises is permitted in some cases. In 1980, the government formed the Jordanian Industrial Estates Corp. near 'Ammān to attract new industries to planned industrial complexes; investors were granted two-year income tax exemptions. Jordan also has established four free-trade zones, at Al-'Aqabah, Az-Zarqa', the Queen Alia International Airport, and along the Syrian frontier, near the Jordan-Syria rail link.

In 1995, Jordan hosted an international conference on investment in the kingdom as part of its recent opening to international investment. It also announced intentions to begin selling off government shares in major enterprises, including telecommunications and the Royal Jordanian Airlines. In 1997, the country had $1.2 billion in foreign exchange reserves.

In 1999, with the succession of King Abdullah II to the throne, significant steps have been taken towards encouraging further foreign investments in the country. Official FDI numbers are not available, but UNCTAD estimates show that total FDI inflows rose to $787 million in 2003. In 2004, the Jordan Investment Board approved investment projects for around $134 million, while the total FDI stock was estimated at around $11 billion.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Before the upheavals caused by the war of 1967, the government had begun to design its first comprehensive development plans. The Jordan Development Board, established in 1952, adopted a five-year program for 196165 and a seven-year program for 196470, which was interrupted by war. In 1971, a newly created National Planning Council, with wide responsibility for national planning, prepared the 197375 plan for the East Bank, with a planned total outlay of jd179 million. The main objectives were to reduce the trade deficit, increase the GNP, expand employment, and reduce dependence on foreign aid. At least 60% of the planned projects were completed, and a new five-year plan was instituted on 1 January 1976.

The 197680 plan entailed outlays of jd844 million (at 1975 constant prices) and achieved an annual GDP growth rate of 9.6%, below the goal of 11.9%. Notable development projects included port expansion at Al 'Aqabah and construction of Queen Alia International Airport. The 198185 development plan allocated funds totaling jd3,300 million and projected an economic growth rate of 10.4% annually (17% for industry and mining, 7% for agriculture). The plan envisaged completion of large potash and fertilizer installations, as well as the first stage of construction of the 150 m (492 ft) Maqarin Dam project on the Yarmuk River, which would store water for irrigation. This project also was to extend the East Ghor Canal 14 km (9 mi) from Karama to the Dead Sea. The Maqarin Dam project was shelved indefinitely, however.

The 198690 development plan allocated jd3,115.5 million, to be shared between the public sector (52%) and the private and mixed sector (48%). The goals of the plan were the following: realization of a 5.1% annual growth rate in the GDP; creation of 97,000 new employment opportunities; a decrease in imports and an increase in exports to achieve a more favorable balance of trade; expansion of investment opportunities to attract more Arab and foreign capital; development of technological expertise and qualified personnel; attainment of a balanced distribution of economic gains nationally through regional development; and expansion and upgrading of health, education, housing, and other social services.

Between 1953 and 1986, Jordan received development assistance from the IBRD and other international agencies, other Arab countries, the United Kingdom, Germany, and the United States. The United States provided nearly $1.7 billion in nonmilitary assistance and more than $1.4 billion in military aid. Aid from Arab oil-producing countries totaled $322 million in 1984. The April 1989 riots in Jordan led to a new surge of aid transfers. Arab grants to Jordan in 1989 fell between $360 million and $430 million. Political dissatisfaction in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia at Jordan's policy during the Gulf crisis resulted, however, in the Gulf states denying further direct grant assistance.

In 1988, Jordan began working with the IMF on restructuring its economy. These plans were thrown into considerable disarray by political events in the Gulf (most notably Jordan's ill-conceived support of Iraq in the face of global opposition to that country's 1990 invasion of Kuwait), but new agreements were concluded in 1991, as Jordan began to institute democratic reforms. Foremost in the IMF plan are reductions in government spending, taming of inflation, increasing foreign exchange, and decreasing government ownership of economic enterprises. In the economic plan of 199698, Jordan was expected to decrease its ownership of enterprises from 1994's level of 64% to 55% by 1998.

The economy expanded by 6.5% in 2005, and was expected to continue to grow in subsequent years at an average rate of about 5%. Private consumption, helped by remittances from abroad, will be the main growth engines. Other sectors that will push the economy upward are construction and real estate, power generation, and telecommunications.

SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

The social insurance system provides old-age, disability, and survivor benefits, as well as workers' compensation. Public employees and workers over the age of 16 working in private companies with five or more employees are covered. Workers contribute 5.5% of their wages, employers pay 9% of payroll, and the government covers any deficit. The retirement age is 60 for men and 55 for women if coverage requirements are met. A funeral grant of 150 dinars is also provided.

Women's rights are often dictated by Islam. Under Shariah law, men may obtain a divorce more easily than women, a female heir's inheritance is half that of a male, and in court, a woman's testimony has only half the value of a man's. Married women are required by law to obtain their husband's permission to apply for a passport. Women are discouraged from pursuing careers. The Criminal Code provides for lenient sentences for men accused of murdering female relatives they believed to be "immodest" in order to "cleanse the honor" of their families, and a number of these "honor killings" were reported in 2004. Violence against women and spousal abuse is common. The rights of children are generally well respected in Jordan, and the government makes an effort to enforce child labor laws.

Bedouins are entitled to full citizenship, but nonetheless experience professional and social discrimination. Freedom of speech and of the press are restricted by the government. Human rights violations by the government included police brutality, arbitrary arrest and detention, and there were also allegations of torture.

HEALTH

In 2004, Jordan had 205 physicians, 96 pharmacists, 55 dentists, and 275 nurses per 100,000 people. Medical services are concentrated in the main towns, but in recent decades the government has attempted to bring at least a minimum of modern medical care to rural areas. Village clinics are staffed by trained nurses, with regular visits by government physicians. As modern medicine has spread to the more remote areas, traditional methods have been dying out. The Ministry of Health, created in 1950, in cooperation with UNICEF, the World Health Organization, and the UNRWA, has greatly reduced the incidence of malaria and tuberculosis. In 1996, there were only 11 reported cases of tuberculosis per 100,000 people. Trachoma, hepatitis, typhoid fever, intestinal parasites, acute skin inflammations, and other endemic conditions remain common, however. In 2000, 96% of the population had access to safe drinking water and 99% had adequate sanitation. Health care expenditure was estimated at 8% of GDP.

In 2005, average life expectancy was 78.24 years. As of 2002, the crude birth rate and overall mortality rate were estimated at, respectively, 24.6 and 2.6 per 1,000 people. About 50% of married women (ages 15 to 49) used contraception as of 2000. The infant mortality rate was 17.35 per 1,000 live births in 2005. Under age five mortality has been reduced dramatically from 149 in 1960 to 30 in 2000 for every 1,000 live births. Immunization rates for children up to one year old were: tuberculosis, 93%; diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus, 87%; polio, 94%; and measles, 69%. As of 1999, rates for DPT and measles, respectively, were 97% and 94%. Only four cases of polio were reported in 1994; none were seen in 1996. As of 2000, an estimated 8% of all children under five were malnourished.

The HIV/AIDS prevalence was 0.10 per 100 adults in 2003. As of 2004, there were approximately 600 people living with HIV/AIDS in the country. There were an estimated 500 deaths from AIDS in 2003.

HOUSING

A general housing shortage in the mid-1960s was aggravated by the influx of West Bank refugees after the 1967 war, and Jordan still lacked adequate housing in the early 1980s. During 198186, some 42,300 new residential building permits were issued. According to 1994 national statistics, there were 831,799 housing units nationwide, including 467,715 apartments, 335,423 dar (traditional, detached structures of one or more rooms), 2,877 barracks, and 6,907 tents. About 80% of all dwelling units were owner occupied. Most residential units were made of cement bricks or concrete blocks. About 3% of all dwellings were described as mud brick and rubble constructions. The preliminary results of the 2004 census indicated a 44.7% increase in housing units from 1994; for a total of about 1,204,000 housing units nationwide. The average number of members per household was estimated at about 5.3.

EDUCATION

Education is compulsory between the ages of 6 and 16. Ten years are devoted to primary education, followed by two years at the secondary stage. Vocational studies are offered as an option for secondary students. The United National Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) operates schools in refugee camps. The academic year runs from September to June. The primary languages of instruction are Arabic and English.

In 2001, about 31% of children between the ages of four and five were enrolled in some type of preschool program. Primary school enrollment in 2003 was estimated at about 92% of age-eligible students. The same year, secondary school enrollment was about 80% of age-eligible students. It is estimated that about 98% of all students complete their primary education. The student-to-teacher ratio for primary school was at about 20:1 in 2003.

Jordan has five universities: the University of Jordan (founded in 1962), at 'Ammān; Yarmuk University at Irbid; Mut'ah University, in Karak governorate in southern Jordan; the University of Jordan for Science and Technology; and the Zaqa University established in 1993. In addition there are 53 community colleges; two of these are UNRWA schools on the East Bank for Palestinian students. In 2003, about 35% of the tertiary age population were enrolled in some type of higher education program. The adult literacy rate for 2004 was estimated at about 89.9%, with 95.1% for men and 84.7% for women.

As of 2003, public expenditure on education was estimated at 5% of GDP, or 20.6% of total government expenditures.

LIBRARIES AND MUSEUMS

The library at the University of Jordan has 670,000 volumes. In 1977, the department of Libraries, Documentation, and Archives was founded to establish the national library, which had 70,000 volumes in 2002. The University of Jordan for Women, founded in 1991, holds 17,000 volumes. The Library of the Jordan University of Science and Technology holds 100,000 books and 30,000 back issues of periodicals, subscribing to 518 titles. The Philadelphia University Library ('Ammān) holds about 78,642 volumes and 370 subscriptions to periodicals while Amman University Library has 77,500 books (in Arabic and in English) and over 340 titles of periodicals.

More than half of Jordan's museums are archaeological and historical. 'Ammān has four major museums: the Jordan Archaeological Museum, the Folklore Museum, the Popular Life Museum, and the Mosaic Gallery. The Department of Antiquities Museum is located in Salt. The Museum of Jordanian Heritage, one of the finest archeological museums in the country, is in Irbid, as is the Natural History Museum.

MEDIA

Public communications and broadcasting facilities are government controlled. Telephone and telegraph facilities were introduced soon after World War II. In 2003, there were an estimated 114 mainline telephones for every 1,000 people; about 1,100 people were on a waiting list for telephone service installation. The same year, there were approximately 242 mobile phones in use for every 1,000 people.

All radio and television broadcasts are controlled by the government. Radio Jordan transmits AM and FM broadcasts in English, and the television stations broadcast programs in English, Arabic, French, and Hebrew on two channels. A few private radio stations have been permitted to operate as entertainment programming. As of 1999, there were six AM and five FM radio stations. In 2003, there were an estimated 372 radios and 177 television sets for every 1,000 people. The same year, there were 44.7 personal computers for every 1,000 people and 81 of every 1,000 people had access to the Internet. There were 21 secure Internet servers in the country in 2004.

Jordan's four major daily newspapers (with 2002 estimated daily circulations) are Al-Dustour (Constitution, 100,000), Al-Rai (Opinion, 90,000), Sawt Ash-Shaab (Voice of the People, 30,000), and Jordan Times (15,000). All except the English-language Jordan Times are in Arabic; all are published in 'Ammān and are owned and operated by the private sector. Al-Rai is a government-controlled paper, founded after the 197071 civil war; Al-Dustour is 25% government owned. There are also weeklies and less frequent publications published in Arabic in 'Ammān. One weekly, The Star, is published in English. The press code, enacted in 1955, requires all newspapers to be licensed and prohibits the publishing of certain information, mainly relating to Jordan's national security, unless taken directly from material released by the government.

The constitution provides for freedom of speech and the press; however, in practice there are some significant restrictions on these rights. Private citizens can be prosecuted for slandering the Royal Family, and the Press and Publication Law of 1993 restricts the media coverage of 10 subjects, including the military, the royal family, and economic policy.

ORGANIZATIONS

Religious organizations still are of major importance, and membership in the hamula, the kinship group or lineage comprising several related families, also is of great significance as a framework for social organization. Literary and theatrical clubs have become popular, especially since World War II, but political organizations died out after the 1957 ban on political parties. Jordan serves as the home base for a number of multinational cultural and educational organizations, including the Islamic Academy of Sciences and the Arab Music Academy.

There are chambers of commerce in 'Ammān and other large towns. The Jordan Trade Association supports business owners with domestic and international holdings. Other labor and business organizations include the Jordan Exporters and Producers Association of Fruits and Vegetables and the Association of Banks in Jordan. There are several professional associations, particular those dedicated to research and education in medical and scientific fields.

National youth organizations include the Jordanian Association for Boy Scouts and Girl Guides, YMCA/YWCA, Junior Chamber, National Union of Jordanian Students, and the Orthodox Youth Education Society. There are a variety of sports associations and clubs, representing such pastimes as tennis, track and field, and badminton. The Alliance for Arab Women and the Jordanian National Committee for Women are based in 'Ammān.

The Noor Al-Hussein Foundation, founded in 1985, is a major national social welfare organization. The Red Crescent Society, Habitat for Humanity, and Caritas have national chapters.

TOURISM, TRAVEL, AND RECREATION

The East Bank is an area of immense historical interest, with some 800 archaeological sites, including 224 in the Jordan Valley. Jordan's notable tourist attractions include the Greco-Roman remains at Jerash (ancient Garasi), which was one of the major cities of the Decapolis (the capital, 'Ammān, was another, under the name of Philadelphia) and is one of the best-preserved cities of its time in the Middle East. Petra (Batra), the ancient capital of Nabataea in southern Jordan, carved out of the red rock by the Nabataeans, is probably the East Bank's most famous historical site. Natural attractions include the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea, whichat 392 m (1290 ft) below sea levelis the lowest spot on Earth. Biblical attractions include Bethany Beyond the Jordan, where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist; and Mount Nebo, where Moses saw the Promised Land.

The beaches on the Gulf of Aqaba offer holiday relaxation for Jordanians, as well as tourists. Sports facilities include swimming pools, tennis and squash courts, and bowling alleys. Eastern Jordan has modern hotel facilities in 'Ammān and Al-Aqabah, and there are government-built rest houses at some of the remote points of interest. A valid passport and visa are required. Visitors may obtain a visa, for a fee, at most international points of entry.

About 1.6 million tourists arrived in Jordan in 2003. Of these visitors, 64% came from the Middle East. There were 19,698 hotel rooms with 37,859 beds and an occupancy rate of 33%. The average length of stay in 2003 was two nights. Tourism expenditure receipts totaled $1 billion that year.

In 2004, the US Department of State estimated the daily cost of staying in 'Ammān and the Dead Sea/Jordan Valley at $204. Other areas were estimated at $135 per day.

FAMOUS JORDANIANS

The founder of Jordan's Hashemite dynastythe term stems from the Hashemite (or Hashimite) branch of the tribe of the Prophet Muhammadwas Hussein ibn-'Ali (Husayn bin 'Ali, 18561931), sharif of Mecca and king of the Hijaz.

As a separate Arab country, Jordan has had a relatively short history, during which only two men have become internationally known. The first of these was the founder of the kingdom, 'Abdallah ibn-Husayn (18821951). Although he was born in Hijaz and was a son of the sharif of Mecca, he made 'Ammān his headquarters. He was recognized as emir in 1921 and king in 1946. The second was his grandson, King Hussein I (Husayn ibn-Talal, 193599), who ruled from 1953 until his death. In June 1978, 16 months after the death by helicopter crash of Queen Alia (194877), Hussein married his fourth wife, the Queen Noor al-Hussein (Elizabeth Halaby, b.US, 1951). King Abdullah II (b.1962) has reigned since the death of his father in 1999.

DEPENDENCIES

Jordan has no territories or colonies.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Al Madfai, Madiha Rashid. Jordan, the United States, and the Middle East Peace Process, 19741991. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993.

Brand, Laurie A. Jordan's Inter-Arab Relations: The Political Economy of Alliance Making. New York: Columbia University Press, 1994.

Dew, Philip and Jonathan Wallace (eds.) Doing Business with Jordan. Sterling, Va.: Kogan Page, 2004.

Knowles, Warwick M. Jordan Since 1989: A Study in Political Economy. New York: I.B. Tauris, 2005.

Lust-Okar, Ellen. Structuring Conflict in the Arab World: Incumbents, Opponents, and Institutions. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

Milton-Edwards, Beverley, and Peter Hinchcliffe. Jordan: A Hashemite Legacy. London: Routledge, 2001.

Moore, Pete W. Doing Business in the Middle East: Politics and Economic Crisis in Jordan und Kuwait. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

Rollin, Sue. Jordan. 2nd ed. New York: W.W. Norton, 1998.

Ryan, Curtis R. Jordan in Transition: From Hussein to Abdullah. Boulder, Colo.: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2002.

Satloff, Robert B. From Abdullah to Hussein: Jordan in Transition. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.

Seddon, David (ed.). A Political and Economic Dictionary of the Middle East. Philadelphia: Routledge/Taylor and Francis, 2004.

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Jordan

Basic Data
Official Country Name: Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
Region: Middle East
Population: 4,998,564
Language(s): Arabic, English
Literacy Rate: 86.6%
Number of Primary Schools: 2,623
Compulsory Schooling: 9 years
Public Expenditure on Education: 6.8%
Educational Enrollment: Primary: 1,121,866
  Secondary: 155,008
  Higher: 112,959
Teachers: Primary: 45,367
  Secondary: 9,300
  Higher: 5,275
Student-Teacher Ratio: Primary: 25:1
  Secondary: 17:1



History & Background

Jordan is situated in the Middle East. It is bordered by Syria in the north, Iraq in the east, Saudi Arabia in the south, and Israel and the West Bank in the west. Its territory extends over 86 square kilometers. It became fully independent in 1946 and was founded as a hereditary constitutional monarchy. The estimated population of the country in 1999 was 4.7 million. The population is primarily homogenous; the Arabic language and the Islamic religion predominate throughout. The climate of the country varies from arid or semiarid regions in the east and south to regions in the north and west where there is adequate rainfall and a cooler climate.

Historically, Jordan is part of the Arab world and nations. As was the case with other nations in the region, Jordan was under Ottoman rule until 1918. In 1921, it was known as the Emirate of Transjordan. It remained an independent constitutional state under British rule until 1946, when it achieved complete independence and became the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Following the Arab-Israeli War of 1948, part of Palestine (the West Bank) became an integral part of the kingdom. Since the war of 1967, however, Israel has occupied the West Bank.

When the Ottomans ended their occupation, they left behind a traditional system of education, which was composed of three-year primary schools and four elementary schools offering six years of study. At that time, there were no intermediate or secondary schools. There were private Islamic schools (Kuttab ) and Christian missionary schools. After the emirate was created, an expansion program began, culminating in 1922 with 44 government schools employing 71 teachers and serving 3,316 students, of which 318 were female. By 1923, a secondary school was established in Salt; this was followed the same year by a program of curriculum unification and the establishment of the country's first Education Council, which was formed to choose teachers and supervisors. In 1926 this council was replaced by another council called the Consultative Council of Education.

In 1946-47, there were 77 government schools enrolling some 10,729 students who were taught by 214 teachers. At the time, the school budget amounted to 6.3 percent of the total budget of the government. The first Ministry of Education during the emirate period was established 24 September 1940. Under its leadership, an educational system was set up with an elementary school cycle (seven years), a secondary school cycle (four years), and a technical school cycle (two years). Government-supervised national examinations were required at the end of both the elementary and secondary school cycles.

In June 1952, the first School Ordinance was issued regulating the examination system, the role of school principals, and the methods to be used for recruiting and promoting school children.


Constitutional & Legal Foundations

When Transjordan became an independent entity in 1946 a new constitution was written. Article 21 stated that "communities should have the right to establish and maintain their schools for the teaching of their own members, provided they conform to the general requirements prescribed by law." When the constitution was revised in 1952, Article 20 proclaimed that primary education was to be compulsory and free in the public schools and open to all nationals. According to the Ministry of Education, the general objectives of education are: building up citizens' belief in God and their affiliation to their country and nation, endowing them with human virtues and perfection, and fully developing their personalities in their various aspectsphysical, mental, spiritual, emotional, and social.

These objectives are based on a philosophy of education that stems from the Jordanian Constitution, Arab-Islamic civilization, principles of the Great Arab Revolt, and the Jordanian national experience.

The aims of education and the procedures for attaining them, according to the Ministry of Education, are:

  • To abolish illiteracy and extend schooling by opening as many primary schools as will guarantee a free universal primary education.
  • To orient all schools towards practical ends, both by revising present curricula and by strengthening and multiplying vocational establishments.
  • To establish a limited number of secondary institutions in addition to the schools already in existence.
  • To improve the professional training of teachers in rural and urban schools; in particular, training institutions are required for rural teachers to insure that they remain in the villages and help in improving the community life.

The general law of education (No. 20), issued in 1955, required that all schools be placed under the Ministry of Education and that certain subjects become required in private schoolsArabic, history, geography, and civics. The language of instruction for these subjects was to be Arabic, and each course was to follow the respective syllabus issued by the MOE.

The most significant legislation on education was the Law of Education No. 16, enacted in 1964. This law dealt with the overall philosophy of education in Jordan, specifying the objectives of the compulsory cycle as well as those of secondary schools and educational institutions. Article 4 of the law presented the basic philosophy of education as follows:

  • To develop responsible citizens who believe in the basic principles of the constitution; the rights and the responsibilities of citizens; honesty and dedication to work; responsible behavior; and fruitful cooperation with others based on democratic relationships.
  • To develop an understanding of the natural, social, and cultural environment starting with the home and ending with the world as a whole. This objective should aim at understanding the environment, its problems, and its urgent needs, and developing, in the individual, a sense of responsibility to do his share in the betterment of the environment.
  • To develop pupils physically, socially, mentally, and emotionally, taking individual differences into consideration.
  • To raise the health standardsin both the individual and the groupthrough proper health information and the development of appropriate habits.
  • To raise the economic standards of the individual and the society and to increase the national income.
  • To develop such skills as effective communication, critical and creative thinking, logical reasoning, orderly thinking, the ability to use scientific methods of investigation, and the proper engagement of relationships with others.

Article 6 of the Law classified schools by establishment, financing, and control. Public, or government, schools were under the Ministry of Education or other ministries such as Health, Defense, or Social Welfare. Private schools might be either national or "foreign." National schools were those established and run by individual citizens or agencies. Foreign schools were those established and administered by non-Jordanians, either individuals or agencies. Schools of this type could be secular or religious.

One of the most important outcomes of the First National Conference for Education Development in 1987 was the issuance of the Provisional Education Act No. 27 in 1988. The most important aspects of this act were:

  • Classifying and identifying the philosophical bases and principles of education.
  • Developing the general objectives of education and educational cycles.
  • Expanding free compulsory education from 9 to 10 years.

The most significant law in recent years related to kindergarten, basic, and secondary education was Act No. 3 in 1994. This act regulates education and states educational philosophy, objectives, and policy, as well as the functions of the Ministry of Education. According to this act, the missions and responsibilities of the Ministry of Education include:

  • Establishing and administering public schools at all levels and supervising private schools.
  • Providing health and counseling services.
  • Encouraging educational research.
  • Enhancing educational relations inside the kingdom and with other Arab and Islamic countries.
  • Establishing adult education centers.
  • Furthering cultural and scientific development through libraries and museums, radio and television, lectures, clubs, societies, and appropriate magazines.

Regarding higher education, the most significant laws were:

  • The Higher Education Act No. 28, 1985, which stated the objectives of higher education and how they are achieved, instituted the Higher Education Council, and listed other factors that regulate the affairs of higher education institutions.
  • The Jordan Universities Law, No. 29, 1987, which listed the objectives of the university and established university councils, deans, and colleges.
  • The Private Universities Law, No. 19, 1989, which specified the responsibilities of the Higher Education Council toward the work of private universities.

Other means used in developing and implementing educational change have been the various educational development plans. The general goals of these plans are to improve the educational outcomes, cope with scientific and educational changes, respond to needs of the labor market, and interact with the international cultural developments.

The first stage in the current educational plan was from 1988 to 1995. The goals in this stage were:

  • Extend compulsory education to 10 years instead of 9 and reorganize secondary education into a comprehensive two-year program.
  • Lower the illiteracy rate to 8 percent by the year 2000.
  • Develop and expand vocational education and training.
  • Develop curriculum and textbooks.

The second stage was from 1996 to 2000. The goals in this stage were:

  • Improve the quality of educational leaders.
  • Supply schools with educational resources.
  • Develop vocational education and training to support the needs of the labor markets.
  • Improve facilities for teaching and learning through expanding and constructing new schools, reducing rented school buildings, and furnishing schools to accommodate more students.
  • Develop examinations to balance the content and goals of the new curricula.

Educational SystemOverview

The present structure of the Jordanian educational system comprises formal and nonformal systems. The nonformal system includes preschool education, which is run by the private sector and enrolls children as young as age three. Literacy campaigns, home schooling, and vocational training administrated by the ministries of Labor, Industry, and Defense are also part of the nonformal education system.

The formal education system is composed of the following stages:

  • A compulsory stage for children ages 6 to 15 (grades 1-10), consisting of primary school (grades 1-6) and preparatory school (grades 7-10).
  • A comprehensive secondary education (academic and vocational) and applied secondary education (training centers and apprenticeship).
  • Higher education, either a two-year intermediate level course offered by community colleges or four years of university level courses, either in public or private institutions. The student's achievement on the General Secondary Education Certificate Examination is the sole criterion for admission into higher education institutes.

Children move up the educational ladder under a system of modified automatic promotion. Under this system, students in grades 4 through 10 may repeat a grade twice. After that they are automatically promoted. In the preparatory stage, grade repetition is allowed only once. At the secondary level, students are allowed to repeat once in a government school provided they are younger than 17; otherwise they must transfer to a private school.

Before 1975, all students were required to pass a public preparatory education examination to be admitted into secondary school. With the elimination of this exam, students are admitted into the secondary stage simply by passing their ninth grade end of the year examinations and on the basis of their class standing. The exam was reintroduced in 1985, but then cancelled in 1989.

Community colleges and universities vary in required attendance from two years in community colleges to six or more in universities based on the type of institution and specialization. For instance, the faculty or school of medicine requires six years. To be admitted into postsecondary institutions, students must pass the General Secondary School Certificate Examination or GSSCE (al Tawjehy ). Students in the vocational education program sit for the Vocational General Secondary Certificate Examination.

The majority of students are enrolled in schools directly controlled by the MOE. Some schools fall under the jurisdiction of the cultural bureau of the Ministry of Defense. The Ministry of Health oversees students studying for medical careers; it established the first nursing school in 1953-54.

Instruction is in Arabic, but English is introduced in public schools in the fifth grade and is widely used. A new policy was recently approved to start teaching English in the first grade beginning in the academic year 2001-02. The school year runs for 210 days from September to June. There are two semesters in the school year. Students attend schools five days a week, Sunday through Thursday. To pass from one grade to the next, students need to maintain adequate grade averages. The final grade of each student in each course is converted into a percentage. The minimum passing level in any subject is 50 percent. The universities or other postsecondary institutions also employ this grading system for individual courses. However, a student needs to have a 60 percent average in all courses combined to graduate.

All public schools and most private ones use the same textbooks. Under Law 16 of 1964, the School Curricula and Textbooks Division of the MOE is responsible for producing and printing the textbooks. They are distributed free of charge during the compulsory stage, but there is a nominal fee at the secondary stage.

Jordanian public schools are single sex schools. Some private schools allow for mixed classrooms. Jordanian classrooms, much like those in other capital-poor countries, are bare. Rows of chairs for students are positioned against a table from which the teacher talks while the students listen. This lack of facilities compounds education problems. As of 1979-80, for example, with the dramatic increase in enrollments, the MOE was forced to introduce a two shift school program in about 41 percent of the compulsory and secondary schools and to rent some buildings. In 1997, however, only 16 percent of students were attending two shift schools and 11 percent went to rented buildings.

Educational television was introduced on a limited scale in Jordan beginning in 1968. It provided programs for secondary schools, primarily in such fields as mathematics, the sciences, and English. In 1997, the MOE produced 30 programs for grades 1-5 and 36 programs for grades 5-7.

As a whole, education in Jordan is considered an investment in the future. Skilled citizens are necessary. Before the Gulf War, most graduates could find good jobs in the oil-rich countries, and the money they sent home helped the Jordanian economy to grow. It is not uncommon for a family living at subsistence level to be able to send a child to a university (Abu-Zeinh).

Preprimary & Primary Education


Preprimary Education: Preprimary education, organized for children beginning at age three years and eight months, aims to provide an adequate educational environment to help children acquire sound health habits, develop positive social relationships, foster positive attitudes towards school, and be prepared for a smooth transition from home to school.

Children's attendance at preschool classes is not compulsory. Enrollment in this cycle is 26 percent. Methods and activities in this cycle aim to promote the development of the child's personality. The Ministry of Education supervises all preschool institutions.

In the academic year 1997-98, the average pupil to teacher ratio at the preschool level was 20.7 to 1, and the average number of children per class was 23.6.

Virtually all preschool education is private, but under the supervision and control of the MOE. The aim of this type of education as stated in Article 8 of the Education Law of 1955 is "to guide children toward the correct habits and actions, to develop their abilities, to accustom them to discipline and to prepare them for entering the elementary school." Enrollment in preprimary schools has increased substantially. For example, during 1990, there were 44,856 children enrolled at 546 preschools; by 1998 the enrollment reached 69,425 at 932 schools. The number of teachers grew from 1,933 to 3,346. More than 99 percent of the teachers are female.


Primary Education: Basic education comprises 10 years of compulsory schooling, starting at the age of five years and eight months. Pupils are offered a basic and well-balanced education in the social, emotional, intellectual, physical, and spiritual aspects of their growth to create the basis for successful learning at higher forms of education and for continuous learning in life.

The aims of the compulsory education cycle as stated in Law 16 of 1964 include the development of the individual with respect to healthy attitudes, habits, and religious values and the cultivation of fundamental skills: "use of proper language, the arithmetic skills that are necessary for the daily life, observation and attentive listening, objectives and constructive criticism, and scientific ways of thinking." In addition, students should know about the environment and the Arab world, learn a foreign language, develop an appreciation of the fine arts, and learn to use leisure time effectively.

Basic education aims at preparing the learners to be able to (Ministry of Education 1998):

  • Be consciously acquainted with the history, principles, rules, and values of Islam and exemplify them in their character and behavior.
  • Master the basic skills of Arabic language to be able to use it easily.
  • Know the basic facts and events of history, especially that of Islamic and Arab nations and Jordan in particular.
  • Follow social behavior rules and take into account commendable social traditions, habits, and values.
  • Love, be proud of, and shoulder the responsibilities towards their homeland.
  • Be aware of the basic facts related to the natural environment, as well as Jordanian, Arabic, and international geography.
  • Love their family and society and shoulder the responsibilities towards them.
  • Master the basic skills of at least one foreign language.
  • Deal with numerical systems, basic mathematical processes, and geometrical figures and use them in everyday life.
  • Absorb basic scientific facts and generalizations and their experimental bases and use them to explain natural phenomena.
  • Think scientifically, using the process of observation, data collection, organization, analysis, deduction, and decision making.
  • Comprehend scientific bases of the forms of technology and use them properly.
  • Be keen on the safety, cleanliness, beauty, and wealth of their environment.
  • Be aware of the importance of their physical fitness and health and to practice suitable sport and health activities.
  • Have aesthetic taste in the various arts and express their own artistic interests.
  • Be able to perform handicraft skills matching their abilities and interests, make an effort to develop them, and have respect for manual work owing to its basic function in social life.
  • Exemplify diligence, persistence, and self-dependence in achievement.
  • Express their talents, special abilities, and creative aspects.
  • Accept and respect others, consider their feelings, and appreciate their merits and achievements.
  • Appreciate the value of time and make good use of their free time.
  • Strive for self-instruction and the development of their competencies.

The curriculum adopted in Jordanian basic education attempts to implement the above goals by focusing on Arabic, English, mathematics, and, to a lesser degree, general science. Islamic religion is also offered, along with music and anthems, arts education, physical education, vocational education, computer training, social and national education, and geography.

Enrollment rates in this cycle increased from 926,445 students in 1990-91 to 1,121,860 students in 1997-98. During the same time, the number of schools increased from 2,457 to 2,623. The gross enrollment ratio in this cycle is 95 percent, the average number of pupils per class is 30.4, and the average length of the teaching period is 45 minutes. In the academic year 1997-98, the average student to teacher ratio at the basic education level was 26 to 1.

Evaluating students is the responsibility of the teachers. Each semester there are three exams; each one counts for 15 percent of the student's grade. Participation counts for another 15 percent and the final exam, 40 percent. The school gives students certificates at the end of each academic year through the eleventh class (first year of secondary education), whereby the results of the first and second terms with the final average are all indicated. In addition, classifying students into the various types of secondary education is carried out according to their grades in grades 8 through 10.


Secondary Education

Secondary education consists of two years of study for students ages 16 to 18 who have completed the basic education cycle. As the students were provided with a broad-based, general education during the 10 years of basic education, secondary education is designed to prepare them for higher education or the labor market.

Students are admitted to secondary education according to their abilities and interests. They are provided with specialized cultural, scientific, and vocational experiences, which meet the existing and anticipated needs of society. Accordingly, secondary education is divided by category: comprehensive secondary education, which provides a general common cultural base to all students, in addition to specialized academic or vocational education, and applied secondary education, which provides vocational training and apprenticeship. According to the Ministry of Education (1998), secondary education in this context is intended to enhance the major cardinals of basic education and to prepare students to be able to:

  • Use the Arabic language to increase their ability to communicate, develop their scientific and literary culture, consider the fundamentals of correct language structure, and relish its arts.
  • Adapt to environmental changes in their country and their effects on the natural world, society, and culture; to exploit and maintain resources well; and to improve their potentials.
  • Derive their culture from their nation's heritage and to be aware of the necessity of conscious openness to world civilization and to contribute to it.
  • Interact with the cultural environment of their society and to try to develop it.
  • Be aware of the importance of family and its role in social life.
  • Consolidate their self-confidence with respect for the dignity and freedom of others.
  • Exemplify the principles, rules, and values of Islamic ideology in their behavior and understand the values and convictions in other heavenly religions.
  • Seek the progress, prestige, and pride of their country and be keen to participate in solving its problems and achieving security and stability.
  • Know the issues of their nation, be proud of belonging to it, and seek its unity and progress.
  • Work in a team, know the bases and forms of democracy and practice them in dealing with others, and believe in social justice principles.
  • Be aware of international issues and of the importance of international understanding and peace built on justice and right.
  • Perform their duties and adhere to their rights.
  • Master at least one foreign language.
  • Understand mathematical and logical concepts and relationships and use them in solving problems.
  • Look for data resources carefully and be able to collect, store, process, and benefit from them.
  • Understand new scientific facts and their applications, be able to verify them experimentally, and know their role in human progress.
  • Protect the environment, keep it clean, and develop its potentials and wealth.
  • Understand health information and rules pertaining to balanced physical and psychological growth and to practice them.
  • Relish artistic work and express their interests in this field through producing positive artistic works within their abilities.
  • Seek professional qualification, economic independence, and self-sufficiency.
  • Use their free time for practicing useful hobbies and recreational activities.
  • Reflect Arab, Islamic, and humanistic values in their behavior.
  • Use common sense in dialogue, tolerance in dealing, and courtesy in listening.
  • Develop themselves through self-learning and lifelong education.

In the academic year 1996-97, the average student to teacher ratio was 17 to 1 in the academic secondary education and 13.8 to 1 in vocational secondary education. Successful students at the end of the secondary cycle obtain the General Secondary Certificate, which includes the results of the General Secondary Examinations for the first and second terms, as well as their overall average.

Between 1995 and 1998, two-thirds of male students enrolled in academic secondary education and four-fifths of female students enrolled, perhaps because females had fewer options in vocational training than males.

Starting with the academic year 1996-97, one exam for the General Secondary Education Certificate at the end of the second term of the academic year was introduced. In addition, a project related to the development of the General Secondary Education Examinations, implemented in cooperation with the Scottish General Examinations Board, aims to measure several such skills as acquiring knowledge, solving problems, and finding facts in all subjects. Concerning foreign languages, the MOE plans to include skills related to reading, listening, and conversing, as well as writing. Supervisors and teachers will be trained for the new examinations, and the Ministry will issue specifications.

The comprehensive secondary school aims to prepare youth to enter institutions of higher education. The general secondary school provides two optionsthe literary and the scientific. Specialization or "streaming" takes place beginning in the eleventh grade and depends on prior academic achievement. High achievers in science and math usually follow the scientific stream. Twelve subjects are offered in the scientific stream and 14 in the literary. The subjects are classified general requirements, basic or essential subjects for the fieldboth compulsory and optionaland electives.

Vocational education is offered in six types of schools: commercial, industrial, agricultural, nursing, hotel services, and home economics. Each of these fields offers different subjects in the eleventh and twelfth grades. For example, the agricultural field course offers chemistry, biology, general agricultural sciences, and irrigation. During the school year 1997-98, there were 30,372 students in 322 such institutions. These students represented 43.2 percent of male students and 22.4 percent of female students enrolled in the secondary education.

Industrial secondary schools teach skills necessary for employment. The course work focuses on mathematics, physics, vocational safety, and specialized industrial sciences, in addition to courses in general education and knowledge.


Higher Education

The Jordanian higher education system offers options not always available in developing countries. These include a differentiated system of higher education institutions (universities and community colleges) and patterns of ownership (public and private) (World Bank 1996).

Higher education in Jordan started in 1951 with a one year postsecondary teacher training class. The first university program began in 1962 with the establishment of the University of Jordan.

Article 3 of the University Law of 1964 summarizes the formal functions of the universities as follows: to afford university study opportunities; to encourage scientific progress and serve the society; to provide the country with specialties in different fields; to pay special attention to the Arab-Islamic civilization and spread its heritage; to participate positively in international thought; and to strengthen cultural and scientific ties with other Arab and foreign universities and scientific organizations.

Higher education in Jordan is comprised of two levels. Two-year intermediate level programs at public or private community colleges offer about a hundred specializations distributed through 11 programs: academic, administrative, agricultural, applied arts, computer, educational, hotel management, meteorological, paramedical, social work, and engineering. Public and private universities offer a variety of four-year degree programs.

Pre-university reform in Jordan has yielded nearly universal access at the basic level and an enrollment rate close to 70 percent at the secondary level. Combined with the rapid population growth, this has created a strong demand for higher education. Twenty-three percent of 20 to 24 year olds (110,000) were enrolled in higher education in 1999; two-thirds of these attended public institutions. Enrollment in private universities has expanded from 1,300 in 1992 to more than 35,000 students in 2001.


Governance: The Ministry of Higher Education was established in 1985 with a mandate that included controlling the process of random pursuit of specializations by students and, rather, coordinating specializations with the development needs of the country. The 1998 Higher Education Law abolished the Ministry of Higher Education entirely.

Public universities are governed by the Law of Higher Education. Accordingly, each university should have a university council, deans council, faculty council, and departmental council. The current administrative organization in public universities is as follows:

  • Higher Education Council (HEC): Legislation governing higher education in Jordan was passed 6 April 1980. This marked the formation of a council that plans and coordinates higher education in Jordan and lays down its general policies. The HEC serves uniformly as a Board of Trustees for the Jordanian universities. This Council is chaired by the Minister of Higher Education and is charged with laying the foundations and defining the objectives of higher education and estimating needed manpower in the various fields of knowledge, including sending students for study outside Jordan.
  • University Council: University regulations state that each university should have a university council, chaired by the president. Its members are: all vice presidents; all deans; a member from each faculty elected by the faculty to serve for one year subject to renewal; the directors of two administrative units at the university, appointed by the president for one year; three members of different backgrounds from the local community, recommended by the president and appointed by the Higher Education Council for one year; one student, selected by the president, for one year; and one member from the university alumni, selected by the president, for one year. The university council is responsible for developing general policy for the university; evaluating university activities and examining the president's annual reports; strengthening the relationship between the university and the public and private sectors; looking into university regulations and plans; and preparing the budget for approval by the Higher Education Council.
  • Deans Council: The deans council is chaired by the university president. Its members include all vice presidents and deans and is responsible for appointing and promoting faculty members; approving faculty sabbaticals and other leaves of absence; and approving the curricula of the various faculties.
  • Faculty Council: The faculty council is chaired by the dean of the faculty. Its members are all vice deans; heads of all departments of the faculty; a representative from each department, elected by its faculty members for one year; and two experienced members of relevant experience to the functions of faculty, appointed by the president upon the recommendation of the dean, for one year and subject to renewal.
  • Departmental Council: Every academic staff member is a member of one of the departmental councils, which form the basic unit in the academic structure of the university. In the department, decisions are made with the participation of all members.

All university presidents must be of Jordanian nationality; they are nominated by the CEH and appointed by royal decree to a four year term, which is renewable once. Vice presidents and deans are nominated by presidents and appointed by the CEH. Vice presidents have three year terms, which are renewable once, and deans have two year terms, which are renewable once. Vice deans and department heads are nominated by deans and appointed by presidents to renewable one year terms.

There are two types of universitiespublic and private. The 10 public universities are, according to government policy, distributed throughout the country: Yarmouk University, Jordan University of Science and Technology, and Al-Elbeit University in the north; the University of Jordan, Hashemite University, Amman University College, Al-Dawa and Religion Principals College, and Al-Balqa University in the central region; and Mutah University and Al-Hussein University in the south. Al-Hussein is the newest university, established in 1999. Enrollments during the 1996-97 academic year ranged from 21,639 students at the University of Jordan to 654 at Al-Dawa College.

The 12 private universities are all in the northern and central regions where the population is dense. They are Amman Private University, Philadelphia University, Al-Isra University, Applied Sciences University, Jordanian Girls University (changed recently to Petra university), Al-Zeitunah University, Jerash Private University, Al Zarqa Private University, Irbid Private University, Educational Sciences College, Princess Sumayya University College, and Jordanian Academy for Music. Enrollments during the 1996-97 academic year ranged from 4,021 at Amman Private University to 49 at the Jordanian Academy for Music.

One of the recent changes in higher education is that Al-Balqa Applied University now supervises about 45 community colleges. There are four types of community colleges:

  • Twenty governmental community colleges that are under the umbrella of Al-Balqa University in all aspectsacademic, administrative, and financial.
  • Eighteen private community colleges that are owned and run by the private sector under the technical supervision of Al-Balqa University.
  • Five Jordanian Armed Forces Colleges that are run by the Jordanian Armed Forces and technically supervised by Al-Balqa University.
  • Community colleges that are under the umbrella of the United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestinians Refugees (UNRWA) in all aspectsacademic, administrative, and financial.

During the 1996-97 academic year, nearly 24,000 students were enrolled in community colleges of all types. In addition, during the 1995-96 academic year, 29,581 Jordanian students studied in higher education institutions abroad.


Admission for Undergraduate Studies: Students are admitted to all departments and faculties in public universities on the basis of their grades in the Tawjihi (The General Secondary School Certificate Examination or CSSC) or its equivalent. Admission is highly competitive, but students from the less privileged areas in the kingdom are accepted on the basis of a quota system, which allows the most competitive of them to be admitted relatively easily. A number of seats are allocated to the sons and daughters of those working in the armed forces, the Ministry of Education, and the national universities.

Application for enrollment in the university for the first semester is advertised during the first third of August every year. Names of students eligible for admission are published in local newspapers. Applications are sent by mail to the United Coordination Office for Admission to State Universities at the University of Jordan.

Applications for admission to university are accepted from students who have obtained the General Secondary Education Certificate (or its equivalent), provided that their average scored is not less than 85 for medicine and dentistry faculties, 80 for engineering and pharmacy faculties, or 65 for all the other faculties.

Applications for enrollment in the Department of Fine Arts specializations are advertised in local newspapers during the first half of August. These applications are to be made directly to the University Department of Admission and Registration. Names of students eligible for admission are published in local newspapers after they have passed the capacities test prescribed for that purpose.

Applications for enrollment made by Jordanian students who have obtained General Secondary Education Certificates outside of Jordan are to be directly made to the University Department of Admission and Registration within the period prescribed for submitting applications for enrollment to the United Coordination Office for Admission to Jordanian State Universities. Students shall be admitted in the light of the allocated seats and in accordance with the sequence of grades in the Jordanian General Certificate of Secondary Education or GCSC (or its equivalent).

Non-Jordanian students will be accepted through the Council of Higher Education.

The following documents are required from students to be considered for acceptance:

  1. Original copy in Arabic of the Jordanian GSEC grade sheet certified by the Ministry of Education or, for students who have obtained a non-Jordanian GSEC, a photocopy certified by the Ministry.
  2. Original birth certificate with the National Number inscribed thereon or a certified photocopy thereof.
  3. A photocopy of the valid Family Card (for Jordanian students only).
  4. Nationality confirmation certificate for non-Jordanian students.
  5. Military Service book for male Jordanian Students.
  6. Four personal photographs (4 centimeters x 6 centimeters).
  7. Equivalence of the GSEC from the Jordanian Ministry of Education for students who have obtained a non-Jordanian GSEC.

The public universities follow the credit-hour system. Credit hours required for a bachelor's degree are as follows: Faculty of Arts, 126; Faculty of Business Administration, 126; Faculty of Science, 126; Faculty of Shari'a (Islamic Studies), 126; Faculty of Agriculture, 138; Faculty of Educational Sciences, 126; Faculty of Law, 126; Faculty of Physical Education, 126; and Faculty of Social and Human Sciences, 126.

The academic year consists of two main semesters. First semester classes start in the first week of October and end in January. Second semester classes start during the first half of February and end during the first half of June. In the optional summer session, classes start during the first half of July and end during the last third of August. Regular attendance is compulsory for all students at public universities.


Admission into Graduate Studies: Enrollment opportunities in the Graduate Studies Program are advertised in local newspapers during the last third of June. Applications are directly submitted to the University Deanship of Academic Research and Graduate Studies. Names of students eligible for admission are published in the local newspapers. Applications for the Diploma in Education are also directly submitted to the Department of Admission and Registration as advertised in local newspapers during the last third of June. Names of candidates eligible for enrollment are published in local newspapers. Non-Jordanian students are accepted through the Jordanian Council of Higher Education.

The following documents are required as part of an application for graduate studies:

  1. Grade sheet of the bachelor's degree or, for doctoral candidates, the master's degree, duly certified.
  2. The original university transcript or a duly certified photocopy thereof.
  3. Original birth certificate or a duly certified photocopy thereof with the National Number inscribed thereon.
  4. Duly certified photocopy of the Family Book (the first page and the student's legal guardian's page) with the National Number inscribed thereon.
  5. Military Service Book or Exemption Certificate for Jordanian students required to serve in the military.
  6. One personal photograph (4 centimeters x 6 centimeters)
  7. For students with academic degrees from non-Jordanian universities: grade sheets of the bachelor's degree or, for doctoral students, the master's degree, certified by the Jordanian Council of Higher Education.
  8. For students with academic degrees awarded by non-Jordanian universities, equivalence of university degrees, awarded by the Jordanian Council of Higher Education.

There are four sets of requirements a student must satisfy to complete a graduate degree: university, faculty, departmental, and free electives. In the Faculty of Arts, a total of 132 credit hours are needed. Credits are based on semester hours. Faculty requirements consist of 21 credit hours, some compulsory and some electives. Departmental requirements consist of compulsory courses and electives within the department. In a single specialization, students are required to take 60 credit hours of compulsory courses and 27 in departmental electives. For a major specialization, students are required to take 39 credits in compulsory subjects and 21 in electives within the department. To have a minor specialization, a student is normally expected to complete 27 credit hours in the field. An additional six hours may be taken in any department of the university. To be in good standing, graduate students must maintain a minimum cumulative average of 70 percent. If not, they are placed on academic probation. Students normally have to take final examinations for each course in which they are enrolled. Final grades are entered into the records as a percentage. The minimum passing grade for an individual course is 50 percent.

Administration, Finance, & Educational Research


Administration: Jordan, like most Arab countries, has a centralized system of education. Thus, the MOE constitutes the final authority on all important matters, such as what is to be taught by whom and under what conditions. Accordingly, decisions on the distribution of resources, syllabi, textbooks, teacher appointments, and national examinations are made by the MOE or its affiliated agencies.

Administratively, there are four units that plan and implement the educational process. These units are:

  • The Center: It is responsible for designing the educational policy and plans, as well as implementing and following up. The units in the Center include the secretary general, the general directors, specialized directors, and the office of the minister.
  • The General Directorates of Education in the governorates: These directorates are headed by general-directors who supervise and implement the educational policy and plans at the governorate level. There are 12 general directorates.
  • District Directorates of Education: There are 26 district directorates of education in the governorates, each with a director and assistants for technical and administrative affairs. Each district has a local education committee or, where such committees are not available, a municipal council, which assists the district office in carrying out such activities as building and expanding schools, appointing staff, allocating funds, and training. The district or regional directorates mainly carry out the policies of the MOE and the Central Education Committee attached to it.
  • The school is considered the central unit of the educational process. It is administered by the principal and assisted by adequate staff to provide the necessary services.

Institutions other than the MOE participate in delivering educational services. These include the Ministry of Social Development and the Directorate of Education and Culture of the Armed Forces, which administer 19 schools. UNRWA is responsible for administering 198 schools for Palestinian refugees in which 143,893 students were enrolled in the academic year 1997-98.


Financing Education: Public education is financed mainly through the general budget of the government. For the 1997 fiscal year, education contributed 4.2 percent of the gross national product, and educational spending represented 12.5 percent of the total general budget of the government. This was up from 8.5 percent in 1990. Education in Jordan, however, is not financed by the government alone. UNRWA finances and administers basic education for Palestinian refugees.

Public universities are financed by government support from the general budget, customs and taxes imposed by the government, student fees, grants, and university benefit projects. Student fees in private universities are three to four times the fees of public universities.

Public universities evaluate their own performance through their boards of trustees, while private universities are evaluated for accreditation by specialized committees that pay repeated visits to the universities and report to the Ministry.

Private universities are owned by companies that are established under the Corporate Law and are either public shareholding companies or private shareholders. All these institutions are for profit entities.

While some financial support is available from the government for students attending university, the majority are supported by their families. Those students on government scholarships pursue a secondary school teaching career. Arabic, English, mathematics, and science are the prime areas of concentration for most of these students who are expected upon graduation to serve the country's schools.

Tuition and fees are the same in all of the public universities, while they vary in private universities. The main sources of financing for private universities are student fees; shareholders, either individuals or institutions interested in education; and donations from individuals or institutions in Jordan or abroad.


Educational Research: Educational research, still in its infancy in Jordan, is carried out by different agencies. Research is a function of the Research Section of the MOE's General Directorate of Educational Research and Studies. The tasks of this directorate are:

  • Identifying the problems related to teaching-learning process.
  • Selecting researchers to conduct studies, monitor their implementations, and prepare their budgets.
  • Conducting research related to the improving the teaching-learning process.

The research budget at the MOE for the 1998 academic year was estimated at 26,000 Jordanian dinars and distributed as follows: research conducting; stationery and publications; and rewards of researchers, coordinators, and evaluators of educational research.

Other organizations concerned with educational research in Jordan are the National Center for Human Resource Development, the universities, and the Educational Research and Development Center of UNRWA.

The research fund in the budgets of universities is either very small (about 1 percent), too small to be useful, and in many cases not used at all. Limited project funding is available from such local sources as the cooperative research programs administered by the Higher Council of Science and Technology.


Nonformal Education

Various nonformal educational programs are offered by the education system in Jordan, such as literacy programs, evening classes, and home study, which provide education for adults to continue self-learning and to sit for school and general examinations. In addition, short, nonformal vocational training courses and programs in cultural centers are offered for adults.

Special attention is paid to literacy and adult education programs, in particular. A plan for this purpose was set down aiming at reducing the rate of illiteracy from 11 percent in 1997 to 8 percent by the year 2000; reinforcing literacy programs by introducing agricultural, health, and cultural skills to meet the needs of the labor market; improving compulsory education conditions to reduce failure and dropouts in the basic cycle; developing the quality of nonformal education programs; diversifying teaching methods and content; and developing trainers' and supervisors' capabilities in illiteracy eradication and adult education programs.

During the 1997-98 school year, 635 literacy centers were established in various areas of the kingdom, 53 for males and 582 for females, with a total of 11,226 learners. The evening centers enrolled 3,447 students; the home studies program, 567; and the summer centers, 5,010.

Cultural centers provide nonformal education and training through vocational and academic courses at the end of which the student obtains a certificate certified by the MOE. By 1997-98, there were 349 distributed in various directorates. The programs are diversified, and the course durations range from one month to one year. These programs provided 43 specialized training courses with about 27,720 students in 1996-97.

The national program of adult vocational education programs was initiated through the support of the United Nations and the International Labor Organization. Under the plan, known as the National Vocational Training Scheme, the trade training centers provide apprenticeship programs for youth and unemployed adults and skill upgrading for those already employed.

To upgrade the skills of employed workers, so-called "labor upgrading centers" have been created. These centers, which give courses in the evening, utilizing the facilities of the secondary industrial schools, normally offer specializations available in the school that houses them. On the average, 150 hours of practice training and relevant technical theory are required over a 6 month period. The employer is responsible for paying the nominal course fee, which is about 70 Jordanian dinars. Most of these programs are under the Vocational and Technical Committee (VTC) and available in Amman, Irbid, and Zarqa. The Telecommunications Corporation has also established centers to train workers in this field of employment.

In 2000, the Economic Consultative Council of Vocational and Technical Committee finished the draft law for a vocational and technical training council. The goal is to formulate comprehensive policies to secure the best development of manpower. The drafted law would also unite the efforts of the many sectors that are concerned with vocational and technical training, such as the Ministry of Education, Al-Balqa University, the Armed Forces, and the private sector.

There is also a General Management Institute in Amman that began operation in 1968, seeking to upgrade the administrative personnel in both governmental agencies and private firms. The training, normally given over a period of 2 to 12 weeks, focuses on such fields as high and middle level management, supervision, personnel and office management, secretarial work, and accountancy. In 1975, some 375 individuals were enrolled in the Institute. The government has also supported the establishment of Workers Education Institutes concentrating on the role of trade unions in society. Trade union leaders are urged to attend these institutes and enroll in such courses as economic development, labor wages policy, and production.


Teaching Profession

Generally, primary and intermediate school teachers are trained in the community colleges and secondary school teachers in universities.

With the dramatic increase in enrollment, there has been an increased demand for teachers. In 1953 there were fewer than 5,000 teachers, while at the beginning of the 1980s there were almost 30,000. After the Gulf War in 1990, many of the Jordanians who had been working in Kuwait and other Gulf countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Bahrain, were dismissed from their jobs and returned to Jordan. In a couple of years the need for teachers was dramatically increased, and it is estimated that the number of teachers in 1992-93 was approximately 55,000.

In order to improve the teaching profession through upgrading teachers' qualifications, Act 3 of 1994 stipulated that every teacher, in any stage from kindergarten to the secondary cycle, must have a university degree. Their supervisors must hold a postgraduate degree.

In 1997, a total of 69.50 percent of teachers had a community college degree, 26 percent had a bachelor's degree, and 3.6 percent had more than a bachelor's degree. The MOE encourages teachers who already have their bachelor's degree to enroll in graduate studies. In 1997, the MOE funded 759 teachers to get their bachelor's degree, 423 to get their diploma, and 75 to get their master's degree. The General Directorate of Training in the MOE is responsible for planning these programs in cooperation with educational experts and international and regional organizations.

Teachers are selected for the job through competitive selection and on the basis of need, specialization, year of graduation, GPA, living place, and experience. Although there are general criteria for employment, a quota is given to some categories, such as orphans of fathers who served in the Jordanian army, poor families, and handicapped teachers who hold an academic qualification. Generally speaking, promotion takes place after passing five years in a grade, class, or category. It is possible to be promoted earlier with a higher academic degree or a distinctive performance.

Teachers' workload (average number of weekly periods allocated to classroom teaching) depends upon where in the educational cycle they teach. Generally, for example, teachers at vocational schools teach more periods than teachers at secondary schools.

Salaries are determined according to Civil Service Regulation No. 1 of 1988 and the Unified Allowance Regulation No. 23 of 1988. Salaries are classified according to academic qualifications, category, grade, and nature of work.


Summary

Jordan is a country rich in human capital but poor in natural resources. The government therefore decided to begin a broad-based reform program. The first step was to establish the institutional and physical infrastructure needed to support Jordan's educational goals.

To move reform forward, the government took several steps: a new education law was prepared in 1994; the school system was restructured, abolishing middle schools and reducing the secondary school cycle from three to two years; the curriculum was modernized; and higher minimum qualifications were established for teachers.

More attention should be given to education at the preprimary level. The gross enrollment at this level is 26 percent. Because 99 percent of preprimary schools are run by private organizations and charge fees, not all parents can afford to send their kids to preschool. Thus, not all kids will be ready to learn when they start their first grade in public education. The government should initiate some preprimary schools, especially in rural areas.

At the basic education level (grades 1-10), the government has achieved nearly universal access: gross enrollment is 95 percent. Jordan was active in adopting the framework of the Education for All Conference held in Thailand in 1990 and again in Amman in 1996. This indicates the awareness of the government to educate all.

Secondary education in Jordan consists of two typescomprehensive (academic and vocational) and applied general education. The comprehensive secondary school provides two optionsthe academic and the vocational. Vocational education is offered in six types of schoolscommercial, industrial, agricultural, nursing, hotel services, and home economics.

The higher education system in Jordan is comprised of two-year community colleges and four- to five-year university education. The offerings dramatically expanded in the 1990s when the government allowed private firms to invest in education by building their own universities. Twelve private universities were established, and three others were under construction in 2001.

The first public university was established in 1962. Three other universities were established by the end of 1989, followed by four more in the 1990s. The major reason for expanding higher education in 1990s was to cater to the hundreds of thousands of people who returned to the country after the Gulf War. The government was faced with the great demand to expand public universities, and several business leaders felt the need to invest in private universities.

In February 2000, the Jordanian government got a $34.7 million loan from the World Bank for a higher education development project. Its objective is to initiate improvements in the quality, relevance, and efficiency of Jordan's higher education. This is a very important change that needs to take place soon. Even though all public universities are governed by the same authoritythe Council of Higher Educationthese universities do not coordinate effectively in terms of the specializations to be taught. All of them offer similar fields and have the same colleges. The problem is that each university serves a certain region of the country, and they are not seen as a single unit serving the whole country.

While there is a high unemployment rate in the country, there is a need for skilled labor, but the universities do not focus on this type of training. The exception to this is the Jordan University of Science and Technology, which decided to open new fields of study that are not taught in other universities.

The two major changes planned for the academic year 2001-02 will be to begin computer training in the third grade and to teach English in first grade. The Jordanian government is aware of the importance of English as the language needed to compete globally and the importance of computer technology as an essential prerequisite for success in the information age.

In 2000, the Ministry of Education signed a $33 million contract to purchase approximately 20,000 computers. Twenty-two computers and a server to connect the school with a local network will be installed in 900 of the kingdom's public schools. The Ministry's ambitious program to introduce computers and computer-based learning in all government schools will be implemented over three years.

Incorporating the English teaching policy will be a challenge. The government will need to hire new teachers in the face of a budget deficit and hiring freeze in the public sector.

Teaching computer technology might be an even more unrealistic decision. The Ministry of Education unfortunately does not have trained people to teach computers. The other problem is financing such a project. This requires hiring new teachers and buying new computers, neither of which is possible unless the government gets loans from international lenders.

Bibliography

Badran, A., ed. Education in the Middle East. New York: Paragon House, 1989.

Mazawi, A. "The Contested Terrains of Education in the Arab States: An Appraisal of Major Research Trends, 2000." Comparative Education Review 43(3) 332-250.

Ministry of Education. The Annual Book. Jordan: The First National Conference for Educational Development, 1988.

Obeidat, S., and A. Rashda. Education in Jordan from 1921 to 1993. Amman: Ministry of Education, 1993.

World Bank Operation Evaluation Department. Partnership for Education in Jordan, 2000. Jordan Higher Education Development Study. World Bank, 1996.

World Education Report. The Right to Education: Towards Education for All Throughout Life. UNESCO, 2000.


Osama M. Obeidat

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JORDAN

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

Al-Mamlaka al-Urdunniyya al-Hashimiyya

COUNTRY OVERVIEW

LOCATION AND SIZE.

Jordan, a Middle Eastern kingdom, is sandwiched between Saudi Arabia in the south and east, Syria and Iraq in the north, and Israel (including the West Bank of the Jordan River) in the west. The country has an area of 89,213 square kilometers (34,445 square miles) and a coastline of only 26 kilometers (16 miles) along the Gulf of Aqaba in the south. Jordan shares its longest border with Saudi Arabia, some 728 kilometers (452 miles). Amman, Jordan's capital, is located in the northwest of the country. Jordan occupies an area slightly smaller than Indiana.

POPULATION.

In July 2000 the population of Jordan was estimated to be 4,998,564, increasing on average by 3.1 percent a year. The country has a very young population, of which 41 percent are under the age of 20. Only 3 percent of Jordanians are over the age of 65. In 2000 the birth rate stood at 26.24 births per 1,000 while the death rate stood at 2.63 per 1,000. With a projected annual population growth rate of 3 percent, the population is expected to reach approximately 7.5 million by the year 2015.

The Jordanian population is almost entirely Arab except for pockets of people from Armenia, Chechnya, and a very small community of Circassians (the oldest indigenous people of North Caucasus). Although there are no accurate figures to date, it is estimated that up to 75 percent of the Jordanian population is Palestinian. The Palestinian people have been flooding into Jordan since the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, when they were either forced to leave their homes or subjected to such economic, cultural, and political hardship that they felt compelled to leave. There are existing tensions between the Jordanians who inhabited the country before 1948 and the refugees and immigrants who have since settled. The former group are known as the "East Bankers" and the latter group known as "West Bankers." Despite these tensions, the 2 communities are deeply inter-linked socially and economically. Many Palestinians living in Jordan refer to themselves as Jordanians, and it is hard to generalize about the loyalty and identity of the Palestinian population. In addition, there are 1 million foreign workers in the kingdom mainly from Egypt, Syria, and Iraq who perform menial, physical, and in some cases managerial jobs.

OVERVIEW OF ECONOMY

Jordan is a small Arab country with inadequate supplies of water and other natural resources such as oil and coal. Until the 1950s the economy was underwritten mostly by Britain, and in 1967 foreign aid still represented 60 percent of government revenues. The most important event for the Jordanian economy since the end of the World War II was the quadrupling of world oil prices in October 1973.Although Jordan possessed virtually no oil itself, it became inextricably linked to the other economies in the region. Between 1973 and 1981 the Arab budget (the sum of all Arab governments' budgets) rose more than 16-fold, from US$71.8 million to US$1.179 billion, and during the same period Jordanian exports rose almost 13-fold from US$57.6 million to US$734.9 million. In addition, Jordan sent hoards of doctors, scientists, engineers, construction workers, and teachers to the Persian Gulf who sent home remittances of more than $US1 billion between 1973 and 1981. Even after deducting the dinars flowing out of the country from the 125,000 foreigners working in unskilled jobs, the net remittances rose from US$15 million in 1970 to US$900 million in 1981. During this oil boom, Jordan's annual real GDP growth averaged 10 percent.

This rapid economic growth combined with the increase in oil prices also caused prices and import bills to rise. Then when world oil prices crashed in the early 1980s, reductions in both Arab aid and worker remittances slowed real economic growth to an average of roughly 2 percent per year. Importsmainly oil, capital goods , consumer durables, and foodoutstripped exports with the difference mostly covered by aid and borrowing. The Jordanian government was immediately forced to downsize the public sector , stop construction projects, and cut subsidies .

In mid-1989 the Jordanian government embarked upon debt rescheduling negotiations and agreed to accept an International Monetary Fund (IMF) structural adjustment program , a lending program designed to correct an economies problems. Such programs usually involve de-valuing the currency, reducing government spending, lowering the budget deficit , and implementing broad structural reforms. The Gulf War crisis, begun in August 1990, however, aggravated Jordan's already serious economic problems, forcing the government to shelve the IMF program, stop most debt payments, and suspend rescheduling negotiations. Aid from Gulf Arab states, worker remittances, and trade all contracted while refugees flooded into the country, producing serious balance of payments prob- lems. (Jordan had to increase its imports, which pushed the trade imbalance further into deficit.) This action stunted GDP growth and strained government resources. The economy rebounded in 1992, largely due to the influx of capital repatriated by workers returning from the Gulf, but the recovery was uneven throughout 1994 and 1995. The government is currently implementing the reform program adopted in 1992 and continues to secure rescheduling and write-offs of its heavy foreign debt , which amounted to US$8.4 billion in 2000. A new IMF package was approved in April 1999 that entitles Jordan to funds worth US$174 million over 3 years. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) agreed to an economic assistance program for Jordan in 1999 that amounted to $150 million. However, debt, poverty, and unemployment (which stood officially at 15.5 percent in 1999) remain Jordan's biggest on-going problems.

POLITICS, GOVERNMENT, AND TAXATION

Transjordan was created in 1921 by the British, who brought over Hashemite Prince Adbullah from Saudi Arabia to be head of state. The Hashemite clan claims to descend from the Muslim prophet Mohammed and have enjoyed very close ties to the West since the creation of the country. Transjordan achieved independence from Britain in 1946 and was renamed The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Jordan is a constitutional monarchy based on the constitution promulgated in 1952. The king and his cabinet ministers hold the executive authority, and the king signs and executes all laws, however, his veto power may be overridden by a two-thirds vote of both houses of the National Assembly. He appoints and may dismiss all judges by royal decree, approves amendments to the constitution, can declare war, and holds the title of commander-in-chief of the armed forces. Cabinet decisions, court judgments, and the national currency are also all issued in his name. The cabinet is led by a prime minister who is appointed by the king. Legislative power rests in the bicameral (2-chamber) Majlis al-Umma (National Assembly). The 80-member Majlis al-Nuwaab (Assembly of Deputies or House of Representatives) is subject to dissolution by the king and of the 80 seats, 71 must go to Muslims and 9 to Christians. The 40 members of the Senate are appointed by the monarch for 4-year terms.

From 1953 until 1999 all this authority resided in Jordan's beloved King Hussein, who was one of the most famous and internationally respected Middle Eastern heads of state. King Hussein was instrumental in designing the framework for the "Peace Process" (the aim of which was to settle the historical conflict between the Palestinians and the Israeli government). His indefatigable commitment to a just and lasting peace accorded him the honor of being a guest speaker at the funeral of assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (prime minister of Israel [1974-77, 1992-95]). A strong proponent of democratization, King Hussein brought an end to martial law in 1991 and legalized political parties in 1992. He survived many assassination attempts, relying on the loyalty of his military. After King Hussein died of cancer, his son Abdullah II was crowned king on 9 June 1999. King Abdullah, along with Bashar Assad of Syria, belongs to a new generation of Arab leaders who have been educated in the West and whose priorities lie in the realm of economic liberalization , political accountability, societal justice, greater equality, and international status. Jordan's new politically accountable setting combined with its economic liberalization and its fast-growing population have led to the appearance of several political parties including the Communist Party and the Muslim Brotherhood. (The latter is a Sunni Islamic movement founded in Egypt in 1928 and active throughout the Arab world, although banned in most countries. It aims at the establishment of a Muslim state governed by Islamic law.) Several Arab nationalist parties are also active.

INFRASTRUCTURE, POWER, AND COMMUNICATIONS

Prior to 1950, Jordan had a very undeveloped infrastructure and the remarkable improvements that have

Communications
Country Newspapers Radios TV Sets a Cable subscribers a Mobile Phones a Fax Machines a Personal Computers a Internet Hosts b Internet Users b
1996 1997 1998 1998 1998 1998 1998 1999 1999
Jordan 58 287 52 0.1 12 8.6 8.7 1.17 120
United States 215 2,146 847 244.3 256 78.4 458.6 1,508.77 74,100
Egypt 40 324 122 N/A 1 0.5 9.1 0.28 200
Israel 290 520 318 184.0 359 24.9 217.2 187.41 800
aData are from International Telecommunication Union, World Telecommunication Development Report 1999 and are per 1,000 people.
bData are from the Internet Software Consortium (http://www.isc.org) and are per 10,000 people.
SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.

been made over the last 50 years have largely been shaped by the ever-changing politics and geography of the Middle East. Before 1948, Jordan's trade was almost entirely dependent on the port of Haifa, which was in Palestine at the time. However, Haifa was captured by the Israelis in 1948, and Jordan was forced to develop its own port at Aqaba. The peace treaty signed between Jordan and Israel in 1994 made Jordan a main route linking the Middle East to the Mediterranean and, therefore, a major trading hub. There are 2 major roads in Jordan, the north-south Desert Highway from Amman to Al Aqabah and the east-west highway from Al Mafraq to the Iraqi border. Jordan is a very small country that can be driven across in 5 hours, but in spite of its size, the country has a 6,200 kilometer (3,852 mile) road network. In addition, Jordan has a very small rail system that is used only for transporting raw materials to the southern port of Aqaba. There are 3 main airports, Queen Alia International Airport, 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) south of Amman; the old international airport at Marka; and King Abdullah Airport in Amman, used primarily by the Royal Jordanian Air Force.

The telecommunications sector was partially privatized in 1995 and currently Jordan enjoys a thoroughly modern communications system. Many people use cellular phones and pagers, and Internet access is widespread. In 1999, roughly 60,000 Jordanians owned mobile phones. In 2000 this number increased to 100,000. Forecasters have predicted that by the end of 2002 there will be 800,000 users. There were 403,000 main telephone lines in use in 1997.

Over 98 percent of the Jordanian population has access to electricity, and the demand for it has been growing at a rate of 10 percent in recent years. In 1999 total electrical energy production was 6.9 million kilowatt hours (kWh), and over 90 percent of this energy is supplied by the state-owned National Electric Power Company. Industry is the largest consumer at 34 percent of total production, and domestic consumption is the second largest consumer at 31 percent. Jordan has entered into a multilateral agreement with Egypt, Syria, Turkey, and Lebanon whereby electricity supplies will be taken from neighboring countries when domestic demand rises above domestic supply.

ECONOMIC SECTORS

The small size of Jordan is mirrored in the relatively small size of its economic sectors. Given that there are few natural resources in the country, the Jordanian economy is heavily dependent on imports from other countries, notably from the European Union. The largest economic sector is manufacturing and the smallest is agriculture. Unfortunately the agricultural sector is vulnerable to changes in climatic conditions, and droughts that plagued the country since 1998 seriously undermined the sector's productivity.

AGRICULTURE

In 2000, Jordanian farms accounted for just 500,000 of the country's 8.9 million hectares of land. The agricultural sector employed 7.4 percent of the Jordanian labor force in 1998 and contributed 3 percent to the GDP. Jordan experienced 2 serious consecutive droughts in 1998-99 and 1999-2000, which highlighted the agricultural sector's troublesome dependence on rainfall. Three- quarters of the country's cultivable land is rain-fed territory to the north producing wheat, barley, lentils, and chickpeas. The remaining quarter of agricultural land in the Jordan Valley and the highlands is irrigated and produces eggplants, bananas, potatoes, cucumbers, citrus fruits, tomatoes, and onions. In 1999 tomatoes were the main crop with production reaching 293,000 tons, followed by 142,000 tons of melons. Agricultural products are mostly exported to the Gulf countries such as Bahrain, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon. Some farmers, however, have tried to sell their produce to European markets. They have been largely unsuccessful because of their poor packaging, inadequate quality control, and the high transportation costs involved.

MEAT AND LIVESTOCK.

There is very little land for grazing because 90 percent of the country is classified as desert, but Jordan is usually able to supply its people with 30 percent of domestic demand for red meat and milk, with the remaining 70 percent needing to be imported. However, regular outbreaks of foot and mouth disease (a destructive disease that infects cattle and sheep) associated with very dry climatic conditions have pushed the production of red meat and milk 40 percent below the normal levels. In 1999 only 21,000 tons of red meat was produced, along with 171 tons of milk. In addition to this problem, the structural adjustment program adopted by the government has cut subsidies on water and fodder, which has forced 30 percent of breeders to close.

The drought was so severe in 1998-99 that the cereal harvest met only 1.2 percent of domestic needs instead of the usual 10 percent. The reduction in cereal supply was coupled with soaring demand for wheat, which reached 650,000 tons in 1999-2000 when the country was producing only between 40,000-50,000 tons a year. The agricultural sector's problems have caused the food gap (the difference between the amount of food a country produces and the amount of food it has to import) to widen and the import bill to appreciate. In 1995 Jordan imported US$61 million worth of fruits and nuts, and in 1999 this figure amounted to US$82 million, an increase of US$19 million. This trend has shaken the Ministry of Agriculture into reviving talks with the Sudanese government over the use of their spare land and water. Jordan currently has use of 24,200 hectares of land to the north of Khartoum given by the Sudanese government in thanks for the medical aid provided by Jordan in the 1980s.

INDUSTRY

Jordan's industry can be divided into 2 sub-sectors: mining/quarrying and manufacturing. In 1998 the industrial sector employed approximately 14 percent of the country's labor force and contributed 25 percent to Jordan's GDP. This sector is the much-needed provider of foreign exchange because it accounts for 68 percent of domestic exports.

MINING AND QUARRYING.

Phosphates and potash are Jordan's main natural resources, and both of these minerals are used in the production of fertilizers. In 2000 Jordan was the second largest supplier of phosphates in the world after Morocco, producing 7 million tons and announcing proven reserves of 1.5 billion tons. The bulk of the phosphate industry is located in the south of the country near the Saudi Arabian border and is dominated by the Jordan Phosphate Mines Company, which is mostly owned by the government. Mining is certainly one of the strongest emerging markets in Jordan, and the government has made significant investments in the sector. The sector's output has been growing steadily with profits increasing from US$27 million in 1997 to US$35 million in 1998. The Jordan Phosphate Mines Company has been very successful in attracting international capital especially through contracts with Indian and Japanese firms.

Jordan has impressive proven shale oil reserves that have been estimated to amount to the equivalent of 29.5 billion barrels of oil. This oil has not been exploited yet because shale oil is difficult and costly to extract. However, in 1999 a Canadian firm, Suncor, entered into talks with the Jordanian government and hopes to produce 17,000 barrels per day (b/d), 67,000 b/d after 2004, and 210,000 b/d after the year 2008. This project would be a great boost for the Jordanian economy because it would make Jordan self-sufficient in energy production. Currently, Jordan imports 100,000 b/d of oil from Iraq.

MANUFACTURING.

Jordan has never had a large heavy industry base because it does not have the purchasing power to import the necessary and costly machinery. Second, the regional instability makes it an unattractive place for potential investors. The principal heavy industries, such as cement and fertilizer production, have developed only through heavy government intervention. Most private investment is concentrated in light industry such as consumer goods , textiles, food processing, and construction materials. In order to spur growth in the industrial sector, the Jordanian government has set up a series of free trade zones . Light industry has largely been driven by the growth of Jordan's pharmaceutical industry, which has been very rapid since 1998. In 2000, Jordan was exporting pharmaceutical products to over 30 countries. In 1995, US$125 million worth of pharmaceutical products were exported, and in 1999 this figure had increased to US$143 million.

CONSTRUCTION.

The construction industry has been growing steadily since the oil boom in the 1970s, helped by the economy through the remittances flowing into the country from Jordanian workers in the Gulf. The fast-growing Jordanian population has led to growing urban communities, and the capital Amman has almost doubled in size over the last 30 years. Major construction contracts are usually held by foreign companies because they hold the large amounts of required capital. However, these companies have been sensitive to the needs of Jordan and have often used Jordanian architects and engineers in major projects. Local companies have nevertheless been instrumental in building more schools, roads, and waterways.

SERVICES

Jordan tends to attract more tourists on average than other Arab countries because of its central geographic position in the region. Jerusalem is merely 1 hour away from the capital Amman, as are Jericho, Nazareth, and Bethlehem. Syria is a 2-hour drive to the north, as is Lebanon, and Egypt is only a ferry ride from the Gulf of Aqaba. Jordan itself has much to offer the adventurous traveler, including the magnificent "rose-red" city of Petra where the movie Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was filmed, the Roman city of Jerash, and the Dead Sea, where one can float on top of the water because of its heavy salt content. Jordan is also home to the Jordan river, beautiful deserts, and the Gulf of Aqaba, which boasts some of the best diving in the world.

The Jordanian tourism sector has certainly not been developed to its full potential because of the continuous problems with regional security. When the peace treaty was signed between Jordan and Israel in 1994, tourism grew as more and more Israelis visited the country. However, the sector did not achieve the growth targets that were hoped for. Following the Gulf War in 1991, there was a slowdown in the number of tourists from Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf countries, but recently the deepening of ties between all the countries in the region has led to an increase in the number of Arab visitors to Jordan. In 1999 over 50 percent of tourists were Arab. The number of tourists from Europe and the United States fluctuates in response to the regional political situation. In 1995 roughly 84,000 U.S. tourists visited Jordan, and in 1999 this number increased to 100,000. Since the beginning of 2001 many tourists have canceled their holidays to the country due to the violence that erupted in Israel and the West Bank and Gaza Strip in September 2000 between the Palestinians and the Israeli authorities.

Despite the daily uncertainties faced by the tourism sector, the government has continued to encourage hotel development in all parts of the country. Since 1995 many 5-star hotels have been built including the Holiday Inn, the Grand Hyatt, the Four Seasons, and the exclusive Movenpick Hotel on the Dead Sea coast, which boasts a luxurious health resort.

FINANCIAL SERVICES.

Jordan has a modern and well-functioning financial services sector. The banking sector is regulated entirely by the Central Bank and includes 21 banks of which 5 are foreign, 5 are Islamic, and 9 are commercial. The Central Bank of Jordan has encouraged smaller banks to merge by offering incentives and raising minimum capital requirements to 20 million dinars (US$28.2 million). This is being done in part to offset the overwhelming national presence of the Arab Bank, which holds 60 percent of the country's financial assets. The Jordanian government has also historically encouraged the setting up of microcredit institutions and, unlike many other Arab countries, Jordan is well-served by 5 highly accessible organizations that provide substantial funds to people in the agricultural, industrial, and housing sectors. In 1996 the first mortgage company was set up allowing Jordanians to reorganize the loans they had taken from the Housing Bank and reschedule their payments in a manageable way.

Jordan has long been dependent on outside capital to sustain its development programs. In the 1980s, the kingdom sought to develop its internal financial base by establishing a stock exchange, the Amman Financial Market (AFM). The establishment of the stock market was an important step in enabling the country to use its financial resources in a more efficient way by allowing both Jordanians and foreigners to invest in the private sector , thus helping the economy to grow.

INTERNATIONAL TRADE

Given that Jordan does not posses a wealth of natural resources like the oil-rich countries in the Gulf and does not have a very wide industrial base, it has been plagued with trade deficits since its creation. The situation has worsened as the food gap in the country widens, and more and more food has to be imported. The past 4 governments have attempted to address this issue by promoting exports and tightening imports. The dinar was de-valued in 1991, which made Jordanian products cheaper on the international markets and foreign imports more expensive. The Gulf War also helped to boost exports as regional demand exploded in the aftermath of the war,

Trade (expressed in billions of US$): Jordan
Exports Imports
1975 .153 .732
1980 .574 2.402
1985 .789 2.733
1990 1.064 2.600
1995 1.769 3.698
1998 N/A N/A
SOURCE: International Monetary Fund. International Financial Statistics Yearbook 1999.

notably in the pharmaceutical industry. Jordan's principal export markets are Saudi Arabia and Iraq, the former an important market for pharmaceuticals and consumer goods and the latter an important market for out-of-season vegetables and fruit. Jordan's phosphates, potash, and fertilizers are bought by the Indians, the Chinese, and the Indonesians. As the Asian economies recover from their devastating 1997 financial crisis, demand is growing rapidly again. In spite of this positive growth, however, average annual imports cost twice as much as the revenues from exports. In 2000 Jordan exported US$2 billion worth of goods, but imported US$4 billion worth of goods, producing a trade deficit of US$2 billion.

In 1999, about 21.6 percent of Jordanian imports originated from Iraq (mostly oil), 9.9 percent from the United States, 9.7 percent from Germany, and 4.7 from the United Kingdom. The country imports most of its consumer goods from South Korea, Turkey, and China, and Saudi Arabia provides it with the bulk of its processed food.

FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS.

An important free trade agreement was signed between Jordan and the European Union, which took effect in January 1999. It aims to eliminate tariffs on nearly 500 industrial goods over 5 years and to spur local industrial activity. Essentially, Jordan's products will be eased onto the European market as duties and taxes on European products are removed. Another significant part of the agreement will lift the ban on majority foreign ownership of Jordanian firms. Jordan also became a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in December 1999 and is currently in talks with the European Union regarding a free-trade agreement with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). Jordan has been actively involved in promoting inter-regional free-trade zones, signing an agreement with Saudi Arabia that provides for a free-trade zone before 2005, and it is involved in similar talks with the Egyptians. In October 2000 Jordan also signed a free trade agreement with the United States, and as a result exports to the United States have risen rapidly. In 1999, Jordan provided US$13.1 million worth of exports to the United States, and in 2000 this figure had jumped to US$27 million.

MONEY

The aim of the Central Bank is to maintain a stable dinar so as to enable the economy to function competitively abroad. The Jordanian Central Bank controls foreign exchange transactions as well as the exchange rate . The dinar was devalued in 1991 against the French franc, the U.S. dollar, the British pound, and the German mark in order boost exports. In an effort to maintain exchange rate stability in 1995, the dinar was pegged to a fixed ex-

Exchange rates: Jordan
Jordanian dinars (JD) per US$1
2001 0.7090
2000 0.7090
1999 0.7090
1998 0.7090
1997 0.7090
1996 0.7090
Note: Rate has been set since 1996; since May 1989, the Jordanian dinar has been pegged to a group of currencies.
SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [ONLINE].

change rate to the dollar. In mid-2001, US$1 is equal to 0.7090 JD, which means that 1 JD is equal to US$1.41.

POVERTY AND WEALTH

Amman is a capital in which the foreigner neither marvels at the numbers of homeless on the sidewalks nor remarks on the number of flashy Mercedes Benzes on the roads. Jordan is simply not a rich country like Saudi Arabia, and those families that do possess fortunes tend to be discreet about it. Of course, there are exclusive neighborhoods in Amman but, on the whole, wealth is not flashed around. Poverty, on the other hand, does exist in Jordan, especially in cities.

Approximately 15 percent of the Jordanian population of 4,998,564 live below the poverty line and up to two-thirds of these poor people are concentrated in urban areas. According to the World Bank, 17 percent of Jordanian children are malnourished, the infant mortality rate per 1,000 live births is high at 31, and 11 percent of the population does not have access to safe drinking water. In addressing these issues, the Jordanian government in 1997 set up a poverty reduction initiative called the Social Productivity Program. Not only did this ambitious scheme aim to reduce poverty and educate the poor but it also targets members of underprivileged groups who are typically more vulnerable to poverty such

GDP per Capita (US$)
Country 1975 1980 1985 1990 1998
Jordan 993 1,715 1,824 1,436 1,491
United States 19,364 21,529 23,200 25,363 29,683
Israel 10,620 11,412 12,093 13,566 15,978
Egypt 516 731 890 971 1,146
SOURCE: United Nations. Human Development Report 2000; Trends in human development and per capita income.
Distribution of Income or Consumption by Percentage Share: Jordan
Lowest 10% 3.3
Lowest 20% 7.6
Second 20% 11.4
Third 20% 15.5
Fourth 20% 21.1
Highest 20% 44.4
Highest 10% 29.8
Survey year: 1997
Note: This information refers to expenditure shares by percentiles of the population and is ranked by per capita expenditure.
SOURCE: 2000 World Development Indicators [CD-ROM].

as female-headed households, widows, divorced women, and mothers of disabled children. The fund has received money from the World Bank and the United Nations Development Program and has been very successful in reducing the percentage of those below the poverty line from 30 percent in 1998 to 15 percent in 2001.

WORKING CONDITIONS

Jordan has a mushrooming labor force. In 1997 the labor force stood at 1.2 million, a substantial increase from the 1991 figure of 525,000. The official unemployment rate stood at 15.5 percent in 1999. Half of the unemployed are under the age of 25, and many of these young people are unskilled. The country has a national literacy rate of 86.6 percent, and about 95 percent of the workforce under the age of 35 is literate. Many young graduates sadly find themselves without jobs, and those who do find employment are often very badly paid. It is likely that the real rate of unemployment is significantly higher than the official rate, and some estimates put it as high as 20 or 25 percent. According to the EIU Country Profile 2000, the largest percentage of the labor force, at 18 percent, work in crafts, only 14 percent of the labor force are professionals, and 14 percent of the labor force are plant and machine operators. In 1997, 158,097 people were employed by the public sector and their average monthly wage was US$310. There is also a substantial underground economy whose production is estimated at 3 percent of the GDP.

The Jordanian workforce is protected under labor laws enforced by Ministry of Labor inspectors. There is no minimum wage in Jordan, however, the government often assigns a minimum wage to certain trades based on recommendations made by unions. The maximum work week is 48 hours except in hotels, bars, and restaurants where employees can work up to 54 hours. Employment of foreign workers in Jordan is not permitted unless the employer is in need of the expertise and qualifications of a foreign employee. Arab technicians and experts are given priority over their foreign counterparts.

COUNTRY HISTORY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

1920. The League of Nations places Palestine and Transjordan under a British mandate following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I.

1946. Britain's mandate over Transjordan comes to an end, and Emir Abdullah is declared king.

1948. The state of Israel is created under the British mandate in Palestine. Thousands of Palestinians flee Arab-Israeli fighting to the West Bank and Jordan.

1950. Jordan annexes the West Bank of the Jordan River.

1951. King Abdullah is assassinated by a Palestinian gunman in Jerusalem.

1952. Hussein is proclaimed king after his father, Talal, is declared mentally unfit to rule.

1957. British troops complete their withdrawal from Jordan.

1963. Political parties are banned.

Household Consumption in PPP Terms
Country All food Clothing and footwear Fuel and power a Health care b Education b Transport & Communications Other
Jordan 32 6 17 5 8 8 23
United States 13 9 9 4 6 8 51
Egypt 44 9 7 3 17 3 17
Israel 23 6 11 2 6 8 44
Data represent percentage of consumption in PPP terms.
aExcludes energy used for transport.
bIncludes government and private expenditures.
SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.

1967. Israel takes control of Jerusalem and the West Bank during the Six-Day War, and there is a large in-flux of refugees into Jordan.

1970. Major clashes break out between government forces and Palestinian guerrillas resulting in thousands of casualties in a civil war remembered as Black September.

1976. The Amman Financial Market opens for business. Non-Jordanian Arabs are permitted to buy shares in Jordanian firms without limit.

1989. First general election since 1967 is contested only by independent candidates because of the ban on political parties in 1963.

1991. The Gulf War begins. Jordan comes under severe economic and diplomatic strain as a result of the Gulf crisis following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.

1992. Political parties are legalized.

1993. The World Bank agrees to restructure Jordan's debt.

1994. Jordan signs a peace treaty with Israel ending the 46-year official state of war.

1996. Food price riots occur after subsidies are removed under the economic plan supervised by the International Monetary Fund.

1997. Jordan signs an association agreement with the European Union that aims to establish a free trade zone over the next 12 years. Iraq agrees to supply Jordan with 4.8 million tons of crude oil at a considerable discount from market price.

1998. King Hussein is treated for lymphatic cancer in the United States.

1999. King Hussein returns home and is put on a life support machine. He is pronounced dead on 7 February. More than 50 heads of state attend his funeral. Hussein's son, Crown Prince Abdullah ibn al-Hussein, is sworn in as king.

1999. Jordan joins the World Trade Organization.

2000. The government bans public protests following clashes between demonstrators and police during anti-Israeli protests.

FUTURE TRENDS

The change in leadership following the death of King Hussein concerned the international community because many countries were unsure as to whether the young king would be capable of successfully taking a fragile economy into the 21st century. However, King Abdullah has shown the international community that he is committed to continuing the economic liberalization of Jordan. If macroeconomic policy continues to be well managed, the Jordanian people will enjoy increased foreign investment, increased privatization, and steady growth over the next few years. Forecasters put the future annual GDP growth as high as 4 or 5 percent.

Following the adoption of the IMF structural adjustment program, the government also hopes to expand the tourism industry, increase exports, and reduce interest rates in order to boost the economy. Nevertheless, the extent to which the Jordanian economy can grow is somewhat dependent on the events that will take place in neighboring Israel and the Occupied Territories during the course of 2001. If the violence continues in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and indeed if a war were to break out between the Palestinians and Israelis, Jordan's tourism industry would come to a halt. In addition, potential investors would be very unwilling to risk putting their money into a region that might possibly be on the brink of war.

DEPENDENCIES

Jordan has no territories or colonies.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Day, Arthur R. East Bank/West Bank: Jordan and the Prospects for Peace. New York: Council on Foreign Relations, 1986.

Economist Intelligence Unit. Country Profile: Jordan. LondonEconomist Intelligence Unit, 2001.

Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Washington, D.C. <http://www.jordanembassyus.org/new/index.html>. Accessed October 2001.

"Keys to the Kingdom: Economy." The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. <http://www.kinghussein.gov.jo/economy.html>. Accessed February 2001.

King Abdullah II Official Website. <http://www.kingabdullah.jo/about_jordan/about_jordan.html>. Accessed October 2001.

International Monetary Fund. International Financial Statistics Yearbook 1999. Washington, DC: International Monetary Fund, 1999.

Salibi, Kamal. The Modern History of Jordan. London: IBTauris, 1993.

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook 2001. <http:// www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/index.html>. Accessed September 2001.

U.S. Department of State. FY 2001 Country Commercial Guide: Jordan. <http://www.state.gov/www/about_state/business/com_guides/2001/nea/index.html>. Accessed October 2001.

Wilson, Rodney, editor. Politics and the Economy in Jordan. New York: Routledge, 1990.

Salamander Davoudi

CAPITAL:

Amman.

MONETARY UNIT:

Jordanian Dinar (JD). One dinar equals 1000 fils. There are coins of 1, 5, 10, 20, 25, 50, 100, and 250 fils. There are notes of 1, 5, 10, and 20 dinars.

CHIEF EXPORTS:

Phosphates, fertilizers, potash, agricultural products, manufactures.

CHIEF IMPORTS:

Crude oil, machinery, transport equipment, food, live animals, manufactured goods.

GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT:

US$17.3 billion (purchasing power parity, 2000 est.).

BALANCE OF TRADE:

Exports: US$2 billion (f.o.b., 2000 est.). Imports: US$4 billion (f.o.b., 2000 est.).

views updated

JORDAN

Compiled from the October 2004 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:
Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan


PROFILE

Geography

Area: 89,544 sq. km. (34,573 sq. mi.).

Cities: Capital—Amman (pop. 1.9 million). Other cities—Irbid (272,681), Az-Zarqa (472,830).

People

Nationality: Noun and adjective—Jordanian(s).

Population: (2003 est.) 5.48 million.

Religions: (est.) Sunni Muslim 95%, Christian 4%, Other 1%.

Languages: Arabic (official), English.

Education: (2001) Literacy—90%.

Health: (2003) Infant mortality rate—19/1,000. Life expectancy—71 yrs.

Ethnic groups: Mostly Arab but small communities of Circassians, Armenians, and Kurds.

Work force: (1.29 million) Services—74.9%; industry—21.8%; agriculture—3.6%

Unemployment rate: 14.5%.

Government

Type: Constitutional monarchy.

Independence: May 25, 1946.

Constitution: January 8, 1952.

Branches: Executive—king (chief of state), prime minister (head of government), council of ministers (cabinet). Legislative—bicameral National Assembly (appointed Senate, elected Chamber of Deputies). Judicial—civil, religious, special courts.

Political parties: Wide spectrum of parties legalized in 1992.

Suffrage: Universal at 18.

Administrative subdivisions: Twelve governorates—Irbid, Jarash, Ajloun, al-'Aqaba, Madaba, al-Mafraq, al-Zarqa, Amman, al-Balqa, al-Karak, al-Tafilah, and Ma'an.

Economy

GDP: (2003 nominal) $9.95 billion.

Annual growth rate: (2003) 3.3%; (first half 2004) 7.2%.

Per capita GDP: (2003) $1,817.

Natural resources: Phosphate, potash.

Agriculture: Products—fruits, vegetables, wheat, olive oil, barley, olives. Land—10% arable; 5% cultivated.

Industry: (24.8% of GDP) Types—phosphate mining, manufacturing, electricity and water; cement and petroleum production, and construction.

Trade: (2003) Exports—$2.36 billion: phosphates, potash, textiles and garments, fertilizers, pharmaceutical products, agricultural products. Major markets—U.S., Iraq, India, Saudi Arabia, U.A.E., Israel. Reexports: $0.72 billion. Imports—$5.74 billion: crude petroleum and derivatives, vehicles, machinery and equipment, cereals, fabrics and textiles. Major suppliers—Saudi Arabia, China, Germany, U.S., Iraq, EU.

Note: From 1949 to 1967, Jordan administered that part of former mandate Palestine west of the Jordan River known as the West Bank. Since the 1967 war, when Israel took control of this territory, the United States has considered the West Bank to be territory occupied by Israel. The United States believes that the final status of the West Bank can be determined only through negotiations among the parties concerned on the basis of UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.


PEOPLE

Jordanians are Arabs, except for a few small communities of Circassians, Armenians, and Kurds which have adapted to Arab culture. The official language is Arabic, but English is used widely in commerce and government. About 70% of Jordan's population is urban; less than 6% of the rural population is nomadic or seminomadic. Most people live where the rainfall supports agriculture. About 1.7 million persons registered as Palestinian refugees and displaced persons reside in Jordan, most as citizens.


HISTORY

The land that became Jordan is part of the richly historical Fertile Crescent region. Around 2000 B.C., Semitic Amorites settled around the Jordan River in the area called Canaan. Subsequent invaders and settlers included Hittites, Egyptians, Israelites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Arab Muslims, Christian Crusaders, Mameluks, Ottoman Turks, and, finally, the British. At the end of World War I, the League of Nations as the mandate for Palestine and Transjordan awarded the territory now comprising Israel, Jordan, the West Bank, Gaza, and Jerusalem to the United Kingdom. In 1922, the British divided the mandate by establishing the semiautonomous Emirate of Transjordan, ruled by the Hashemite Prince Abdullah, while continuing the administration of Palestine under a British High Commissioner. The mandate over Transjordan ended on May 22, 1946; on May 25, the country became the independent Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan. It ended its special defense treaty relationship with the United Kingdom in 1957.

Transjordan was one of the Arab states which moved to assist Palestinian nationalists opposed to the creation of Israel in May 1948, and took part in the warfare between the Arab states and the newly founded State of Israel. The armistice agreements of April 3, 1949 left Jordan in control of the West Bank and provided that the armistice demarcation lines were without prejudice to future territorial settlements or boundary lines.

In 1950, the country was renamed the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to include those portions of Palestine annexed by King Abdullah. While recognizing Jordanian administration over the West Bank, the United States maintained the position that ultimate sovereignty was subject to future agreement.

Jordan signed a mutual defense pact in May 1967 with Egypt, and it participated in the June 1967 war between Israel and the Arab states of Syria, Egypt, and Iraq. During the war, Israel gained control of the West Bank and all of Jerusalem. In 1988, Jordan renounced all claims to the West Bank but retained an administrative role pending a final settlement, and its 1994 treaty with Israel allowed for a continuing Jordanian role in Muslim holy places in Jerusalem. The U.S. Government considers the West Bank to be territory occupied by Israel and believes that its final status should be determined through direct negotiations among the parties concerned on the basis of UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.

The 1967 war led to a dramatic increase in the number of Palestinians living in Jordan. Its Palestinian refugee population—700,000 in 1966—grew by another 300,000 from the West Bank. The period following the 1967 war saw an upsurge in the power and importance of Palestinian resistance elements (fedayeen) in Jordan. The heavily armed fedayeen constituted a growing threat to the sovereignty and security of the Hashemite state, and open fighting erupted in June 1970.

No fighting occurred along the 1967 Jordan River cease-fire line during the October 1973 Arab-Israeli war, but Jordan sent a brigade to Syria to fight Israeli units on Syrian territory. Jordan did not participate in the Gulf war of 1990-91. In 1991, Jordan agreed, along with Syria, Lebanon, and Palestinian representatives, to participate in direct peace negotiations with Israel sponsored by the U.S. and Russia. It negotiated an end to hostilities with Israel and signed a peace treaty in 1994. Jordan has since sought to remain at peace with all of its neighbors.


GOVERNMENT

Jordan is a constitutional monarchy based on the constitution promulgated on January 8, 1952. Executive authority is vested in the king and his council of ministers. The king signs and executes all laws. His veto power may be overridden by a twothirds vote of both houses of the National Assembly. He appoints and may dismiss all judges by decree, approves amendments to the constitution, declares war, and commands the armed forces. Cabinet decisions, court judgments, and the national currency are issued in his name. The king, who may dismiss other cabinet members at the prime minister's request, appoints the council of ministers, led by a prime minister. The cabinet is responsible to the Chamber of Deputies on matters of general policy and can be forced to resign by a two-thirds vote of "no confidence" by that body.

Legislative power rests in the bicameral National Assembly. The number of deputies in the current Chamber of Deputies is 110, with a number of seats reserved for various religions, ethnicities, and a women's quota. The Chamber, elected by universal suffrage to a 4-year term, is subject to dissolution by the king. The king appoints the 55-member Senate for a 4-year term.

The constitution provides for three categories of courts—civil, religious, and special. Administratively, Jordan is divided into 12 governorates, each headed by a governor appointed by the king. They are the sole authorities for all government departments and development projects in their respective areas.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 1/11/05

King: ABDALLAH II
Prime Minister: Faisal al-FAYEZ
Deputy Prime Minister: Marwan MUASHER
Min. of Agriculture: Sharari SHAKHANBEH
Min. of Awqaf & Islamic Affairs: Ahmad HILAYEL
Min. of Culture & Government Spokesperson: Asma KHADER
Min. of Defense: Faisal al-FAYEZ
Min. of Education: Khalid TOUQAN
Min. of Energy & Mineral Resources: Azmi KHREISAT
Min. of Environment: Yousef SHUREIQI

Min. of Finance: Mohammad Abu HAMMOUR
Min. of Foreign Affairs: Hani Fawzi al-MULKI
Min. of Health: Saeed DARWAZEH
Min. of Higher Education & Scientific Research: Issam ZABALAWI
Min. of Industry & Trade: Ahmad HINDAWI
Min. of Interior: Samir HABASHNEH
Min. of Justice: Salah BASHIR
Min. of Labor: Amjad MAJALI
Min. of Municipal Affairs: Amal FARHAN
Min. of Planning & International Cooperation: Bassam AWADALLAH
Min. of Political Development: Munther SHARA
Min. of Public Works & Housing: Raed ABU SAUD
Min. of Social Development: Riyad ABU Karaki
Min. of Telecommunications & Information Technology: Nadia SAEED
Min. of Tourism & Antiquities: Alia HATTOUGH-Bouran
Min. of Transport: Soud NSAIRAT
Min. of Water & Irrigation: Hazem NASSER
Min. of State for Legal Affairs: Fahd Abul Athem ENSOUR
Min. of State for Parliamentary Affairs: Nayef HADID
Min. of State for Prime Ministry Affairs & Government Performance: Marwan MUASHER
Min. of State for Public Reforms: Ahmad MASAADEH
Ambassador to the US: Karim Tawfiq KAWAR
Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: ZEID Ra'ad Zeid al-Hussein , Prince

Jordan maintains an embassy in the United States at 3504 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-966-2664).


POLITICAL CONDITIONS

King Hussein ruled Jordan from 1953 to 1999, surviving a number of challenges to his rule, drawing on the loyalty of his military, and serving as a symbol of unity and stability for both the East Bank and Palestinian communities in Jordan. In 1989 and 1993, Jordan held free and fair parliamentary elections. Controversial changes in the election law led Islamist parties to boycott the 1997 elections. King Hussein ended martial law in 1991 and legalized political parties in 1992.

King Abdullah II succeeded his father Hussein following the latter's death in February 1999. Abdullah moved quickly to reaffirm Jordan's peace treaty with Israel and its relations with the U.S. Abdullah, during the first year in power, refocused the government's agenda on economic reform.

Jordan's continuing structural economic difficulties, burgeoning population, and more open political environment led to the emergence of a variety of political parties. Moving toward greater independence, Jordan's Parliament has investigated corruption charges against several regime figures and has become the major forum in which differing political views, including those of political Islamists, are expressed. In June 2001, the King dissolved Parliament. Parliamentary elections were held in June 2003 and municipal elections were held in July 2003. The King dissolved the government in October 2003, appointing a new Prime Minister and ushered in an unprecedented three women and several young technocrats as ministers. The cabinet declared its commitment to accelerated economic and political reforms. In October 2004, the cabinet was reshuffled.


ECONOMY

Jordan is a small country with limited natural resources. The country is currently exploring ways to expand its limited water supply and use its existing water resources more efficiently, including through regional cooperation. Jordan also depends on external sources for the majority of its energy requirements. During the 1990s, its crude petroleum needs were met through imports from neighboring Iraq. Since early 2003, oil has been provided by some Gulf Cooperation Council member countries. In addition, a natural gas pipeline from Egypt to the southern port city of Aqaba was completed in 2003. The government plans to extend this pipeline north to the Amman area and beyond. Since 2000, exports of light manufactured products, principally textiles and garments manufactured in the Qualifying Industrial Zones (QIZ) that enter the United States tariff and quota free, have been driving economic growth. Jordan exported $6.9 million in goods to the U.S. in 1997, when two-way trade was $395 million; it exported $661 million in 2002 with two-way trade at $1.05 billion. Similar growth in exports to the United States under the bilateral Free Trade Agreement that went into effect in December 2001, to the European Union under the bilateral Association Agreement, and to countries in the region, holds considerable promise for diversifying Jordan's economy away from its traditional reliance on exports of phosphates and potash, overseas remittances, and foreign aid. The government has emphasized the information technology (IT) and tourism sectors as other promising growth sectors. The low tax and low regulation Aqaba Special Economic Zone (ASEZ) is considered a model of a government-provided framework for private sector-led economic growth.

The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States that went into effect in December 2001 will phase out duties on nearly all goods and services by 2010. The agreement also provides for more open markets in communications, construction, finance, health, transportation, and services, as well as strict application of international standards for the protection of intellectual property. In 1996, Jordan and the United States signed a civil aviation agreement that provides for "open skies" between the two countries, and a U.S.-Jordan treaty for the protection and encouragement of bilateral investment entered into force in 2003. Jordan has been a member of the World Trade Organization since 2000. More information on the FTA is available on www.jordanusfta.com.

Jordan is classified by the World Bank as a "lower middle income country." The per capita GDP was approximately $1,817 for 2003 and 14.5% of the economically active population, on average, was unemployed in 2003. Education and literacy rates and measures of social well-being are relatively high compared to other countries with similar incomes. Jordan's population growth rate is high, but has declined in recent years, to approximately 2.8% currently. One of the most important factors in the government's efforts to improve the wellbeing of its citizens is the macroeconomic stability that has been achieved since the 1990s. Rates of price inflation are low, at 2.3% in 2003, and the currency has been stable with an exchange rate fixed to the U.S. dollar since 1995.

While pursuing economic reform and increased trade, Jordan's economy will continue to be vulnerable to external shocks and regional unrest. Without calm in the region, economic growth seems destined to stay below its potential.


FOREIGN RELATIONS

Jordan has consistently followed a pro-Western foreign policy and traditionally has had close relations with the United States and the United Kingdom. These relations were damaged by support in Jordan for Iraq during the first Gulf war. Although the Government of Jordan stated its opposition to the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait, popular support for Iraq was driven by Jordan's Palestinian community, which favored Saddam as a champion against Western supporters of Israel.

Following the first Gulf war, Jordan largely restored its relations with Western countries through its participation in the Middle East peace process and enforcement of UN sanctions against Iraq. Relations between Jordan and the Gulf countries improved substantially after King Hussein's death. Following the fall of the Iraqi regime, Jordan has played a pivotal role in supporting the restoration of stability and security to Iraq. The Government of Jordan signed a memorandum of understanding with the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq to facilitate the training of up to 30,000 Iraqi police cadets at a Jordanian facility.

Jordan signed a nonbelligerency agreement with Israel (the Washington Declaration) in Washington, DC, on July 25, 1994. Jordan and Israel signed a historic peace treaty on October 26, 1994, witnessed by President Clinton, accompanied by Secretary Christopher. The U.S. has participated with Jordan and Israel in trilateral development discussions in which key issues have been water-sharing and security; cooperation on Jordan Rift Valley development; infrastructure projects; and trade, finance, and banking issues. Jordan also participates in the multilateral peace talks. Jordan belongs to the UN and several of its specialized and related agencies, including the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Meteorological Organization (IMO), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and World Health Organization (WHO). Jordan also is a member of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), Nonaligned Movement, and Arab League.

Since the outbreak of the Intifadah in September 2000, Jordan has worked hard, in a variety of fora, to maintain lines of communication between the Israelis and the Palestinians to counsel moderation and to return the parties to negotiations of outstanding permanent status issues.


U.S.-JORDANIAN RELATIONS

Relations between the U.S. and Jordan have been close for four decades. A primary objective of U.S. policy has been the achievement of a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace in the Middle East.

U.S. policy seeks to reinforce Jordan's commitment to peace, stability, and moderation. The peace process and Jordan's opposition to terrorism parallel and indirectly assist wider U.S. interests. Accordingly, through economic and military assistance and through close political cooperation, the United States has helped Jordan maintain its stability and prosperity.

Since 1952, the United States has provided Jordan with economic assistance totaling more than $9 billion ($1.3 billion in loans and $7.7 billion in grants), including funds for development projects, health care, education, construction to increase water availability, support for microeconomic policy shifts toward a more completely free market system, and both grant and loan acquisition of U.S. agriculture commodities. These programs have been successful and have contributed to Jordanian stability while strengthening the bilateral relationship. U.S. military assistance – provision of material and training – is designed to meet Jordan's legitimate defense needs, including preservation of border integrity and regional stability.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

AMMAN (E) Address: P.O. Box 354, Amman 11118; APO/FPO: APO AE 09892; Phone: +(962) 6 590-6000; Fax: 962-6-592-0163 (Admin); Work-week: Sun-Thurs 0800-1700; Website: http://www.usembassyamman.og.jo

DCM:David Hale
DCM OMS:Virginia Baldwin
CG:Daniel Goodspeed
POL:Christopher Henzel
COM:Laurie Farris
CON:Dan Goodspeed
MGT:Perry Adair
AGR:Hala Khoury
AID:Anne Aarnes
APHIS:Hala Khoury
ATF:Robert Goodrich
ATO:Hala Khoury
CLO:Kathy M. Djahanbani & Gina MacLean
CUS:Greg Lawless
DAO:David MacLean
DEA:Robert Goodrich
ECO:Richard Eason
EEO:David Barth
EPA:John Whittlesey
EST:John Whittlesey
FAA:James Flowers
FAA/CASLO:James Flowers
FMO:Richard Boohaker
GSO:Victor E. Manley
ICASSChair:Anne Aarnes
IMO:Ernest R. Olivarez
IPO:Howard Copeland
ISO:Bryan R. Stahl
ISSO:William Densmore
LEGATT:Andre Khoury
NAS:John Whittlesey
PAO:Haynes R. Mahoney
RSO:Robert Goodrich
State ICASS:Haynes R. Mahoney
Last Updated: 9/21/2004

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet

February 4, 2005

Country Description: The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is a constitutional monarchy with a developing economy. While many aspects of Jordanian life are modern and the government is Western-oriented, Islamic ideals and beliefs provide the conservative foundation for of the country's customs, laws and practices. Tourist facilities are widely available, although quality may vary depending on price and location. The local workweek for Jordanian government offices and most businesses is Saturday through Thursday.

Entry/Exit Requirements: A passport and a visa are required. Visitors may obtain a visa for Jordan for a fee at most international ports of entry upon arrival except at the King Hussein/Allenby Bridge. For further information, travelers may contact the Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, 3504 International Drive, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 966-2664, Internet website www.jordanembassyus.org. Foreigners who wish to stay fourteen days or more in Jordan must register at a Jordanian police station by their fourteenth day in the country. Failure to do so subjects the traveler to a fine of one Jordanian dinar (approximately $1.40) per day of overstay. This fine is usually assessed at departure. See our Foreign Entry Requirements brochure for more information on Jordan and other countries. Visit the Embassy of Jordan web site at http://www.jordanembassyus.org/ for the most current visa information.

For information regarding Jordan's entry requirements for travelers coming from SARS-(Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) infected areas, please contact the nearest Jordanian Embassy or Consul ate or visit the U.S. Embassy's website at http://amman.usembassy.gov.

Safety and Security: The events of September 11, 2001 serve as a reminder of the continuing threat from transnational terrorists and extremist groups to Americans and American interests worldwide, and specifically in Jordan, where a U.S. diplomat was assassinated in October 2002.

Recent worldwide terrorist alerts have stated that extremist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks against U.S. interests in the region. Therefore, American and U.S. facilities, as well as sites frequented by Americans (including tourist spots, places of worship, residential areas, hotels, restaurants, and clubs), may be the target of terrorist groups. In light of these security concerns, U.S. citizens are urged to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness. Special sensitivity and caution should be exercised at religious sites, on holy days and the Friday Muslim sabbath. Modest attire should be worn in deference to local custom.

Since late 1999, there has been a series of serious, confirmed terrorist threats and disrupted terrorist plots targeting U.S. interests in Jordan. In April 2004, Jordanian authorities disrupted a plan to attack the U.S. Embassy and Jordanian leadership sites with explosive-laden vehicles. Anti-Western sentiment, though less pronounced since the end of the Gulf War, has been sparked by incidents within the region, particularly those related to Israeli/Palestinian issues and, to a lesser extent, Iraq.

The ongoing violence in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza continues to have an impact on the security climate in Jordan. Pro-Palestinian demonstrations have occurred periodically throughout Jordan since violence between Israelis and Palestinians broke out in September 2000. Anti-U.S. sentiments are often in evidence at demonstrations and protests. At such times, Americans should avoid traditional gathering places such as universities, refugee camps, and city centers.

Visitors to Jordan and U.S. citizens who reside in Jordan should maintain a strong security posture by being aware of surroundings, avoiding crowds and demonstrations, keeping a low profile, varying times and routes for all required travel, and contacting the U.S. Embassy in case of any change in the local security situation. In addition, U.S. citizens are also urged to avoid contact with any suspicious or unfamiliar objects and to report the presence of such objects to local authorities. Vehicles should be kept locked at all times. U.S. Government personnel overseas have been advised to take the same precautions. Suspicious activities, individuals, or vehicles should be reported to the U.S. Embassy.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Middle East and North Africa Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and other Public Announcements can be found. Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-317-472-2328. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

The Department of State urges American citizens to take responsibility for their own personal security while traveling overseas. For general information about appropriate measures travelers can take to protect themselves in an overseas environment, see the Department of State's pamphlet A Safe Trip Abroad.

Crime: Crime is generally not a serious problem for travelers in Jordan, but petty crime is prevalent in the downtown Amman Hashimiyah Square area and near the Roman Theater. In the narrow streets of the Old City, crowded conditions invite pickpockets and other petty criminals. It is safer to travel in groups when visiting the center of Amman. We urge travelers to be more guarded in these areas so that they do not present easy opportunities to criminals. Purse-snatchings in central and western Amman are reportedly on the increase. In several cases, thieves in moving vehicles snatched pedestrians' purses and drove off. In some instances, victims were injured when they were unable to free themselves from their purses. When carrying a purse, it would be wise to conceal it if possible, to avoid walking near the road within reach of passing vehicles, and to walk towards the flow of traffic.

Information for Victims of Crime: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and to U.S. Embassy. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance. The Embassy staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed. See our information on Victims of Crime at http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/emergencies/emergencies_1748.html.

Medical Facilities and Health Information: Basic modern medical care and medicines are available in the principal cities of Jordan, but not necessarily in outlying areas. Most hospitals in Jordan, especially Amman, are privately owned. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for services. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via the CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's (WHO) website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. Please see our information on medical insurance overseas.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Jordan is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Roads are particularly treacherous during the periods of rain, from December to March. Drivers and passengers are required to wear seat-belts and all cars must have a fire extinguisher and warning triangle in the vehicle. Child car seats are not required and generally are not available in Jordan. The police exercise strict enforcement of speed limits. Violators of speed limits may face fines up to $140.00. Police routinely pull over reckless drivers as well as those driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Licensed drivers must carry local third party insurance with sufficient coverage for accidents resulting in injury or death. Jordanian Public Safety officials estimate that two people are killed and fifty more are injured in 145 road accidents daily throughout the Kingdom.

Poor lighting and road conditions prevail, so extra caution must be exercised at all times, especially when driving at night. Highways are more crowded around the Muslim holidays, when many Jordanians return from their work in the Gulf States. Also, city driving in Amman is more hazardous in the summer months, when many Gulf residents visit Amman and drive using the customs of their country of origin. Jordan does not have restrictions on women driving and it is not unusual for women to drive alone.

The desert highway outside Aqaba, a popular tourist destination, is particularly dangerous because it is narrow, winding, steep and crowded with trucks. This area should be avoided at night, if possible. Also, when driving in both urban and rural areas, motorists should beware of livestock, including camels, sheep, and goats. Collisions between livestock and automobiles are common.

Land mines are often located within two miles of military installations and borders, including the popular Dead Sea area. Mine fields are usually fenced off and marked with signs carrying a skull and crossbones, but the fences and signs may be in poor repair or hard to see. Avoiding these areas reduces the risk of accidentally setting off a mine.

Jordan has bus and taxi services. Yellow taxis are generally safe for travel in the cities and use meters to determine fares. One may also rent a service car (or livery car) for longer trips, such as to Damascus, Jerusalem, Aqaba, or Petra. The service cars have a good reputation for road safety.

Emergencies should be referred to the Civil Defense Department at telephone number 199 (Jordan's equivalent to 911).

For information on driving regulations, please contact the Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, 3504 International Drive, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 966-2664, Internet website http://www.jordanembassyus.org.

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Jordan as being in compliance with ICAO international aviation safety standards for oversight of Jordan's air carrier operations. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA's internet web site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/index.cfm.

Special Circumstances: Travelers may contact the U.S. Embassy in Amman for the latest information on border crossing hours. Israel does not require advance visa issuance for U.S. citizens traveling on tourist passports at any crossing point. U.S. diplomatic and official passport holders are required to obtain an Israeli visa prior to entering Israel. Jordan issues visas at most international border crossings, except the King Hussein/Allenby Bridge. To cross into Jordan at the King Hussein/Allenby Bridge, U.S. citizens must already have either a visa for Jordan in their passports or have an entry permit from the Ministry of Interior. Both Jordan and Israel assess an exit tax for tourists at all border crossings. Note: "King Hussein" and "Allenby" denote the same crossing point, which is referred to by Jordan as the King Hussein Bridge and by Israel as the Allenby Bridge.

American citizens are subject to Jordanian laws while in Jordan. American citizens who also possess Jordanian nationality may also be subject to other laws that impose special obligations on Jordanian citizens.

Although no longer subject to immediate conscription, all U.S.-Jordanian dual national males under the age of 37 are required to register for service in the Jordanian military. Those subject to registration may be prevented from leaving Jordan until permission to do so is obtained from appropriate Jordanian authorities. This permission is often granted to U.S. citizens, but may take some time to obtain and is limited to a single trip.

Furthermore, the government of Jordan considers U.S.-Jordanian dual nationals as Jordanian citizens and sometimes may not notify the Embassy of arrests, detentions, or accidents involving dual nationals. For this reason, dual nationals in particular are encouraged to carry a copy of their U.S. passports with them at all times, so that, if questioned by local officials, evidence of identity and U.S. citizenship are readily available.

There have been isolated incidents of sexual harassment, assault and unwelcome advances of a sexual nature against Western women both visiting and residing in Jordan. These incidents, while troubling, are not pervasive. However, women are advised to use common sense and to take reasonable precautions: dress conservatively and do not travel alone. Under Jordanian law, husbands may prevent their wives and children from leaving Jordan by placing a hold on their travel with the Jordanian authorities. This is true even if the woman's sole nationality is American.

Islam is the state religion of Jordan. The Jordanian government does not interfere with public worship by the country's Christian minority. Although the majority of Christians are allowed to practice freely, activities such as proselytizing or encouraging conversion to the Christian faith are prohibited as they are considered legally incompatible with Islam. It is illegal for a Muslim to convert to Christianity. In the past, American citizens have been detained or arrested for discussing or trying to engage Jordanians in debate about Christianity. Furthermore, the U.S. Embassy is often not notified by Jordanian authorities when an American citizen has been arrested.

Jordanian customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Jordan of items such as drugs, firearms, poisons, chemicals, explosives and pornographic materials, among other items. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Jordan in Washington, D.C., or one of the Jordanian consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements.

The United States government is committed to providing full consular services to all American citizens. Due to circumstances beyond our control, however consular assistance may be limited in some cases. For instance, Jordanian officials often do not notify the U.S. Embassy when an American citizen is arrested or detained, particularly in the case of dual nationals.

U.S. citizens are encouraged to carry a copy of their U.S. passports with them at all times, so that, if questioned by local officials, proof of identity and U.S. citizenship are readily available. In accordance with Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, to which Jordan is a party, competent authorities in the host country must notify a consular post of the arrest of one of its citizens without delay. As stated previously, however, Jordanian authorities generally do not report arrests of dual nationals to the U.S. Embassy.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offences. Persons violating Jordanian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Jordan are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in illicit sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Children's Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children's Issues website at http://travel.state.gov/family/family_1732.html.

Registration/Embassy Location: Americans living or traveling in Jordan are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy through the State Department's travel registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Jordan. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the U.S. Embassy. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy in Amman is located on Al-Umayyaween Street, Abdoun, P.O. Box 354. The telephone number is [962](6) 590-6000 and the fax number is [962](6) 592-4102. The after-hours emergency telephone number is [962](6) 590-6000. The Internet website is http://amman.usembassy.gov. The U.S. Embassy is open Sunday through Thursday.

International Adoption

January 2005

The information below has been edited from a report of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Overseas Citizens Services. For more information, please read the International Adoption section of this book and review current reports online at www.travel.state.gov/family.

Disclaimer: The information in this circular relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is provided for general information only. Questions involving interpretation of specific foreign laws should be addressed to foreign legal counsel. Questions involving interpretation of U.S. immigration and orphan requirements should be addressed to the U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Availability of Children for Adoption: Jordanian government statistics reflect that seven Jordanian children were "adopted" by U.S. citizens between January 2000 and June 2003. As Islam is the official religion of Jordan, adoption procedures follow Islamic practice. Islam does not recognize the term "adoption," nor does it allow a child to take the family name of a non-biological parent, i.e., an ""adoptive" parent. Legally, all official parties use the terms "fostering" or "legal custody." In Jordan, these terms are used interchangeably with the non-Islamic term "adoption." Under Islam, no child may be put up for "adoption" if one or both parents or a relative, however distant, is known. Therefore, the only children available for adoption are those for whom there are no known relatives. An abandoned child, who is the responsibility of the Government of Jordan (GOJ), is placed and cared-for in an MSD (Ministry of Social Development) orphanage. Abandoned children are not available for "adoption."

Jordanian Adoption Authority: "Adoption" in Jordan falls under the purview of the Ministry of Social Development (MSD).

Ministry of Social Development
Family and Childhood Section / Fostering Program
P.O. Box 925379
Jabal Al Hussein
Amman, Jordan;
Fax 962-6-569-4953 or
962-6-569-4346

Age and Civil Status Requirements: By law, all adoptive parents must be Muslim and married for five or more years. The husband must be between 35 and 55 years of age and the wife must be between 30 and 50 years of age. Parents must be medically certified as infertile. They may have up to two children total, including adopted children. If the parents have one child already, then the adopted Jordanian child must be of the same sex. Parents who have previously adopted in Jordan must wait a minimum of two years before adopting another child of the same sex from Jordan. Single people cannot "adopt" children in Jordan.

Residency Requirements: There are no Jordanian residency requirements for prospective adoptive parents.

Time Frame: The MSD reports that adoptive parents can expect to wait an average of three months from the time they initiate contact with the MSD to when they are given custody of a child. Once a child has been identified, an IR-4 immigrant visa can be processed in a minimum of one week by the Embassy, though processing can run concurrently with the MSD procedure.

Adoption Agencies and Attorneys: There are no adoption agencies in Jordan. The Embassy maintains a list of numerous attorneys practicing in Jordan.

Country Fees: MSD does not charge any fees. However, adoptive parents can expect to pay fees for the baby's birth certificate, passport, and family book issuance. (A "Family Book" is a document issued by the Jordanian government to families, which contains biographical information about each member of the family.)

Jordanian Adoption Procedures: Regardless of nationality, all couples are required to apply to the MSD to qualify to become foster parents. The pre-qualification process is similar to those in most U.S. states. To begin this process, prospective adoptive parents are asked to submit a fostering request to the MSD.

Parents must submit the following documents as part of their request to "adopt": a copy of the marriage certificate, a copy of each parent's valid passport, and a "social study" (forms will be provided through the Jordanian Embassy). The parents' employer(s) must provide detailed information about their income, employment status, etc. Original doctor's reports about the health of the parents must also be provided, including medical proof of the parents' infertility. If either or both of the parents are converts to Islam, a copy of the conversion certificate must be provided. All of these documents must be translated into Arabic and certified by the Jordanian Embassy in Washington, which will forward them to the MSD (through the Foreign Ministry).

There are no court proceedings involved with adoption in Jordan. MSD is the only entity that grants "adoption." According to the precepts of Islam and the laws of Jordan governing the "adoption" of infants of unknown parentage, the "adoptive" parents are permitted to choose the first name of the child. The Ministry of Interior, Department of Civil Status chooses four fictitious names for the mother and father, which along with the child's first name are placed on the Jordanian birth certificate. Parents' names, which are chosen at random and do not identify with any common Jordanian family or tribal names, are required for issuance of a Jordanian birth certificate. The child, per Jordanian law, will carry the names of the fictitious father. Once a birth certificate has been issued, the child is also issued a Jordanian "Family Book" and a Jordanian Passport. At this point, the "adoptive" parents may petition for an immigrant visa for their child at the U.S. Embassy in Amman, Jordan.

Please review current reports online at travel.state.gov/family for more detailed information.

Documentary Requirements For Jordanian Adoption: The following documents are required:

  • Copies of the marriage certificate;
  • Copies of each parent's valid passport;
  • "social study" (forms will be provided through the Jordanian Embassy);
  • Employment letters;
  • Original health reports of both parents, including medical proof of the parents' infertility; and
  • If applicable, copy of the conversion certificate to Islam.

All of these documents must be translated into Arabic and certified by the Jordanian Embassy in Washington, which will forward them to the MSD (through the Foreign Ministry).

Authentication Process: All U.S. documents submitted to the Jordanian government, such as birth, death, and marriage certificates, must be authenticated. For additional information about authentication procedures, see the Judicial Assistance page of the Bureau of Consular Affairs Web site at http://travel.state.gov.

Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan:
3504 International Drive, NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
Phone: (202) 966-2664; Fax: (202) 966-3110

U.S. Immigration Requirements: A child adopted by a U.S. citizen must obtain an immigrant visa before he or she can enter the U.S. Please see the International Adoption section of this book for more details and review current reports online at travel.state.gov/family.

U.S. Embassy in Jordan: As soon as prospective adoptive parents arrive in Jordan, they should contact the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in order to register their presence in Jordan. The Consulate Section is located at:

U.S. Embassy in Amman
P.O. Box 354
Amman 11118 Jordan
Phone: 962-6-592-0101;
Fax: 962-6-592-4102
E-mail: [email protected]
Internet: http://amman.usembassy.gov/

Questions: Specific questions regarding adoption may be addressed to the Consular Section of a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad. Parents may also contact the Office of Children's Issues, U.S. Department of State, CA/OCS/CI, 2201 C Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20520-4818, toll-free tel: 1-888-404-4747 with specific questions.

International Parental Child Abduction

January 2005

The information below has been edited from the report of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Overseas Citizens Services. For more information, please read the International Parental Child Abduction section of this book and review current reports online at travel.state.gov

Disclaimer: The information in this circular relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is provided for general information only. Questions involving interpretation of specific foreign laws should be addressed to foreign counsel.

NOTE: The information contained in this flyer is intended as an introduction to the basic elements of children's issues in Jordan. It is not intended as a legal reference. Currently there are no international or bilateral treaties in force between Jordan and the United States dealing with international parental child abduction. The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction cannot be invoked if a child is taken from the United States to Jordan, or vice versa, by one parent against the wishes of the other parent or in violation of a U.S. custody order.

General Information: Jordanian laws regarding divorce and custody of minor children are adjudicated in religious courts. If the marriage partners are Muslim, disputes will be resolved before a Sharia court judge who will apply principles of Islamic law. In the case of Christians, the court will be an Ecclesiastical Court composed of clergymen from the appropriate religious community. For Christians, the law will be derived from principles governing family status in the Greek Orthodox Church, Roman Catholic Church or other Christian denominations.

Child Custody Law: In both theory and practice, Muslim and Christian courts in Jordan differ very little in how they resolve disputes over the custody of children of divorced or separated parents. The relevant laws all give priority for custodianship to the mother as long as certain restrictive conditions are met. In Muslim courts, this right of custody extends to the natural mother until the children reach 18 years of age. In cases where custody of small children is granted to a woman other than the mother, custody reverts to the father when a boy reaches age nine and a girl reaches age eleven. Christian courts will generally award custody to the mother until the children come of age.

In actual practice, the conditions placed on the mother's primary right to custody often enable the father to maintain a great deal of influence on the rearing of the children even though he may not have legal custody. For example, travel restrictions exist in Jordan. The mother must seek the father's approval to travel with the children. Frequently, he is actually able to assume legal custody against the wishes of the mother, when she is unable or unwilling to meet the conditions set by law for her to maintain her right to custody of the children.

A mother can lose her primary right to custody of a child in a number of ways. The court can determine that she is incapable of safeguarding the child or of bringing the child up in accordance with the appropriate religious standards.

The mother can void her right to custody by re-marrying or by residing in a home with people that might be "strangers" to the child. The mother may not deny visitation rights to the father or the paternal grandfather and may not travel outside Jordan with the child without their approval and the approval of the court. In general, a Jordanian man divorcing his non-Jordanian wife will be awarded legal custody of their children by showing that any of the above conditions may not be met to the satisfaction of the court.

Right of Visitation: In cases where the father has custody of a child, the mother is guaranteed visitation rights. It has been the experience of the Embassy in Amman that the father and the paternal grandparents of the child are generally very open and accommodating in facilitating the right of the mother to visit and maintain contact with the child.

Enforcement of Foreign Orders: Custody orders and judgments of foreign courts are not enforceable in Jordan if they potentially contradict or violate local laws and practices. For example, an order from a U.S. court granting custody to an American mother will not be honored in Jordan if the mother intends to take the child to the United States and live outside of Jordan. Nor will Jordanian courts enforce a U.S. court decree ordering a parent in Jordan to pay for child support since Jordanian law states that the parent with custody is responsible for providing financial support for the child.

views updated

Jordan

Compiled from the October 2006 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:
Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

PROFILE

PEOPLE

HISTORY

GOVERNMENT

POLITICAL CONDITIONS

ECONOMY

FOREIGN RELATIONS

U.S.-JORDANIAN RELATIONS

TRAVEL

PROFILE

Geography

Area: 89,342 sq. km. (34,495 sq. mi.).

Cities: Capital—Amman (pop. 1.9 million). Other cities—Irbid (272,681), Az-Zarqa (472,830).

People

Nationality: Noun and adjective—Jordanian(s).

Population: (2005 published) 5.47 million.

Religions: (est.) Sunni Muslim 95%, Christian 4%, Other 1%.

Languages: Arabic (official), English.

Education: (2001) Literacy—90%.

Health: (2003) Infant mortality rate—19/1,000. Life expectancy—71 yrs.

Ethnic groups: Mostly Arab but small communities of Circassians, Armenians, and Kurds.

Work force: (1. 3 million, of which 260 thousand are registered guest workers) public sector 17%, services 36%, manufacturing 20%, education 12%, health and social services 10%, primary industries 5%.

Unemployment rate: 14.3% of economically active Jordanians (average of first 9 months of 2006).

Government

Type: Constitutional monarchy.

Independence: May 25, 1946.

Constitution: January 8, 1952.

Government branches: Executive—King (chief of state), Prime Minister (head of government), Council of Ministers (cabinet). Legislative—bicameral National Assembly (appointed Senate, elected Chamber of Deputies). Judicial—civil, religious, special courts.

Political parties: Wide spectrum of parties legalized in 1992.

Suffrage: Universal at 18.

Political subdivisions: Twelve governorates—Irbid, Jarash, Ajloun, al’Aqaba, Madaba, al-Mafraq, alZarqa, Amman, al-Balqa, al-Karak, al-Tafilah, and Ma’an.

Economy

GDP: (2005 nominal) $12.712 billion.

Annual growth rate: (2005) 7.2%.

Per capita GDP: (2005) $2,326

Natural resources: Phosphate, potash.

Agriculture: Products—fruits, vegetables, wheat, olive oil, barley, olives. Land—10% arable; 5% cultivated.

Industry: (28.3% of GDP in first half 2006) Types—phosphate mining, manufacturing, electricity and water; cement and petroleum production, and construction.

Trade: Exports—(2005) $3.609 billion; (Jan-June 2006) $1.96 billion: phosphates, potash, textiles and garments, fertilizers, pharmaceutical products, agricultural products. Major markets—U.S., Iraq, India, Saudi Arabia, U.A.E., Israel. Imports—(2005) $10.46 billion; (Jan-June 2006) $5.63 billion: crude petroleum and derivatives, vehicles, machinery and equipment, cereals, fabrics and textiles. Major suppliers—Saudi Arabia (mainly crude oil and derivatives), EU, China, U.S.

Note: From 1949 to 1967, Jordan administered the West Bank. Since the 1967 war, when Israel took control of this territory, the United States has considered the West Bank to be territory occupied by Israel. The United States believes that the final status of the West Bank can be determined only through negotiations among the concerned parties based on UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.

PEOPLE

Jordanians are Arabs, except for a few small communities of Circassians, Armenians, and Kurds who have adapted to Arab culture. The official language is Arabic, but English is used widely in commerce and government. About 70% of Jordan’s population is urban; less than 6% of the rural population is nomadic or semi-nomadic. Most of the population lives where rainfall can support agriculture. Approximately 1.7 million registered Palestinian refugees and other displaced persons reside in Jordan, many as citizens.

HISTORY

The land that became Jordan is part of the richly historical Fertile Crescent region. Around 2000 B.C., Semitic Amorites settled around the Jordan River in the area called Canaan. Subsequent invaders and settlers included Hittites, Egyptians, Israelites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Arab Muslims, Christian Crusaders, Mameluks, Ottoman Turks, and, finally, the British. At the end of World War I, the League of Nations awarded the territory now comprising Israel, Jordan, the West Bank, Gaza, and Jerusalem to the United Kingdom as the mandate for Palestine and Transjordan.

In 1922, the British divided the mandate by establishing the semiautonomous Emirate of Transjordan, ruled by the Hashemite Prince Abdullah, while continuing the administration of Palestine under a British High Commissioner. The mandate over Transjordan ended on May 22, 1946; on May 25, the country became the independent Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan. It ended its special defense treaty relationship with the United Kingdom in 1957.

Transjordan was one of the Arab states which moved to assist Palestinian nationalists opposed to the creation of Israel in May 1948, and took part in the warfare between the Arab states and the newly founded State of Israel. The armistice agreements of April 3, 1949 left Jordan in control of the West Bank and provided that the armistice demarcation lines were without prejudice to future territorial settlements or boundary lines.

In 1950, the country was renamed the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to include those portions of Palestine annexed by King Abdullah I. While recognizing Jordanian administration over the West Bank, the United States maintained the position that ultimate sovereignty was subject to future agreement.

Jordan signed a mutual defense pact in May 1967 with Egypt, and it participated in the June 1967 war between Israel and the Arab states of Syria, Egypt, and Iraq. During the war, Israel gained control of the West Bank and all of Jerusalem. In 1988, Jordan renounced all claims to the West Bank but retained an administrative role pending a final settlement, and its 1994 treaty with Israel allowed for a continuing Jordanian role in Muslim holy places in Jerusalem. The U.S. Government considers the West Bank to be territory occupied by Israel and believes that its final status should be determined through direct negotiations among the parties concerned on the basis of UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.

The 1967 war led to a dramatic increase in the number of Palestinians living in Jordan. Its Palestinian refugee population—700,000 in 1966—grew by another 300,000 from the West Bank. The period following the 1967 war saw an upsurge in the power and importance of Palestinian resistance elements (fedayeen) in Jordan. The heavily armed fedayeen constituted a growing threat to the sovereignty and security of the Hashemite state, and open fighting erupted in June 1970.

No fighting occurred along the 1967 Jordan River ceasefire line during the October 1973 Arab-Israeli war, but Jordan sent a brigade to Syria to fight Israeli units on Syrian territory. Jordan did not participate in the Gulf war of 1990-91. In 1991, Jordan agreed, along with Syria, Lebanon, and Palestinian representatives, to participate in direct peace negotiations with Israel sponsored by the U.S. and Russia. It negotiated an end to hostilities with Israel and signed a peace treaty in 1994. Jordan has since sought to remain at peace with all of its neighbors.

GOVERNMENT

Jordan is a constitutional monarchy based on the constitution promulgated on January 8, 1952. Executive authority is vested in the King and his Council of Ministers. The King signs and executes all laws. His veto power may be overridden by a two-thirds vote of both houses of the National Assembly. He appoints and may dismiss all judges by decree, approves amendments to the constitution, declares war, and commands the armed forces. Cabinet decisions, court judgments, and the national currency are issued in his name. The King, who may dismiss other cabinet members at the prime minister’s request, appoints the council of ministers, led by a prime minister. The cabinet is responsible to the Chamber of Deputies on matters of general policy and can be forced to resign by a two-thirds vote of “no confidence” by that body.

Legislative power rests in the bicameral National Assembly. The number of deputies in the current Chamber of Deputies is 110, with a number of seats reserved for various religions, ethnicities, and women. The Chamber, elected by universal suffrage to a 4-year term, is subject to dissolution by the King. The King appoints the 55-member Senate for a 4-year term.

The constitution provides for three categories of courts—civil, religious, and special. Administratively, Jordan is divided into 12 governorates, each headed by a governor appointed by the King. They are the sole authorities for all government departments and development projects in their respective areas.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 12/8/2006

King: ABDALLAH II

Prime Minister: Marouf al-BAKHIT

Deputy Prime Minister: Ziad FARIZ

Min. of Agriculture: Mustafa QURUNFILAH

Min. of Awqaf & Islamic Affairs: Abdul Fatah SALAH

Min. of Culture: Adel TOWEISI

Min. of Defense: Marouf Suleiman BAKHIT

Min. of Education: Khaled TOUQAN

Min. of Energy & Mineral Resources: Khalid SHREIDAH

Min. of the Environment: Khalid Al IRANI

Min. of Finance: Ziad FAREIZ

Min. of Foreign Affairs: Abdelelah AlKHATIB

Min. of Health: Saad Al KHARABSHEH

Min. of Higher Education & Scientific Research: Khaled TOUQAN

Min. of Industry & Trade: Salim KHAZAILAH

Min. of Interior: Eid Al FAYEZ

Min. of Justice: Sharif Al ZUBI

Min. of Labor: Bassem Al SALEM

Min. of Municipal Affairs: Nader THERAT

Min. of Planning & International Cooperation: Suhair Al ALI

Min. of Political Development: Muhammad Al OURAN

Min. of Public Sector Reform: Muhammad THUNEIBAT

Min. of Public Works & Housing: Husni ABU GHEIDA

Min. of Social Development: Seleiman TARAWNEH

Min. of Telecommunications & Information Technology: Basim Al ROUSAN

Min. of Tourism & Antiquities: Osama Al DABBAS

Min. of Transportation: Saud NSEIRAT

Min. of Water & Irrigation: Mohamad Thafer Al ALEM

Min. of State for Developing Public Sector: Salem KHAZALEH

Min. of State for Legal Affairs: Kahlid AlZUBI

Min. of State for Parliamentary Affairs: Muhammad THUNEIBAT

Min. of State for Prime-Ministerial Affairs: Muhidin TOUQ

Governor, Central Bank of Jordan: Umayya TOUKAN

Ambassador to the US: Karim Tawfiq KAWAR

Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: ZEID Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein, Prince

Jordan maintains an embassy in the United States at 3504 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-966-2664).

POLITICAL CONDITIONS

King Hussein ruled Jordan from 1953 to 1999, surviving a number of challenges to his rule, drawing on the loyalty of his military, and serving as a symbol of unity and stability for both the East Bank and Palestinian communities in Jordan. In 1989 and 1993, Jordan held free and fair parliamentary elections. Controversial changes in the election law led Islam-ist parties to boycott the 1997 elections. King Hussein ended martial law in 1991 and legalized political parties in 1992.

King Abdullah II succeeded his father Hussein following the latter’s death in February 1999. Abdullah moved quickly to reaffirm Jordan’s peace treaty with Israel and its relations with the U.S. Abdullah, during his first year in power, refocused the government’s agenda on economic reform.

Jordan’s continuing structural economic difficulties, burgeoning population, and more open political environment led to the emergence of a variety of political parties. Moving toward greater independence, Jordan’s Parliament has investigated corruption charges against several regime figures and has become the major forum in which differing political views, including those of political Islamists, are expressed. In June 2001, the King dissolved Parliament. Parliamentary elections were held in June 2003 and municipal elections were held in July 2003. The King appointed the current Prime Minister, Marouf Bakhit, in December, 2005. Bakhit and his cabinet have set as their goal the continued legislative implementation of a ten-year reform plan, known as the National Agenda, drafted by a royal commission in 2005. The King also charged the new cabinet with strengthening Jordan’s security following the November, 2005 suicide hotel bombings in Amman that killed 60.

ECONOMY

Jordan is a small country with limited natural resources. The country is currently exploring ways to expand its limited water supply and use its existing water resources more efficiently, including through regional cooperation. Jordan also depends on external sources for the majority of its energy requirements. During the 1990s, its crude petroleum needs were met through imports from neighboring Iraq. Since early 2003, oil has been provided by some Gulf Cooperation Council member countries. In September 2006, Jordan reached an agreement with Iraq to resume imports of crude oil; this should start some time in the fourth quarter of 2006. In addition, a natural gas pipeline from Egypt to Jordan through the southern port city of Aqaba is now operational. The pipeline has reached northern Jordan and construction to connect it to Syria and beyond is underway.

Under the reign of King Abdullah, Jordan has undertaken a program of economic reform, Recently, the government has taken the initiative to gradually eliminate fuel subsidies by April 2007, pass legislation targeting corruption, and begin tax reform. It has also worked to liberalize trade, gaining access to the WTO in 2000, signing an Association Agreement with the EU in 2001, and securing the first bilateral Free Trade Agreement between the U.S. and an Arab country in 2001. Since 2000, exports of light manufactured products, principally textiles and garments manufactured in the Qualifying Industrial Zones (QIZ) that enter the United States tariff and quota free, have been driving economic growth. Jordan exported $6.9 million in goods to the U.S. in 1997, when two-way trade was $395 million; it exported $1.1 billion in 2005 and $574 million in the first six months of 2006, with twoway trade at almost $1.7 billion and $850 million respectively.

The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States that went into effect in December 2001 will phase out duties on nearly all goods and services by 2010. The agreement also provides for more open markets in communications, construction, finance, health, transportation, and services, as well as strict application of international standards for the protection of intellectual property. In 1996, Jordan and the United States signed a civil aviation agreement that provides for “open skies” between the two countries, and a U.S.-Jordan treaty for the protection and encouragement of bilateral investment entered into force in 2003. More information on the FTA is available on www.jordanusfta.com.

Such developments hold considerable promise for diversifying Jordan’s economy away from its traditional reliance on exports of phosphates and potash, overseas remittances, and foreign aid. The government has emphasized the information technology (IT) and tourism sectors as other promising growth sectors. The low tax and low regulation Aqaba Special Economic Zone (ASEZ) is considered a model of a government-provided framework for private sector-led economic growth.

Jordan is classified by the World Bank as a “lower middle income country.” The per capita GDP, as reported by the IMF, was $2,317 for 2005, and 14.8% of the economically active population was unemployed at the end of 2005. Education and literacy rates and measures of social well-being are relatively high compared to other countries with similar incomes. Jordan’s population growth rate has declined in recent years and is currently 2.3% as reported by the Jordanian government. One of the most important factors in the government’s efforts to improve the well-being of its citizens is the macroeconomic stability that has been achieved since the 1990s. Rates of price inflation are expected to increase considerably this year and to exceed 6.5%; the currency has been stable with an exchange rate fixed to the U.S. dollar since 1995 at JD 0.708-0.710 to the dollar.

While pursuing economic reform and increased trade, Jordan’s economy will continue to be vulnerable to external shocks and regional unrest. Without calm in the region, economic growth seems destined to stay below its potential.

FOREIGN RELATIONS

Jordan has consistently followed a pro-Western foreign policy and traditionally has had close relations with the United States. These relations were damaged by support in Jordan for Iraq during the first Gulf war. Although the Government of Jordan stated its opposition to the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait, popular support for Iraq was driven by Jordan’s Palestinian community, which favored Saddam as a champion against Western supporters of Israel.

Following the first Gulf war, Jordan largely restored its relations with Western countries through its participation in the Middle East peace process and enforcement of UN sanctions against Iraq. Relations between Jordan and the Gulf countries improved substantially after King Hussein’s death. Following the fall of the Iraqi regime, Jordan has played a pivotal role in supporting the restoration of stability and security to Iraq. The Government of Jordan has facilitated the training of over 20,000 Iraqi police cadets at a Jordanian facility near Amman.

Jordan signed a nonbelligerency agreement with Israel (the Washington Declaration) in Washington, DC, on July 25, 1994. Jordan and Israel signed a historic peace treaty on October 26, 1994, witnessed by President Clinton, accompanied by Secretary Christopher. The U.S. has participated with Jordan and Israel in trilateral development discussions in which key issues have been water-sharing and security; cooperation on Jordan Rift Valley development; infrastructure projects; and trade, finance, and banking issues. Jordan also participates in multilateral peace talks. Jordan belongs to the UN and several of its specialized and related agencies, including the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Meteorological Organization (IMO), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and World Health Organization (WHO). Jordan also is a member of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), Nonaligned Movement, and Arab League.

Since the outbreak of the Intifada in September 2000, Jordan has worked to maintain lines of communication between the Israelis and the Palestinians to counsel moderation and to return the parties to negotiations of outstanding permanent status issues.

During summer 2006, Jordan provided considerable relief supplies to Lebanon and has supported U.S. efforts to generate international security assistance for Lebanese national forces.

U.S.-JORDANIAN RELATIONS

Relations between the U.S. and Jordan have been close for over four decades. A primary objective of U.S. policy has been the achievement of a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace in the Middle East.

U.S. policy seeks to reinforce Jordan’s commitment to peace, stability, and moderation. The peace process and Jordan’s opposition to terrorism parallel and indirectly assist wider U.S. interests. Accordingly, through economic and military assistance and through close political cooperation, the United States has helped Jordan maintain its stability and prosperity.

Since 1952, the United States has provided Jordan with economic assistance totaling more than $9 billion ($1.3 billion in loans and $7.7 billion in grants), including funds for development projects, health care, education, construction to increase water availability, support for microeconomic policy shifts toward a more completely free market system, and both grant and loan acquisition of U.S. agriculture commodities. These programs have been successful and have contributed to Jordanian stability while strengthening the bilateral relationship. U.S. military assistance—provision of material and training—is designed to meet Jordan’s legitimate defense needs, including preservation of border integrity and regional stability.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

AMMAN (E) Address: Al-Omawyeen Street, Abdoun, Amman, Jordan 11118; APO/FPO: APO AE 09892; Phone: +(962) 6 590-6000; Fax: 962-6-592-0163 (Admin); Workweek: Sun-Thurs 0800-1630; Website: http://www.usembassy-amman.og.jo.

AMB:David Hale
AMB OMS:Virginia Baldwin
DCM:Daniel Rubinstein
DCM OMS:Donna Lieberson
CG:Rena Bitter
CG OMS:Julie Mekhail
PO:Christopher Henzel
POL:Christopher Henzel
COM:Laurie Farris
CON:Rena Bitter
MGT:Perry Adair
AFSA:Delaram Cavey
AGR:Mohammad Khraishy
AID:Anne Aarnes
APHIS:Mohammad Khraishy
ATF:Robert Goodrich
ATO:Mohammad Khraishy
CLO:Cherie Steinkampf & Dee Dee Zigler
DAO:Robert Faille
DEA:Robert Goodrich
ECO:Richard Eason
EEO:Cecilia Blue
EPA:John Whittlesey
EST:John Whittlesey
FAA:Vinay Chawla
FAA/CASLO:Vinay Chawla
FMO:Karen McCarthy
GSO:Tom Palmer
IMO:Howard Copeland
IPO:Joseph Rizcallah
ISO:Cecilia Blue
ISSO:Tacla Boohaker
LEGATT:Bryan Finnegan
NAS:John Whittlesey
PAO:Philip Frayne
RSO:Robert Goodrich
State ICASS:Richard Eason

Last Updated: 9/13/2006

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet : November 15, 2006

Country Description: The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is a constitutional monarchy with a developing economy and a modern infrastructure. Western culture features prominently in the lives of many Jordanians; however, at the same time, Islamic ideals and beliefs provide the conservative foundation for the country’s customs, laws and practices. Tourist facilities are widely available, although quality may vary depending on price and location.

Entry/Exit Requirements: A passport and a visa are required. Jordan issues visas for a fee at most international ports of entry upon arrival, and at most international border crossings, except at the crossing known in Jordan as the King Hussein Bridge (this same crossing is known in Israel as the Allenby Bridge). To cross into Jordan at the King Hussein/Allenby Bridge, U.S. citizens must already have either a visa for Jordan in their passports or have an entry permit from the Ministry of Interior.

For further information, travelers may contact the Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, 3504 International Drive, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 966-2664, Internet website www.jordanembassyus.org, or one of the Jordanian Honorary Consulates in Detroit, MI., Chicago, IL., or San Francisco, CA. Foreigners who wish to stay thirty days or more in Jordan must register at a Jordanian police station by their thirtieth day in the country. For stays of six months or more police will require that an AIDS test be performed at a government medical facility. Failure to properly register subjects the traveler to a fine of 1.5 Jordanian dinar (approximately $2.10) per day of overstay. This fine is usually assessed at departure. See our Foreign Entry Requirements brochure for more information on Jordan and other countries. Visit the Embassy of Jordan web site at http://www.jordanembassyus.org for the most current visa information.

Safety and Security: The threat of terrorism remains high in Jordan. Transnational terrorist groups, as well as less sophisticated local elements, have demonstrated the capability to pose threats in Jordan. The Al-Qaida in Iraq network in particular continues to focus its terrorist activities against U.S. and Government of Jordan (GOJ) targets in Jordan. The Al-Qaida in Iraq network claimed responsibility for the November 9, 2005 bombings of three international hotels in Amman, which killed 60 people and injured over 100. Pedestrian suicide bombers wearing explosive vests carried the bombs into the hotels. Al-Qaida in Iraq also claimed responsibility for the Aqaba rocket attacks on August 19, 2005, which killed one Jordanian soldier and wounded another. The assassination of American diplomat Larry Foley outside his west Amman residence on October 28, 2002 was also attributed to Al-Qaida in Iraq leader Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, who was killed in Iraq in June 2006.

In addition, there has been a series of serious, confirmed terrorist threats and disrupted terrorist plots targeting U.S. or Jordanian interests in Jordan. In February 2006, the Government of Jordan (GOJ) disrupted a terrorist cell plotting to attack Queen Alia International Airport. In November 2005, the GOJ indicted six men for planning to carry out attacks against Americans at hotels and bars in Amman and Aqaba. In August-September 2005, four militants were arrested for plotting assassinations of Americans in Jordan. In July 2005, GOJ authorities arrested 17 men who had planned to assassinate GOJ officials and Americans in Jordan; the group was reportedly linked to Al-Qaida in Iraq. In February 2005, four men were arrested for plotting attacks against GOJ officials, tourists and five-star hotels. In the same month, another four-man group was disrupted while plotting to attack liquor stores in Amman and foreign tourists in Aqaba.

Terrorists often do not distinguish between U.S. government personnel and private citizens. Terrorists may target areas frequented by Westerners, such as tourist sites, hotels, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, liquor stores, transportation hubs, places of worship, expatriate residential areas, and schools. In light of these security concerns, U.S. citizens are urged to maintain a high level of vigilance, to be aware of their surroundings, and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness. It is especially important for travelers to be unpredictable by varying their times and routes and to maintain a low profile. Moreover, U.S. citizens are urged to avoid contact with any suspicious or unfamiliar objects and to immediately report the presence of such objects to the authorities. U.S. Government personnel overseas have been advised to take the same precautions.

Anti-American and anti-Western sentiment exists in Jordan and has been sparked on occasion by incidents in the region, particularly those related to Israeli/Palestinian issues and, to a lesser extent, Iraq. This may lead to random acts of violence against Westerners. On September 4, 2006, a gunman fired on foreigners at a popular tourist site in central Amman, killing one and injuring six.

Travelers are advised to avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings of people. Many demonstrations occur near mosques after Friday prayers. Consequently, special sensitivity and caution should be exercised at or near mosques and religious sites during holy days and the Friday Muslim Sabbath. Demonstrations also often take place at universities and refugee camps.

U.S. citizens are advised to increase their vigilance as they approach the border area with Iraq. In October 2006, July 2005 and December 2004, Iraq-based terrorists targeted the Jordan/Iraq border crossing with vehicle bombs. The Department of State advises against travel into Iraq; see the Travel Warning and Consular Information Sheet for Iraq for further information.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department’s Internet web site, where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Middle East and North Africa Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and other Public Announcements can be found. Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

The Department of State urges American citizens to take responsibility for their personal security while traveling overseas. For general information about appropriate measures travelers can take to protect themselves in an overseas environment, see the Department of State’s pamphlet A Safe Trip Abroad.

Crime: Crime is generally not a serious problem for travelers in Jordan, but petty crime is prevalent in the downtown Amman Hashimiyah Square area and near the Roman Amphitheater. In the narrow streets of the older parts of the city center, crowded conditions invite pickpockets and other petty criminals. Travelers are urged to be more guarded in these areas so that they do not present easy opportunities for criminals.

In central and west Amman, there have been reports of thieves snatching pedestrians’ purses from moving vehicles and then driving off. In some instances, victims were injured when they were unable to free themselves from their purses. When carrying a purse, it would be wise to conceal it if possible, to avoid walking near the road within reach of passing vehicles, and to walk against the flow of traffic.

Jordanian police have warned the public to exercise vigilance when leaving banks or ATM machines, as thieves have reportedly preyed upon persons soon after using these services.

Western women both visiting and residing in Jordan report sexual harassment and unwelcome advances of a sexual nature; there have been isolated reports of assault. Women are advised to take reasonable precautions including dressing conservatively and not traveling alone. Modest attire should be worn in deference to local custom.

Information for Victims of Crime:

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and to the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting it to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and to explain how funds may be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed. See our information on Victims of Crime.

Medical Facilities and Health Information: Basic modern medical care and medicines are available in the principal cities of Jordan, but not necessarily in outlying areas. Most hospitals in Jordan, especially Amman, are privately owned. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for services. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); or via the CDC’s Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization’s (WHO) website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

Avian Influenza: The Jordanian Ministry of Health confirmed four cases of H5N1 Avian Influenza in poultry on March 24, 2006, on a small farm near Ajloun and has announced that an Egyptian male, who entered Jordan via ferry at Aqaba on March 27, 2006, was confirmed to have H5N1. Travelers to Jordan and other countries affected by the virus are cautioned to avoid poultry farms, contact with animals in live food markets, and any surfaces that appear to be contaminated with feces from poultry or other animals. In addition, the CDC and WHO recommend eating only fully cooked poultry and eggs. For the most current information and links on avian influenza in Jordan, see the State Department’s Avian Influenza Fact Sheet or visit the website of the U.S. Embassy in Jordan.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. Please see our information on medical insurance overseas.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States.

Jordanian Public Safety officials estimate that, on average, two people are killed and fifty more are injured in 145 road accidents daily throughout the Kingdom. Roads are particularly treacherous during the rainy season, from December to March. Drivers and passengers are required to wear seatbelts and all cars must have a fire extinguisher and warning triangle in the vehicle. Child car seats are not required. Violators of speed limits may face fines up to $140. Police routinely pull over reckless drivers as well as those driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Licensed drivers must carry local third party insurance with sufficient coverage for accidents resulting in injury or death.

Poor lighting and road conditions prevail, so extra caution must be exercised at all times, especially when driving at night. Highways are more crowded around the Muslim holidays, when many Jordanians return from their work in the Gulf States. City driving in Amman is more hazardous in the summer months, when many Gulf residents visit Amman and drive using the customs of their countries of origin. Jordan does not have restrictions on women driving and it is not unusual for women to drive alone.

The desert highway outside Aqaba, a popular tourist destination, is particularly dangerous because it is narrow, winding, steep and crowded with trucks. This area should be avoided at night, if possible. Also, when driving in both urban and rural areas, motorists should beware of livestock, including camels, sheep, and goats. Collisions between livestock and automobiles are common.

Landmines are often located within two miles of military installations and borders, including the popular Dead Sea area. Minefields are usually fenced off and marked with skull-and-crossbones notices, but the fences and signs may be in poor repair or hard to see. Avoiding these areas reduces the risk of accidentally setting off a mine.

Jordan has bus and taxi services. Yellow taxis are generally safe for travel in the cities and use meters to determine fares. One may also rent a service car (or livery car) for longer trips, such as to Damascus, Jerusalem, Aqaba, or Petra. The service cars have a good reputation for road safety. Although bus travel within Jordan is reportedly not a problem, the Embassy has advised its personnel to refrain from using public buses due to general safety and security concerns.

Jordanian security authorities often establish checkpoints, especially on roads leading to popular tourist destinations, where drivers are expected to stop and present their identity documents. All drivers should stop when directed to do so and comply with the instructions provided to them by the authorities.

Emergencies should be referred to the Civil Defense Department at telephone number 199 (Jordan’s equivalent to 911). For information on driving regulations, please contact the Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, 3504 International Drive, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 966-2664, Internet website http://www.jordanembassyus.org.

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Jordan as being in compliance with ICAO international aviation safety standards for oversight of Jordan’s air carrier operations. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA’s website at http://www.faa.gov.

Special Circumstances: Under Jordanian law any male relative may prevent a woman or child from leaving Jordan by placing a hold on their travel with the Jordanian authorities. This is true even if the child or woman’s sole nationality is American. Jordanian authorities will consider these disputes domestic matters and the embassy may be limited in its ability to intervene. Please see section on Children’s Issues.

American citizens are subject to Jordanian laws while in Jordan. American citizens who also possess Jordanian nationality may also be subject to other laws that impose special obligations on Jordanian citizens. Although no longer subject to immediate conscription, all U.S.-Jordanian dual national males under the age of 37 are required to register for service in the Jordanian military. Those subject to registration may be prevented from departing Jordan until permission to depart is obtained from appropriate Jordanian authorities. This permission is often granted to U.S. citizens, but may take some time to obtain and is limited to a single trip.

Furthermore, the Government of Jordan treats U.S.-Jordanian dual nationals as Jordanian citizens and may not always notify the Embassy of arrests, detentions, or accidents involving dual nationals. For this reason, dual nationals in particular are encouraged to carry a copy of their U.S. passports with them at all times, so that if questioned by local officials, evidence of identity and U.S. citizenship is readily available.

Islam is the state religion of Jordan. The Jordanian government does not interfere with public worship by the country’s Christian minority. Although the majority of Christians are allowed to practice their faith freely, activities such as proselytizing or encouraging conversion to the Christian faith are prohibited, as they are considered legally incompatible with Islam. It is illegal for a Muslim to convert to Christianity. In the past, American citizens have been detained or arrested for discussing or trying to engage Jordanians in debate about Christianity.

Jordanian customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Jordan of items such as drugs, firearms, poisons, chemicals, explosives and pornographic materials, among other items. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Jordan in Washington, D.C. or one of the Jordanian consulates in the United States, for specific information regarding customs requirements. The United States Government is committed to providing the full range of consular services to all American citizens.

Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, to which Jordan is a party, provides that competent authorities in the host country must notify a consular post of the arrest of one of its citizens without delay. However, Jordanian officials often do not notify the U.S. Embassy when an American citizen is arrested or detained. The local workweek for Jordanian government offices and most businesses is Sunday through Thursday.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country’s laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Jordanian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Jordan are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Children’s Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children’s Issues website at http://travel.state.gov/family/family_1732.html.

Registration/Embassy Location: Americans living or traveling in Jordan are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department’s travel registration website and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Jordan. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy in Amman is located on Al- Umayyaween Street, Abdoun, P.O. Box 354, Amman 11118. The telephone number is [962](6) 590-6000 and the fax number is [962](6) 592-4102. The after-hours emergency telephone number is [962](6) 590-6000. The Internet website is http://amman.usembassy.gov. The U.S. Embassy is open Sunday through Thursday.

International Adoption : January 2007

The information below has been edited from a report of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Overseas Citizens Services. For more information, please read the International Adoption section of this book and review current reports online at www.travel.state.gov/family.

Disclaimer: The information in this flyer relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is based on public sources and current understanding. Questions involving foreign and U.S. immigration laws and legal interpretation should be addressed respectively to qualified foreign or U.S. legal counsel.

Please Note: Jordanian law stipulates that all prospective adopting parents MUST be Muslim, married for five or more years and certified as infertile in order to adopt in Jordan.

In addition, Jordanian law does not allow for full adoptions of Jordanian children. Americans considering adoption of Jordanian children must obtain guardianship from a Jordanian court and subsequently adopt the child in the United States.

Patterns of Immigration: Please review current reports online at www.travel.state.gov/family.

Adoption Authority: “Adoption” in Jordan falls under the purview of the Ministry of Social Development (MSD).

Ministry of Social
Development (MSD)
Family and Childhood
Section/Fostering Program
P.O. Box 925379
Jabal Al Hussein
Amman, Jordan
Fax 962-6-569-4953
or 962-6-569-4346

Eligibility Requirements for Adoptive Parents: By law, all adoptive parents must be Muslim and married for five or more years. The husband must be between 35 and 55 years of age and the wife must be between 30 and 50 years of age. Parents must be medically certified as infertile. They may have up to two children total, including adopted children. If the parents have one child already, then the adopted Jordanian child must be of the same sex. Parents who have previously adopted in Jordan must wait a minimum of two years before adopting another child of the same sex from Jordan. Single people cannot “adopt” children in Jordan.

Residency Requirements: There are no Jordanian residency requirements for prospective adoptive parents.

Time Frame: The MSD reports that adoptive parents can expect to wait an average of three months from the time they initiate contact with the MSD to when they are given custody of a child.

Adoption Agencies and Attorneys: There are no adoption agencies in Jordan. The Embassy maintains a list of numerous attorneys practicing in Jordan, which can be found at http://amman.usembassy.gov/Int_Dev/docs/List_lawyers_May_2006.pdf.

Adoption Fees: MSD does not charge any fees. However, adoptive parents can expect to pay fees for the baby’s birth certificate, passport, and family book issuance. (A “Family Book” is a document issued by the Jordanian government to families, which contains biographical information about each member of the family.)

The fees for obtaining a Jordanian passport for children (under 16) is 10 JD; for the birth certificate is 1 JD; and, for the Jordanian family book is 2 JD. More details about current fees and required documents can be found at the MSD website at www.cspd.gov.jo. (Please note that this website is currently only in Arabic)

Adoption Procedures: Regardless of nationality, all couples are required to apply to the MSD to qualify to become foster parents. To begin this process, prospective adoptive parents are asked to submit a fostering request to the MSD. Requests should be sent by fax or letter to:

Ministry of Social Development
Family and Childhood Section/Fostering Program
P.O. Box 925379,
Jabal Al Hussein
Amman, Jordan
Fax: 962-6-569-4953
or 962-6-569-4346

Parents must submit the following documents as part of their request to “adopt”: a copy of the marriage certificate, a copy of each parent’s valid passport, and a “social study” (forms will be provided through the Jordanian Embassy). The parents’ employer(s) must provide detailed information about their income, employment status, etc. Original doctor’s reports about the health of the parents must also be provided, including medical proof of the parents’ infertility. If either or both of the parents are converts to Islam, a copy of the conversion certificate must be provided. All of these documents must be translated into Arabic and certified by the Jordanian Embassy in Washington, which will forward them to the MSD (through the Foreign Ministry). Once received, an MSD committee reviews the request to foster a child. If all conditions are met, the Minister of Social Development issues his/her approval or denial. Foster parents are notified by mail that they are approved and invited to travel to Jordan to locate a child. Couples who are approved will then be escorted to a government-run orphanage to choose from children whose parents are unknown.

There are no court proceedings involved with adoption in Jordan.

MSD is the only entity that grants “adoption.” According to the precepts of Islam and the laws of Jordan governing the “adoption” of infants of unknown parentage, the “adoptive” parents are permitted to choose the first name of the child. The Ministry of Interior, Department of Civil Status chooses fictitious names for the unknown mother and father, which along with the child’s first name are placed on the Jordanian birth certificate. These fictitious parents’ names, which are chosen at random and do not identify with any common Jordanian family or tribal names, are required for issuance of a Jordanian birth certificate. The child, per Jordanian law, will carry the names of the fictitious father. Once a birth certificate has been issued, the child is also issued a Jordanian “Family Book” and a Jordanian passport. At this point, the “adoptive” parents may petition for an immigrant visa for their child at the U.S. Embassy in Amman, Jordan. After the child has immigrated to the United States, adoptive parents are required to inform the nearest Jordanian embassy or consulate of any change in address. This facilitates the follow up that the MSD performs for all adopted Jordanian children abroad.

Documentary Requirements: The following documents are required:

  • Copies of the marriage certificate;
  • Copies of each parent’s valid passport;
  • “Social study” (forms will be provided through the Jordanian Embassy);
  • Employment letters;
  • Original health reports of both parents, including medical proof of the parents’ infertility; and
  • If applicable, copy of the conversion certificate to Islam.

All of these documents must be translated into Arabic and certified by the Jordanian Embassy in Washington, which will forward them to the MSD (through the Foreign Ministry). If an American Citizen is resident in Jordan, then these documents should be translated into Arabic and certified directly with the Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ (MFA) Authentication Department located in Jabal Amman, 3rd Circle, Amman. The current fee for certifying documents is between 1-5 JD.

Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Washington, D.C.:
3504 International Drive, NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
Phone: (202) 966- 2664
Fax: (202) 966-3110
E-mail: [email protected]
Website: http://www.jordanembassyus.org/new/index.shtml.

U.S. Immigration Requirements: Prospective adoptive parents are strongly encouraged to consult USCIS publication M-249, The Immigration of Adopted and Prospective Adoptive Children, as well as the Department of State publication, International Adoptions. Please see the International Adoption section of this book for more details and review current reports online at www.travel.state.gov/family.

Embassy of the United States, Amman, Jordan:
P.O. Box 354
Amman 11118 Jordan
Phone: 962-6-590-6000
Fax: 962-6-592-4102
E-mail: [email protected]
Internet: http://amman.usembassy.gov/

Additional Information: Specific questions about adoption in Jordan may be addressed to the U.S. Embassy in Amman. General questions regarding intercountry adoption may be addressed to the Office of Children’s Issues, U.S. Department of State, CA/OCS/CI, SA-29, 4th Floor, 2201 C Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20520-4818, toll-free Tel: 1-888-407-4747.

views updated

Jordan

PROFILE
PEOPLE
HISTORY
GOVERNMENT
POLITICAL CONDITIONS
ECONOMY
FOREIGN RELATIONS
U.S.-JORDANIAN RELATIONS
TRAVEL

Compiled from the May 2007 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:

Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

PROFILE

Geography

Area: 89,342 sq. km. (34,495 sq. mi.).

Cities: Capital—Amman (pop. 1.9 million). Other cities—Irbid (272,681), Az-Zarqa (472,830).

People

Nationality: Noun and adjective—Jordanian(s).

Population: (2006, per IMF) 5.63 million.

Religions: (est.) Sunni Muslim 95%, Christian 4%, other 1%.

Languages: Arabic (official), English.

Education: (2006, according to Jor-dan's Department of Statistics) Literacy—90.9%.

Health: (2003) Infant mortality rate—19/1,000. Life expectancy—71 yrs.

Ethnic groups: Mostly Arab but small communities of Circassians, Armenians, and Kurds.

Work force: (1.3 million, of which 260 thousand are registered guest workers) public sector 17%, services 36%, manufacturing 20%, education 12%, health and social services 10%, primary industries 5%.

Unemployment rate: (2006) 13% of economically active Jordanians.

Government

Type: Constitutional monarchy.

Independence: May 25, 1946.

Constitution: January 8, 1952.

Government branches: Executive—King (chief of state), Prime Minister (head of government), Council of Ministers (cabinet). Legislative—bicameral National Assembly (appointed Senate, elected Chamber of Deputies). Judicial—civil, religious, special courts.

Political parties: Wide spectrum of parties legalized in 1992.

Suffrage: Universal at 18.

Political subdivisions: Twelve governorates—Irbid, Jarash, Ajloun, al-'Aqaba, Madaba, al-Mafraq, al-Zarqa, Amman, al-Balqa, al-Karak, al-Tafilah, and Ma'an.

Economy

Nominal GDP: (2006) $14.3 billion.

Annual real growth rate: (20066.4%.

Per capita GDP: (2006) $2,533.

Natural resources: Phosphate, potash.

Agriculture: Products—fruits, vegetables, wheat, olive oil, barley, olives. Land—10% arable; 5% cultivated.

Industry: (26.5% of GDP in 2006) Types—phosphate mining, manufacturing, electricity and water; cement and petroleum production, and construction.

Trade: Exports (2006)—$5.17 billion: phosphates, potash, garments, fertilizers, pharmaceutical products, agricultural products. Major markets—U.S., Iraq, India, Saudi Arabia, U.A.E., Syria, Israel, Kuwait. Imports (2006)—$11.46 billion: crude petroleum and derivatives, vehicles, machinery and equipment, cereals, fabrics and textiles. Major suppliers— Saudi Arabia (mainly crude oil and derivatives), EU, China, U.S., Egypt, South Korea, Japan, Turkey.

Note: From 1949 to 1967, Jordan administered the West Bank. Since the 1967 war, when Israel took control of this territory, the United States has considered the West Bank to be territory occupied by Israel. The United States believes that the final status of the West Bank can be determined only through negotiations among the concerned parties based on UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.

PEOPLE

Jordanians are Arabs, except for a few small communities of Circas-sians, Armenians, and Kurds who have adapted to Arab culture. The official language is Arabic, but English is used widely in commerce and government. About 70% of Jordan's population is urban; less than 6% of the rural population is nomadic or semi-nomadic. Most of the population lives where rainfall can support agriculture. Approximately 1.7 million registered Palestinian refugees and other displaced persons reside in Jordan, many as citizens.

HISTORY

The land that became Jordan is part of the richly historical Fertile Crescent region. Around 2000 B.C., Semitic Amorites settled around the Jordan River in the area called Canaan. Subsequent invaders and settlers included Hittites, Egyptians, Israelites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Arab Muslims, Christian Crusaders, Mameluks, Ottoman Turks, and, finally, the British. At the end of World War I, the League of Nations awarded the territory now comprising Israel, Jordan, the West Bank, Gaza, and Jerusalem to the United Kingdom as the mandate for Palestine and Transjordan. In 1922, the British divided the mandate by establishing the semiautonomous Emirate of Transjordan, ruled by the Hashemite Prince Abdullah, while continuing the administration of Palestine under a British High Commissioner. The mandate over Transjordan ended on May 22, 1946; on May 25, the country became the independent Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan. It ended its special defense treaty relationship with the United Kingdom in 1957. Transjordan was one of the Arab states which moved to assist Palestinian nationalists opposed to the creation of Israel in May 1948, and took part in the warfare between the Arab states and the newly founded State of Israel. The armistice agreements of April 3, 1949 left Jordan in control of the West Bank and provided that the armistice demarcation lines were without prejudice to future territorial settlements or boundary lines.

In 1950, the country was renamed the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to include those portions of Palestine annexed by King Abdullah I. While recognizing Jordanian administration over the West Bank, the United States maintained the position that ultimate sovereignty was subject to future agreement. Jordan signed a mutual defense pact in May 1967 with Egypt, and it participated in the June 1967 war between Israel and the Arab states of Syria, Egypt, and Iraq. During the war, Israel gained control of the West Bank and all of Jerusalem. In 1988, Jordan renounced all claims to the West Bank but retained an administrative role pending a final settlement, and its 1994 treaty with Israel allowed for a continuing Jordanian role in Muslim holy places in Jerusalem. The U.S. Government considers the West Bank to be territory occupied by Israel and believes that its final status should be determined through direct negotiations among the parties concerned on the basis of UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.

The 1967 war led to a dramatic increase in the number of Palestinians living in Jordan. Its Palestinian refugee population-700,000 in 1966—grew by another 300,000 from the West Bank. The period following the 1967 war saw an upsurge in the power and importance of Palestinian resistance elements (fedayeen) in Jordan. The heavily armed fedayeen constituted a growing threat to the sovereignty and security of the Hashemite state, and open fighting erupted in June 1970. No fighting occurred along the 1967 Jordan River cease-fire line during the October 1973 Arab-Israeli war, but Jordan sent a brigade to Syria to fight Israeli units on Syrian territory. Jordan did not participate in the Gulf war of 1990-91. In 1991, Jordan agreed, along with Syria, Lebanon, and Palestinian representatives, to participate in direct peace negotiations with Israel sponsored by the U.S. and Russia. It negotiated an end to hostilities with Israel and signed a peace treaty in 1994. Jordan has since sought to remain at peace with all of its neighbors.

GOVERNMENT

Jordan is a constitutional monarchy based on the constitution promulgated on January 8, 1952. Executive authority is vested in the King and his Council of Ministers. The King signs and executes all laws. His veto power may be overridden by a two-thirds vote of both houses of the National Assembly. He appoints and may dismiss all judges by decree, approves amendments to the constitution, declares war, and commands the armed forces. Cabinet decisions, court judgments, and the national currency are issued in his name. The King, who may dismiss other cabinet members at the prime minister's request, appoints the council of ministers, led by a prime minister. The cabinet is responsible to the Chamber of Deputies on matters of general policy and can be forced to resign by a two-thirds vote of “no confidence” by that body. Legislative power rests in the bicameral National Assembly. The number of deputies in the current Chamber of Deputies is 110, with a number of seats reserved for various religions, ethnicities, and women. The Chamber, elected by universal suffrage to a 4-year term, is subject to dissolution by the King. The King appoints the 55-member Senate for a 4-year term. Parliamentary elections are scheduled to be held in the fall of 2007.

The constitution provides for three categories of courts—civil, religious, and special. Administratively, Jordan is divided into 12 governorates, each headed by a governor appointed by the King. They are the sole authorities for all government departments and development projects in their respective areas.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 2/1/2008

King: ABDALLAH II

Prime Min.: Nader al-DAHABI

Min. of Agriculture: Muzahim al-MUHAISIN

Min. of Awqaf & Islamic Affairs: Abdul Fatah SALAH

Min. of Culture: Nancy BAKIR

Min. of Defense: Nader al-DAHABI

Min. of Education: Taysir al-NUEIMI

Min. of Energy & Mineral Resources: Khaldoun QUTEISHAT

Min. of the Environment: Khalid Al IRANI

Min. of Finance: Hamad al-KASASBEH

Min. of Foreign Affairs: Salah al-BASHIR

Min. of Health: Salah al-MAWAJDEH

Min. of Higher Education & Scientific Research: Umar SHUDEIFAT

Min. of Information & Communication Technology: Bassem al-ROUSSAN

Min. of Industry & Trade: Amir al-HADIDI

Min. of Interior: Eid Al FAYEZ

Min. of Justice: Ayman AWDEH

Min. of Labor: Bassem al-SALEM

Min. of Municipal Affairs: Shihadeh ABU HUDEIB

Min. of Planning & Intl. Cooperation: Suhair Al ALI

Min. of Political Development & Judicial Affairs: Kamal NASSER

Min. of Public Sector Reform: Maher al-MADADHA

Min. of Public Works & Housing: Sahel al-MAJALI

Min. of Social Development: Hala LATOUF

Min. of Tourism & Antiquities: Maha al-KHATIB

Min. of Transportation: Alaa al-BATAYNAH

Min. of Water & Irrigation: Raed ABU SAUD

Min. of State for Media Affairs & Communication: Nasser JUDEH

Min. of State for Parliamentary Affairs: Abdul Rahim al-OKOUR

Min. of State for Prime-Ministerial Affairs: Thuqan al-QUDAH

Governor, Central Bank of Jordan: Umayya TOUKAN

Ambassador to the US: ZEID Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein, Prince

Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Muhammad Al-ALLAF

Jordan maintains an embassy in the United States at 3504 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-966-2664).

POLITICAL CONDITIONS

King Hussein ruled Jordan from 1953 to 1999, surviving a number of challenges to his rule, drawing on the loyalty of his military, and serving as a symbol of unity and stability for both the East Bank and Palestinian communities in Jordan. In 1989 and 1993, Jordan held free and fair parliamentary elections. Controversial changes in the election law led Islamist parties to boycott the 1997 elections. King Hussein ended martial law in 1991 and legalized political parties in 1992.

King Abdullah II succeeded his father Hussein following the latter's death in February 1999. Abdullah moved quickly to reaffirm Jordan's peace treaty with Israel and its relations with the U.S. Abdullah, during his first year in power, refocused the government's agenda on economic reform.

Jordan's continuing structural economic difficulties, burgeoning population, and more open political environment led to the emergence of a variety of political parties. Moving toward greater independence, Jordan's Parliament has investigated corruption charges against several regime figures and has become the major forum in which differing political views, including those of political Islamists, are expressed. In June 2001, the King dissolved Parliament. Parliamentary elections were held in June 2003, and municipal elections were held in July 2003. The King appointed the current Prime Minister, Marouf Bakhit, in December 2005. Bakhit and his cabinet have set as their goal the continued legislative implementation of a ten-year reform plan, known as the National Agenda, drafted by a royal commission in 2005. The King also charged the new cabinet with strengthening Jordan's security following the November 2005 suicide hotel bombings in Amman that killed 60.

ECONOMY

Jordan is a small country with limited natural resources. The country is currently exploring ways to expand its limited water supply and use its existing water resources more efficiently, including through regional cooperation. Jordan also depends on external sources for the majority of its energy requirements. During the 1990s, its crude petroleum needs were met through imports from neighboring Iraq. Since early 2003, oil has been provided by some Gulf Cooperation Council member countries. In addition, a natural gas pipeline from Egypt to Jordan through the southern port city of Aqaba is now operational. The pipeline has reached northern Jordan and construction to connect it to Syria and beyond is underway.

Under King Abdullah, Jordan has undertaken a program of economic reform. The government has taken the initiative to gradually eliminate fuel subsidies, pass legislation targeting corruption, and begin tax reform. It has also worked to liberalize trade, gaining access to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2000, signing an Association Agreement with the European Union (EU) in 2001, and securing the first bilateral Free Trade Agreement between the U.S. and an Arab country in 2001. Since 2000, exports of light manufactured products, principally textiles and garments manufactured in the Qualifying Industrial Zones (QIZ) that enter the United States tariff and quota free, have been driving economic growth. Jordan exported $6.9 million in goods to the U.S. in 1997, when two-way trade was $395 million; according to the U.S. International Trade Commission, it exported $1.42 billion in 2006, with two-way trade at $2.07 billion.

The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States that went into effect in December 2001 will phase out duties on nearly all goods and services by 2010. The agreement also provides for more open markets in communications, construction, finance, health, transportation, and services, as well as strict application of international standards for the protection of intellectual property. In 1996, Jordan and the United States signed a civil aviation agreement that provides for “open skies” between the two countries, and a U.S.-Jordan treaty for the protection and encouragement of bilateral investment entered into force in 2003. More information on the FTA is available on www.jordanusfta.com.

Such developments hold considerable promise for diversifying Jordan's economy away from its traditional reliance on exports of phosphates and potash, overseas remittances, and foreign aid. The government has emphasized the information technology (IT) and tourism sectors as other promising growth sectors. The low tax and low regulation Aqaba Special Economic Zone (ASEZ) is considered a model of a government-provided framework for private sector-led economic growth.

Jordan is classified by the World Bank as a “lower middle income country.” The per capita GDP, as reported by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), was $2,533 for 2006. According to Jordan's Department of Statistics, 13% of the economically active Jordanian population residing in Jordan was unemployed in 2006. Education and literacy rates and measures of social well-being are relatively high compared to other countries with similar incomes. Jordan's population growth rate has declined in recent years and is currently 2.3% as reported by the Jordanian government. One of the most important factors in the government's efforts to improve the well-being of its citizens is the macroeconomic stability that has been achieved since the 1990s. The rate of inflation in 2006 was 6.3%; the currency has been stable with an exchange rate fixed to the U.S. dollar since 1995 at JD 0.708-0.710 to the dollar. In 2006, Jordan significantly reduced its debt to GDP ratio to 73.2% of GDP.

While pursuing economic reform and increased trade, Jordan's economy will continue to be vulnerable to external shocks and regional unrest. Without calm in the region, economic growth seems destined to stay below its potential.

FOREIGN RELATIONS

Jordan has consistently followed a pro-Western foreign policy and traditionally has had close relations with the United States. These relations were damaged by support in Jordan for Iraq during the first Gulf war. Although the Government of Jordan stated its opposition to the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait, popular support for Iraq was driven by Jordan's Palestinian community, which favored Saddam as a champion against Western supporters of Israel.

Following the first Gulf war, Jordan largely restored its relations with Western countries through its participation in the Middle East peace process and enforcement of UN sanctions against Iraq. Relations between Jordan and the Gulf countries improved substantially after King Hussein's death. Following the fall of the Iraqi regime, Jordan has played a pivotal role in supporting the restoration of stability and security to Iraq. The Government of Jordan has facilitated the training of over 50,000 Iraqi police cadets at a Jordanian facility near Amman.

Jordan signed a nonbelligerency agreement with Israel (the Washington Declaration) in Washington, DC, on July 25, 1994. Jordan and Israel signed a historic peace treaty on October 26, 1994, witnessed by President Clinton, accompanied by Secretary Christopher. The U.S. has participated with Jordan and Israel in trilateral development discussions in which key issues have been water-sharing and security; cooperation on Jordan Rift Valley development; infrastructure projects; and trade, finance, and banking issues. Jordan also participates in multilateral peace talks. Jordan belongs to the UN and several of its specialized and related agencies, including the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Meteorological Organization (IMO), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and World Health Organization (WHO). Jordan also is a member of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), Nonaligned Movement, and Arab League.

Since the outbreak of the Intifada in September 2000, Jordan has worked to maintain lines of communication between the Israelis and the Palestinians to counsel moderation and to return the parties to negotiations of outstanding permanent status issues.

During summer 2006, Jordan provided considerable relief supplies to Lebanon and has supported U.S. efforts to generate international security assistance for Lebanese national forces.

U.S.-JORDANIAN RELATIONS

Relations between the U.S. and Jordan have been close for over four decades. A primary objective of U.S. policy has been the achievement of a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace in the Middle East.

U.S. policy seeks to reinforce Jordan's commitment to peace, stability, and moderation. The peace process and Jordan's opposition to terrorism parallel and indirectly assist wider U.S. interests. Accordingly, through economic and military assistance and through close political cooperation, the United States has helped Jordan maintain its stability and prosperity.

Since 1952, the United States has provided Jordan with economic assistance totaling more than $9 billion ($1.3 billion in loans and $7.7 billion in grants), including funds for development projects, health care, education, construction to increase water availability, support for microeconomic policy shifts toward a more completely free market system, and both grant and loan acquisition of U.S. agriculture commodities. These programs have been successful and have contributed to Jordanian stability while strengthening the bilateral relationship. U.S. military assistance—provision of material and training—is designed to meet Jordan's legitimate defense needs, including preservation of border integrity and regional stability. Jordan signed a Threshold Agreement with the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) in October 2006, and was subsequently deemed by the MCC to be eligible for a Compact Agreement in recognition of the country's progress on economic, social, and political reform indicators.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

Last Updated: 2/19/2008

AMMAN (E) Al-Omawyeen Street, Abdoun, Amman, Jordan 11118, APO/FPO APO/AE 09892, + (962) 6 590-6000, Fax 962-6-592-0163 (Admin), Workweek: Sun-Thurs 0800-1630, Website: http://amman.usembassy.gov.

DCM OMS:Judith Reed
AMB OMS:Virginia Baldwin
CG OMS:Sally El-Bader
ECO:Natalie E. Brown
FCS:Sheryle Pinckney-Maas
FM:George Robb
HRO:Karen McCrea
MGT:Sandra R. Smith
AMB:David Hale
CG:Rena Bitter
CON:Rena Bitter
DCM:Daniel Rubinstein
PAO:Philip Frayne
GSO:Tom Palmer
RSO:Michael Mack
AGR:Mohammad Khraishy
AID:Jay Knott
APHIS:Mohammad Khraishy
ATO:Mohammad Khraishy
CLO:Dee Dee Zigler
DAO:Robert Faille
EEO:Natalie E. Brown
EST:Manu Bhalla
FAA:Duffy Winters
FAA/CASLO:Duffy Winters
FMO:Arlene Barilec
ICASS:Chair COL Robert Faille
IMO:Michael A. Reed
IPO:Richard Page
ISO:Alan Mahood
ISSO:Richard Page
LEGATT:Bryan Finnegan
POL:David Greene
State ICASS:Duffy Winters

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet

August 16, 2007

Country Description: The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is a constitutional monarchy with a developing economy and a modern infrastructure. Western culture features prominently in the lives of many Jordanians; however, at the same time, Islamic ideals and beliefs provide the conservative foundation for the country's customs, laws and practices. Tourist facilities are widely available, although quality may vary depending on price and location.

Entry Requirements: A passport and a visa are required. Jordan issues visas for a fee at most international ports of entry upon arrival, and at most international border crossings, except at the crossing known in Jordan as the King Hussein Bridge (this same crossing is known in Israel as the Allenby Bridge). To cross into Jordan at the King Hussein/Allenby Bridge, U.S. citizens must already have either a visa for Jordan in their passports or have an entry permit from the Ministry of Interior.

Foreigners who wish to stay thirty days or more in Jordan must register at a Jordanian police station by their thirtieth day in the country. For stays of six months or more police will require that an AIDS test be performed at a government medical facility. Failure to properly register subjects the traveler to a fine of 1.5 Jordanian dinar (approximately $2.10) per day of overstay. This fine is usually assessed at departure.

Travelers are urged to check the Country Specific Information and any existing Travel Warnings or Travel Alerts at travel.state.gov for all countries they plan to visit during their travel to the region. Border crossing requirements may change or borders may be closed during periods of heightened security.

For further information, travelers may contact the Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, 3504 International Drive, NW, Washington, DC 20008, telephone (202) 966-2664, Internet website www.jor-danembassyus.org, or one of the Jordanian Honorary Consulates in Detroit, MI, Chicago, IL, or San Francisco, CA.

Safety and Security: The threat of terrorism remains high in Jordan. Transnational terrorist groups, as well as less sophisticated local elements, have demonstrated the capability to pose threats in Jordan. Al-Qaida in Iraq network in particular continues terrorist activities against U.S. and Government of Jordan (GOJ) targets in Jordan. The Al-Qaida in Iraq network claimed responsibility for the November 9, 2005 bombings of three international hotels in Amman, which killed 60 people and injured over 100. Pedestrian suicide bombers wearing explosive vests carried the bombs into the hotels. Al-Qaida in Iraq also claimed responsibility for the Aqaba rocket attacks on August 19, 2005 targeting a U.S. naval ship, which killed one Jordanian soldier and wounded another. The assassination of American diplomat Larry Foley outside his west Amman residence on October 28, 2002 was also attributed to Al-Qaida in Iraq leader Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, who was killed in Iraq in June 2006.

In addition, there has been a series of confirmed terrorist threats and disrupted terrorist plots targeting U.S. or Jordanian interests in Jordan. In November 2006, the GOJ arrested four men who were planning to use a taxi cab to identify and assassinate an American. In the same month, the GOJ arrested three men who were reportedly plotting to attack the U.S. Embassy and assassinate President Bush during his visit to Jordan. In February 2006, the GOJ disrupted a terrorist cell plotting to attack Queen Alia International Airport. In November 2005, the GOJ indicted six men for planning to carry out attacks against Americans at hotels and bars in Amman and Aqaba. In August-September 2005, four militants were arrested for plotting assassinations of Americans in Jordan. In July 2005, GOJ authorities arrested 17 men who had planned to assassinate GOJ officials and Americans in Jordan; the group was reportedly linked to Al-Qaida in Iraq. In February 2005, four men were arrested for plotting attacks against GOJ officials, tourists and five-star hotels. In the same month, another group was disrupted while plotting to attack liquor stores in Amman and foreign tourists in Aqaba.

Terrorists often do not distinguish between U.S. government personnel and private citizens. Terrorists may target areas frequented by Westerners, such as tourist sites, hotels, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, liquor stores, shopping malls, transportation hubs, places of worship, expatriate residential areas, and schools. In light of these security concerns, U.S. citizens are urged to maintain a high level of vigilance, to be aware of their surroundings, and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness. It is especially important for travelers to be unpredictable by varying their times and routes and to maintain a low profile. Moreover, U.S. citizens are urged to avoid contact with any suspicious or unfamiliar objects and to immediately report the presence of such objects to the authorities. U.S. Government personnel overseas have been advised to take the same precautions.

Anti-American and anti-Western sentiment exists in Jordan and has been sparked on occasion by incidents in the region, particularly those related to Israeli/Palestinian issues and, to a lesser extent, Iraq. This may lead to random acts of violence against Westerners. On September 4, 2006, a gunman fired on foreigners at a popular tourist site in central Amman, killing one and injuring six.

Travelers are advised to avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings of people. Many demonstrations occur near mosques after Friday prayers. Consequently, special sensitivity and caution should be exercised at or near mosques and religious sites during holy days and the Friday Muslim Sabbath. Demonstrations also often take place at universities and refugee camps.

U.S. citizens are advised to increase their vigilance as they approach the border area with Iraq. In October 2006, July 2005 and December 2004, Iraq-based terrorists targeted the Jordan/Iraq border crossing with vehicle bombs. The Department of State advises against travel into Iraq.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affair's internet site at http://travel.state.gov, where the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts, including the Worldwide Caution Travel Alert and the Middle East and North Africa Travel Alert, can be found. Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S. and Canada, or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444.

Crime: Crime is generally not a serious problem for travelers in Jordan, but petty crime is prevalent in the downtown Amman Hashimiyah Square area and near the Roman Amphitheater. In the narrow streets of the older parts of the city center, crowded conditions invite pickpockets and other petty criminals. Travelers are urged to be more guarded in these areas so that they do not present easy opportunities for criminals.

In central and west Amman, there have been reports of thieves snatching pedestrians’ purses from moving vehicles and then driving off. In some instances, victims were injured when they were unable to free themselves from their purses. When carrying a purse, it would be wise to conceal it if possible, to avoid walking near the road within reach of passing vehicles, and to walk against the flow of traffic.

Jordanian police have warned the public to exercise vigilance when leaving banks or ATM machines, as thieves have reportedly preyed upon persons soon after using these services.

Western women both visiting and residing in Jordan report sexual harassment, stalking, and unwelcome advances of a sexual nature; there have been isolated reports of assault. Women are advised to take reasonable precautions including dressing conservatively and not traveling alone. Modest attire should be worn in deference to local custom.

Information for Victims of Crime: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and to the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting it to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and to explain how funds may be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

Medical Facilities and Health Information: Basic modern medical care and medicines are available in the principal cities of Jordan, but not necessarily in outlying areas. Most hospitals in Jordan, especially in Amman, are privately owned. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for services. Because serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States could cost over $150,000 U.S. dollars, we advise travelers to have medical evacuation insurance.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC's internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about out-breaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's (WHO) web site at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith/en.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Avian Influenza: The Jordanian Ministry of Health confirmed four cases of H5N1 Avian Influenza in poultry on March 24, 2006 on a small farm near Ajloun. An Egyptian who entered Jordan via ferry at Aqaba on March 27, 2006 was confirmed to have H5N1.

Travelers to Jordan and other countries affected by the virus are cautioned to avoid poultry farms, contact with animals in live food markets, and any surfaces that appear to be contaminated with feces from poultry or other animals. In addition, the CDC and WHO recommend eating only fully cooked poultry and eggs.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Jordan is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Jordanian Public Safety officials estimate that, on average, two people are killed and fifty more are injured in 145 road accidents daily throughout the Kingdom. Roads are particularly treacherous during the rainy season, from December to March. Drivers and passengers are required to wear seatbelts and all cars must have a fire extinguisher and warning triangle in the vehicle. Child car seats are not required. Violators of speed limits may face fines up to $140. Police routinely pull over reckless drivers as well as those driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Licensed drivers must carry local third party insurance with sufficient coverage for accidents resulting in injury or death. Poor lighting and road conditions prevail, so extra caution must be exercised at all times, especially when driving at night. Highways are more crowded around the Muslim holidays, when many Jordanians return from their work in the Gulf States. City driving in Amman is more hazardous in the summer months, when many Gulf residents visit Amman and drive using the customs of their countries of origin. Jordan does not have restrictions on women driving and it is not unusual for women to drive alone.

The desert highway outside Aqaba, a popular tourist destination, is particularly dangerous because it is narrow, winding, steep and crowded with trucks. This area should be avoided at night, if possible. Also, when driving in both urban and rural areas, motorists should beware of livestock, including camels, sheep, and goats. Collisions between livestock and automobiles are common.

Landmines are often located within two miles of military installations and borders, including the popular Dead Sea area. Minefields are usually fenced off and marked with skull-and-crossbones notices, but the fences and signs may be in poor repair or hard to see. Avoiding these areas reduces the risk of accidentally setting off a mine.

Jordan has bus and taxi services. Yellow taxis are generally safe for travel in the cities (although many lack seatbelts) and use meters to determine fares. One may also rent a service car (or livery car) for longer trips, such as to Damascus, Jerusalem, Aqaba, or Petra. The service cars have a good reputation for road safety. Although bus travel within Jordan is reportedly not a problem, the Embassy has advised its personnel to refrain from using public buses due to general safety and security concerns.

Jordanian security authorities often establish checkpoints, especially on roads leading to popular tourist destinations, where drivers are expected to stop and present their identity documents. All drivers should stop when directed to do so and comply with the instructions provided to them by the authorities.

Emergencies should be referred to the Civil Defense Department at telephone number 199 (Jordan's equivalent to 911). For information on driving regulations, please contact the Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, 3504 International Drive, NW, Washington, DC 20008, telephone (202) 966-2664, Internet web site www.jordanembassyus.org.

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Jordan's Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Jordan's air carrier operations. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA's web site at http://www.faa.gov.

Special Circumstances: Under Jordanian law any male relative may prevent a woman or child from leaving Jordan by placing a hold on their travel with the Jordanian authorities. This is true even if the child or woman's sole nationality is American. Jordanian authorities will consider these disputes domestic matters and the Embassy may be limited in its ability to intervene. Please see section on Children's Issues.

American citizens are subject to Jordanian laws while in Jordan. American citizens who also possess Jordanian nationality may also be subject to other laws that impose special obligations on Jordanian citizens. Although no longer subject to immediate conscription, all U.S.-Jordanian dual national males under the age of 37 are required to register for service in the Jordanian military. Those subject to registration may be prevented from departing Jordan until permission to depart is obtained from appropriate Jordanian authorities. This permission is often granted to U.S. citizens, but may take some time to obtain and is limited to a single trip.

Furthermore, the Government of Jordan treats U.S.-Jordanian dual nationals as Jordanian citizens and may not always notify the Embassy of arrests, detentions, or accidents involving dual nationals. For this reason, dual nationals in particular are encouraged to carry a copy of their U.S. passports with them at all times, so that if questioned by local officials, evidence of identity and U.S. citizenship is readily available.

Islam is the state religion of Jordan. The Jordanian government does not interfere with public worship by the country's Christian minority. Although the majority of Christians are allowed to practice their faith freely, activities such as proselytizing or encouraging conversion to the Christian faith are prohibited, as they are considered legally incompatible with Islam. It is illegal for a Muslim to convert to Christianity. In the past, American citizens have been detained or arrested for discussing or trying to engage Jordanians in debate about Christianity.

Jordanian customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Jordan of items such as drugs, firearms, poisons, chemicals, explosives and pornographic materials, among other items. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Jordan in Washington, D.C., or one of the Jordanian consulates in the United States, for specific information regarding customs requirements.

The United States Government is committed to providing the full range of consular services to all American citizens. Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, to which Jordan is a party, provides that competent authorities in the host country must notify a consular post of the arrest of one of its citizens without delay. However, Jordanian officials often do not notify the U.S. Embassy when an American citizen is arrested or detained.

The local workweek for Jordanian government offices and most businesses is Sunday through Thursday.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses.

Persons violating Jordan's laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Jordan are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Children's Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children's Issues website at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Registration and Embassy Locations: Americans living or traveling abroad are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department's travel registration web site so that they can obtain updated information on travel and security within Jordan. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency.

The U.S. Embassy in Amman is located on Al-Umayyaween Street, Abdoun, PO Box 354, Amman 11118. The telephone number is [962] (6) 590-6000 and the fax number is [962] (6) 592-4102. The after-hours emergency telephone number is [962] (6) 590-6000. The Internet web site is http://amman.usembassy.gov. The U.S. Embassy is open Sunday through Thursday.

International Adoption

January 2007

The information in this section has been edited from a report of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Overseas Citizens Services. For more information, please read the International Adoption section of this book and review current reports online at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Disclaimer: The information in this flyer relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is based on public sources and current understanding. Questions involving foreign and U.S. immigration laws and legal interpretation should be addressed respectively to qualified foreign or U.S. legal counsel.

Please Note: Jordanian law stipulates that all prospective adopting parents MUST be Muslim, married for five or more years and certified as infertile in order to adopt in Jordan.

In addition, Jordanian law does not allow for full adoptions of Jordanian children. Americans considering adoption of Jordanian children must obtain guardianship from a Jordanian court and subsequently adopt the child in the United States. Prospective American guardians may also want to review our Shari’a Adoption Flyer on Guardianship in Islamic Countries.

Patterns of Immigration: Please review current reports online at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Adoption Authority: Adoption in Jordan falls under the purview of the Ministry of Social Development (MSD).

Ministry of Social Development
(MSD)
Family and Childhood Section/
Fostering Program
P.O. Box 925379
Jabal Al Hussein
Amman, Jordan
Fax 962-6-569-4953 or
962-6-569-4346

Eligibility Requirements for Adoptive Parents: By law, all adoptive parents must be Muslim and married for five or more years. The husband must be between 35 and 55 years of age and the wife must be between 30 and 50 years of age. Parents must be medically certified as infertile. They may have up to two children total, including adopted children. If the parents have one child already, then the adopted Jordanian child must be of the same sex. Parents who have previously adopted in Jordan must wait a minimum of two years before adopting another child of the same sex from Jordan. Single people cannot adopt children in Jordan.

Residency Requirements: There are no Jordanian residency requirements for prospective adoptive parents.

Time Frame: The MSD reports that adoptive parents can expect to wait an average of three months from the time they initiate contact with the MSD to when they are given custody of a child.

Adoption Agencies and Attorneys: Prospective adoptive parents are advised to fully research any adoption agency or facilitator they plan to use for adoption services. For U.S.-based agencies, it is suggested that prospective adoptive parents contact the Better Business Bureau and/or the licensing office of the appropriate state government agency in the U.S. state where the agency is located or licensed.

There are no adoption agencies in Jordan. The Embassy maintains a list of numerous attorneys practicing in Jordan, which can be found at http://amman.usembassy.gov.

Adoption Fees: MSD does not charge any fees. However, adoptive parents can expect to pay fees for the baby's birth certificate, passport, and family book issuance. (A “Family Book” is a document issued by the Jordanian government to families, which contains biographical information about each member of the family.)

The fees for obtaining a Jordanian passport for children (under 16) is 10 JD; for the birth certificate is 1 JD; and, for the Jordanian family book is 2 JD. More details about current fees and required documents can be found at the MSD website at www.cspd.gov.jo.

Adoption Procedures: Regardless of nationality, all couples are required to apply to the MSD to qualify to become foster parents. The pre-qualification process is similar to those in most U.S. states. To begin this process, prospective adoptive parents are asked to submit a fostering request to the MSD. This request should include the following information: name, age, profession, and religion of both parents. Contact information, including full mailing address, must be provided. Once the MSD has received and processed the request, it will direct the Jordanian Embassy in Washington (through the Foreign Ministry) to request additional documentation from the prospective foster parents.

Once received, an MSD committee reviews the request to foster a child. If all conditions are met, the Minister of Social Development issues his/her approval or denial. Foster parents are notified by mail that they are approved and invited to travel to Jordan to locate a child. Couples who are approved will then be escorted to a government-run orphanage to choose from children whose parents are unknown.

There are no court proceedings involved with adoption in Jordan. MSD is the only entity that grants adoption According to the precepts of Islam and the laws of Jordan governing the adoption of infants of unknown parentage, the adoptive parents are permitted to choose the first name of the child. The Ministry of Interior, Department of Civil Status chooses fictitious names for the unknown mother and father, which along with the child's first name are placed on the Jordanian birth certificate. These fictitious parents’ names, which are chosen at random and do not identify with any common Jordanian family or tribal names, are required for issuance of a Jordanian birth certificate. The child, per Jordanian law, will carry the names of the fictitious father. Once a birth certificate has been issued, the child is also issued a Jordanian “Family Book” and a Jordanian passport. At this point, the adoptive parents may petition for an immigrant visa for their child at the U.S. Embassy in Amman, Jordan.

After the child has immigrated to the United States, adoptive parents are required to inform the nearest Jordanian embassy or consulate of any change in address. This facilitates the follow up that the MSD performs for all adopted Jordanian children abroad.

Documentary Requirements: The following documents are required:

  • Copies of the marriage certificate;
  • Copies of each parent's valid passport;
  • “Social study” (forms will be provided through the Jordanian Embassy);
  • Employment letters;
  • Original health reports of both parents, including medical proof of the parents’ infertility; and
  • If applicable, copy of the conversion certificate to Islam.

All of these documents must be translated into Arabic and certified by the Jordanian Embassy in Washington, which will forward them to the MSD (through the Foreign Ministry).

Embassy of the Hashemite
Kingdom of Jordan,
Washington, D.C.

3504 International Drive, NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
Phone: (202) 966-2664
Fax: (202) 966-3110
E-mail:
[email protected]
Website:
http://www.jordanembassyus.org/new/index.shtml

U.S. Immigration Requirements: Prospective adopting parents are strongly encouraged to consult USCIS publication M-249, The Immigration of Adopted and Prospective Adoptive Children, as well as the Department of State publication, International Adoptions. Please see the International Adoption section of this book for more details and review current reports online at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Embassy of the United States, Amman, Jordan
P.O. Box 354
Amman 11118 Jordan
Phone: 962-6-590-6000
Fax: 962-6-592-4102
E-mail: [email protected]
Internet:
http://amman.usembassy.gov

Additional Information: Specific questions about adoption in Jordan may be addressed to the U.S. Embassy in Amman. General questions regarding intercountry adoption may be addressed to the Office of Children's Issues, U.S. Department of State, CA/OCS/CI, SA-29, 4th Floor, 2201 C Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20520-4818, toll-free Tel: 1-888-407-4747.

views updated

JORDAN

Compiled from the September 2005 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:
Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan


PROFILE

Geography

Area:

89,544 sq. km. (34,573 sq. mi.).

Cities:

Capital—Amman (pop. 1.9 million). Other cities—Irbid (272,681), Az-Zarqa (472,830).

People

Nationality:

Noun and adjective—Jordanian(s).

Population (2004 census):

5.323 million.

Religions (est.):

Sunni Muslim 95%, Christian 4%, Other 1%.

Language:

Arabic (official), English. Education (2001): Literacy—90%.

Health (2003):

Infant mortality rate—19/1,000. Life expectancy—71 yrs.

Ethnic groups:

Mostly Arab but small communities of Circassians, Armenians, and Kurds.

Work force (1.29 million):

Services—83.96%; industry—12.75%; agriculture—3.29%

Unemployment rate:

13.4%.

Government

Type:

Constitutional monarchy.

Independence:

May 25, 1946.

Constitution:

January 8, 1952.

Branches:

Executive—king (chief of state), prime minister (head of government), council of ministers (cabinet). Legislative—bicameral National Assembly (appointed Senate, elected Chamber of Deputies). Judicial—civil, religious, special courts.

Political parties:

Wide spectrum of parties legalized in 1992.

Suffrage:

Universal at 18.

Administrative subdivisions:

Twelve governorates—Irbid, Jarash, Ajloun, al-'Aqaba, Madaba, al-Mafraq, al-Zarqa, Amman, al-Balqa, al-Karak, al-Tafilah, and Ma'an.

Economy

GDP (2004 nominal):

$11.515 billion.

Annual growth rate (2004):

7.7%.

Per capita GDP (2004):

$2,164.

Natural resources:

Phosphate, potash.

Agriculture:

Products—fruits, vegetables, wheat, olive oil, barley, olives. Land—10% arable; 5% cultivated.

Industry (23.7% of GDP in 2004; 20.7% of GDP in first half 2005):

Types—phosphate mining, manufacturing, electricity and water; cement and petroleum production, and construction.

Trade:

Exports—(2004) $3.25 billion; (Jan-May 2005) $1.4 billion: phosphates, potash, textiles and garments, fertilizers, pharmaceutical products, agricultural products. Major markets—U.S., Iraq, India, Saudi Arabia, U.A.E., Israel. Imports—(2004) $8.18 billion; (Jan-May 2005) $3.94 billion: crude petroleum and derivatives, vehicles, machinery and equipment, cereals, fabrics and textiles. Major suppliers—EU, Saudi Arabia, China, U.S.

Note: From 1949 to 1967, Jordan administered that part of former mandate Palestine west of the Jordan River known as the West Bank. Since the 1967 war, when Israel took control of this territory, the United States has considered the West Bank to be territory occupied by Israel. The United States believes that the final status of the West Bank can be determined only through negotiations among the parties concerned on the basis of UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.


PEOPLE

Jordanians are Arabs, except for a few small communities of Circassians, Armenians, and Kurds which have adapted to Arab culture. The official language is Arabic, but English is used widely in commerce and government. About 70% of Jordan's population is urban; less than 6% of the rural population is nomadic or seminomadic. Most people live where the rainfall supports agriculture. About 1.7 million persons registered as Palestinian refugees and displaced persons reside in Jordan, most as citizens.


HISTORY

The land that became Jordan is part of the richly historical Fertile Crescent region. Around 2000 B.C., Semitic Amorites settled around the Jordan River in the area called Canaan. Subsequent invaders and settlers included Hittites, Egyptians, Israelites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Arab Muslims, Christian Crusaders, Mameluks, Ottoman Turks, and, finally, the British. At the end of World War I, the League of Nations awarded the territory now comprising Israel, Jordan, the West Bank, Gaza, and Jerusalem to the United Kingdom as the mandate for Palestine and Transjordan. In 1922, the British divided the mandate by establishing the semiautonomous Emirate of Transjordan, ruled by the Hashemite Prince Abdullah, while continuing the administration of Palestine under a British High Commissioner. The mandate over Transjordan ended on May 22, 1946; on May 25, the country became the independent Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan. It ended its special defense treaty relationship with the United Kingdom in 1957.

Transjordan was one of the Arab states which moved to assist Palestinian nationalists opposed to the creation of Israel in May 1948, and took part in the warfare between the Arab states and the newly founded State of Israel. The armistice agreements of April 3, 1949 left Jordan in control of the West Bank and provided that the armistice demarcation lines were without prejudice to future territorial settlements or boundary lines.

In 1950, the country was renamed the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to include those portions of Palestine annexed by King Abdullah I. While recognizing Jordanian administration over the West Bank, the United States maintained the position that ultimate sovereignty was subject to future agreement.

Jordan signed a mutual defense pact in May 1967 with Egypt, and it participated in the June 1967 war between Israel and the Arab states of Syria, Egypt, and Iraq. During the war, Israel gained control of the West Bank and all of Jerusalem. In 1988, Jordan renounced all claims to the West Bank but retained an administrative role pending a final settlement, and its 1994 treaty with Israel allowed for a continuing Jordanian role in Muslim holy places in Jerusalem. The U.S. Government considers the West Bank to be territory occupied by Israel and believes that its final status should be determined through direct negotiations among the parties concerned on the basis of UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.

The 1967 war led to a dramatic increase in the number of Palestinians living in Jordan. Its Palestinian refugee population—700,000 in 1966—grew by another 300,000 from the West Bank. The period following the 1967 war saw an upsurge in the power and importance of Palestinian resistance elements (fedayeen) in Jordan. The heavily armed fedayeen constituted a growing threat to the sovereignty and security of the Hashemite state, and open fighting erupted in June 1970.

No fighting occurred along the 1967 Jordan River cease-fire line during the October 1973 Arab-Israeli war, but Jordan sent a brigade to Syria to fight Israeli units on Syrian territory. Jordan did not participate in the Gulf war of 1990-91. In 1991, Jordan agreed, along with Syria, Lebanon, and Palestinian representatives, to participate in direct peace negotiations with Israel sponsored by the U.S. and Russia. It negotiated an end to hostilities with Israel and signed a peace treaty in 1994. Jordan has since sought to remain at peace with all of its neighbors.


GOVERNMENT

Jordan is a constitutional monarchy based on the constitution promulgated on January 8, 1952. Executive authority is vested in the king and his council of ministers. The king signs and executes all laws. His veto power may be overridden by a two-thirds vote of both houses of the National Assembly. He appoints and may dismiss all judges by decree, approves amendments to the constitution, declares war, and commands the armed forces. Cabinet decisions, court judgments, and the national currency are issued in his name. The king, who may dismiss other cabinet members at the prime minister's request, appoints the council of ministers, led by a prime minister. The cabinet is responsible to the Chamber of Deputies on matters of general policy and can be forced to resign by a two-thirds vote of "no confidence" by that body.

Legislative power rests in the bicameral National Assembly. The number of deputies in the current Chamber of Deputies is 110, with a number of seats reserved for various religions, ethnicities, and women. The Chamber, elected by universal suffrage to a 4-year term, is subject to dissolution by the king. The king appoints the 55-member Senate for a 4-year term.

The constitution provides for three categories of courts—civil, religious, and special. Administratively, Jordan is divided into 12 governorates, each headed by a governor appointed by the king. They are the sole authorities for all government departments and development projects in their respective areas.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 12/19/2005

King: ABDALLAH II
Prime Minister: Maruf al-BAKHIT
Deputy Prime Minister for Political Development: Hisham al-TAL
Deputy Prime Minister: Marwan MUASHER
Min. of Agriculture: Muzahem MUHEISEN
Min. of Awqaf & Islamic Affairs: Abdul Salam al-ABADI
Min. of Culture: Amin MAHMOUD
Min. of Defense: Adnan BADRAN
Min. of Education & Higher Education & Scientific Research: Khalid TOUQAN
Min. of Energy & Mineral Resources: Azmi KHRISAT

Min. of the Environment: Khalid al-IRANI
Min. of Finance: Adel QUDAH
Min. of Foreign Affairs: Farouq KASRAWY
Min. of Health: Saeed DARWAZEH
Min. of Industry & Trade: Sharif al-ZUBI
Min. of Interior: Awni YERFAS
Min. of Justice: Abed SHAKHANBEH
Min. of Labor: Bassim al-SALEM
Min. of Municipal Affairs: Tawfiq KRISHAN
Min. of Planning & International Cooperation: Suhair al-ALI
Min. of Political Development: Hisham al-TAL
Min. of Public Works & Housing: Yusuf HYASAT
Min. of Social Development: AbdUllah OWEIDAT
Min. of Telecommunications & Information Technology: Nadia Helmi al-SAEED
Min. of Tourism & Antiquities: Alia HATOUGH-BOURAN
Min. of Transportation: Saud NSAIRAT
Min. of Water & Irrigation: Munther al-SHARA'A
Min. of State: Mohammad Odeh NAJADAAT
Min. of State for Developing Public Sector Reform: Taiseer al-SAMADI
Min. of State for Legal Affairs: Abed al-SHAKHANBEH
Min. of State for Monitoring Government Performance: Ruwaida MAAITAH
Min. of State for Parliamentary Affairs: Abdulkarim MALAHMEH
Ambassador to the US: Karim Tawfiq KAWAR
Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: ZEID Ra'ad Zeid al-Hussein, Prince

Jordan maintains an embassy in the United States at 3504 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-966-2664).


POLITICAL CONDITIONS

King Hussein ruled Jordan from 1953 to 1999, surviving a number of challenges to his rule, drawing on the loyalty of his military, and serving as a symbol of unity and stability for both the East Bank and Palestinian communities in Jordan. In 1989 and 1993, Jordan held free and fair parliamentary elections. Controversial changes in the election law led Islamist parties to boycott the 1997 elections. King Hussein ended martial law in 1991 and legalized political parties in 1992.

King Abdullah II succeeded his father Hussein following the latter's death in February 1999. Abdullah moved quickly to reaffirm Jordan's peace treaty with Israel and its relations with the U.S. Abdullah, during his first year in power, refocused the government's agenda on economic reform.

Jordan's continuing structural economic difficulties, burgeoning population, and more open political environment led to the emergence of a variety of political parties. Moving toward greater independence, Jordan's Parliament has investigated corruption charges against several regime figures and has become the major forum in which differing political views, including those of political Islamists, are expressed. In June 2001, the King dissolved Parliament. Parliamentary elections were held in June 2003 and municipal elections were held in July 2003. The King dissolved the government in October 2003, appointing a new Prime Minister and ushering in three women and several young technocrats as ministers. The cabinet declared its commitment to accelerated economic and political reforms. In April 2005, the King accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Faisal Al-Fayez and appointed Adnan Badran in his place. The King subsequently approved Badran's formation of a new government, in which a number of key ministerial posts were reshuffled.


ECONOMY

Jordan is a small country with limited natural resources. The country is currently exploring ways to expand its limited water supply and use its existing water resources more efficiently, including through regional cooperation. Jordan also depends on external sources for the majority of its energy requirements. During the 1990s, its crude petroleum needs were met through imports from neighboring Iraq. Since early 2003, oil has been provided by some Gulf Cooperation Council member countries. In addition, a natural gas pipeline from Egypt to Jordan through the southern port city of Aqaba is now operational. The first part connecting Aqaba was completed in 2003. The pipeline was slated to be operational by late 2005 in the north to serve the Amman area and beyond. Since 2000, exports of light manufactured products, principally textiles and garments manufactured in the Qualifying Industrial Zones (QIZ) that enter the United States tariff and quota free, have been driving economic growth. Jordan exported $6.9 million in goods to the U.S. in 1997, when two-way trade was $395 million; it exported $1.02 billion in 2004 and $406 million in the first five months of 2005, with two-way trade at $1.57 billion and $636 million respectively. Similar growth in exports to the United States under the bilateral Free Trade Agreement that went into effect in December 2001, to the European Union under the bilateral Association Agreement, and to countries in the region, holds considerable promise for diversifying Jordan's economy away from its traditional reliance on exports of phosphates and potash, overseas remittances, and foreign aid. The government has emphasized the information technology (IT) and tourism sectors as other promising growth sectors. The low tax and low regulation Aqaba Special Economic Zone (ASEZ) is considered a model of a government-provided framework for private sector-led economic growth.

The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States that went into effect in December 2001 will phase out duties on nearly all goods and services by 2010. The agreement also provides for more open markets in communications, construction, finance, health, transportation, and services, as well as strict application of international standards for the protection of intellectual property. In 1996, Jordan and the United States signed a civil aviation agreement that provides for "open skies" between the two countries, and a U.S.-Jordan treaty for the protection and encouragement of bilateral investment entered into force in 2003. Jordan has been a member of the World Trade Organization since 2000. More information on the FTA is available on www.jordanusfta.com.

Jordan is classified by the World Bank as a "lower middle income country." The per capita GDP, as reported by the Government of Jordan, was $2,164 for 2004, and 13.4% of the economically active population was unemployed at the end of 2004. Education and literacy rates and measures of social well-being are relatively high compared to other countries with similar incomes. Jordan's population growth rate is high, but has declined in recent years, to approximately 2.2% currently according to the 2004 census preliminary results. One of the most important factors in the government's efforts to improve the well-being of its citizens is the macroeconomic stability that has been achieved since the 1990s. Rates of price inflation are expected to increase (the increase in CPI averaged 3.4% for 2004), and the currency has been stable with an exchange rate fixed to the U.S. dollar since 1995.

While pursuing economic reform and increased trade, Jordan's economy will continue to be vulnerable to external shocks and regional unrest. Without calm in the region, economic growth seems destined to stay below its potential.


FOREIGN RELATIONS

Jordan has consistently followed a pro-Western foreign policy and traditionally has had close relations with the United States and the United Kingdom. These relations were damaged by support in Jordan for Iraq during the first Gulf war. Although the Government of Jordan stated its opposition to the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait, popular support for Iraq was driven by Jordan's Palestinian community, which favored Saddam as a champion against Western supporters of Israel.

Following the first Gulf war, Jordan largely restored its relations with Western countries through its participation in the Middle East peace process and enforcement of UN sanctions against Iraq. Relations between Jordan and the Gulf countries improved substantially after King Hussein's death. Following the fall of the Iraqi regime, Jordan has played a pivotal role in supporting the restoration of stability and security to Iraq. The Government of Jordan has facilitated the training of over 20,000 Iraqi police cadets at a Jordanian facility near Amman.

Jordan signed a nonbelligerency agreement with Israel (the Washington Declaration) in Washington, DC, on July 25, 1994. Jordan and Israel signed a historic peace treaty on October 26, 1994, witnessed by President Clinton, accompanied by Secretary Christopher. The U.S. has participated with Jordan and Israel in trilateral development discussions in which key issues have been water-sharing and security; cooperation on Jordan Rift Valley development; infrastructure projects; and trade, finance, and banking issues. Jordan also participates in multilateral peace talks. Jordan belongs to the UN and several of its specialized and related agencies, including the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Meteorological Organization (IMO), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and World Health Organization (WHO). Jordan also is a member of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), Nonaligned Movement, and Arab League.

Since the outbreak of the Intifada in September 2000, Jordan has worked hard, in a variety of fora, to maintain lines of communication between the Israelis and the Palestinians to counsel moderation and to return the parties to negotiations of outstanding permanent status issues.


U.S.-JORDANIAN RELATIONS

Relations between the U.S. and Jordan have been close for over four decades. A primary objective of U.S. policy has been the achievement of a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace in the Middle East.

U.S. policy seeks to reinforce Jordan's commitment to peace, stability, and moderation. The peace process and Jordan's opposition to terrorism parallel and indirectly assist wider U.S. interests. Accordingly, through economic and military assistance and through close political cooperation, the United States has helped Jordan maintain its stability and prosperity.

Since 1952, the United States has provided Jordan with economic assistance totaling more than $9 billion ($1.3 billion in loans and $7.7 billion in grants), including funds for development projects, health care, education, construction to increase water availability, support for microeconomic policy shifts toward a more completely free market system, and both grant and loan acquisition of U.S. agriculture commodities. These programs have been successful and have contributed to Jordanian stability while strengthening the bilateral relationship. U.S. military assistance—provision of material and training—is designed to meet Jordan's legitimate defense needs, including preservation of border integrity and regional stability.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

AMMAN (E) Address: P.O. Box 354, Amman 11118; APO/FPO: APO AE 09892; Phone: +(962) 6 590-6000; Fax: 962-6-592-0163 (Admin); Work-week: Sun-Thurs 0800-1630; Web-site: http://www.usembassy-amman.org.jo.

AMB:David Hale
AMB OMS:Virginia Baldwin
DCM:Daniel Rubinstein
DCM OMS:Mary Dubose
CG:Daniel Goodspeed
CG OMS:Erin Dibiasi
POL:Christopher Henzel
COM:Laurie Farris
CON:Dan Goodspeed
MGT:Perry Adair
AGR:Mohammad Khraishy
AID:Anne Aarnes
APHIS:Mohammad Khraishy
ATF:Robert Goodrich
ATO:Mohammad Khraishy
CLO:Jane Paddock & Cherie Steinkampf
CUS:Greg Lawless
DAO:David MacLean
DEA:Robert Goodrich
ECO:Richard Eason
EEO:Cecilia Blue
EPA:John Whittlesey
EST:John Whittlesey
FAA:Vinay Chawla
FAA/CASLO:Vinay Chawla
FMO:Karen McCarthy
GSO:Calvin Dubose
ICASS Chair:Sheryle Robinson
IMO:Howard Copeland
IPO:Joseph Rizcallah
ISO:Cecilia Blue
ISSO:Tacla Boohaker
LEGATT:Andre Khoury
NAS:John Whittlesey
PAO:Michael Pelletier
RSO:Robert Goodrich
State ICASS:Richard Eason
Last Updated: 12/26/2005

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet

August 15, 2005

Country Description:

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is a constitutional monarchy with a developing economy. While many aspects of Jordanian life are modern and the government is Western-oriented, Islamic ideals and beliefs provide the conservative foundation for the country's customs, laws and practices. Tourist facilities are widely available, although quality may vary depending on price and location. The local workweek for Jordanian government offices and most businesses is Saturday through Thursday.

Entry/Exit Requirements:

A passport and a visa are required. Visitors may obtain a visa for Jordan for a fee at most international ports of entry upon arrival except at the King Hussein/Allenby Bridge. For further information, travelers may contact the Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, 3504 International Drive, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 966-2664, Internet website www.jordanembassyus.org. Foreigners who wish to stay fourteen days or more in Jordan must register at a Jordanian police station by their fourteenth day in the country. In order to register, police will require that an AIDS test be performed at a government medical facility. Failure to properly register subjects the traveler to a fine of 1.5 Jordanian dinar (approximately $2.10) per day of overstay. This fine is usually assessed at departure. Visit the Embassy of Jordan web site at http://www.jordanembassyus.org/ for the most current visa information.

Safety and Security:

The events of September 11, 2001 serve as a reminder of the continuing threat from transnational terrorists and extremist groups to Americans and American interests worldwide.

Recent worldwide terrorist alerts have stated that extremist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks against U.S. interests in the region.

In 2005 Jordanian authorities made a number of arrests of persons charged with plotting to attack Western targets, including tourists. Since late 1999, there has been a series of serious, confirmed terrorist threats and disrupted terrorist plots targeting U.S. interests in Jordan. In April 2004, Jordanian authorities disrupted a plan to attack the U.S. Embassy and Jordanian leadership sites with explosive-laden vehicles. Anti-Western sentiment, though less pronounced since the end of the Gulf War, has been sparked by incidents within the region, particularly those related to Israeli/Palestinian issues and, to a lesser extent, Iraq. An American diplomat was assassinated in October 2002.

The ongoing violence in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza continues to have an impact on the security climate in Jordan. Pro-Palestinian demonstrations have occurred periodically throughout Jordan since violence between Israelis and Palestinians broke out in September 2000. Anti-U.S. sentiments are often in evidence at demonstrations and protests. While these protests are mostly non-violent or effectively contained by local authorities, Americans should avoid traditional gathering places such as universities, refugee camps, and city centers at times of significant political unrest.

U.S. citizens are advised to increase their vigilance as they approach the border area with Iraq. The Jordan/Iraq border crossing was targeted by Iraq-based terrorists utilizing vehicle bombs in December 2004. The Department of State advises against travel into Iraq; see the Travel Warning and Consular Information Sheet for Iraq for further information.

American and U.S. facilities, as well as sites frequented by Americans (including tourist attractions, places of worship, expatriate residential areas, hotels, restaurants, and clubs), may be the target of terrorist groups. In light of these security concerns, U.S. citizens are urged to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness. Special sensitivity and caution should be exercised at religious sites, on holy days and the Friday Muslim sabbath. Modest attire should be worn in deference to local custom. Visitors to Jordan and U.S. citizens who reside in Jordan should be aware of their surroundings, avoid crowds and demonstrations, keep a low profile, vary times and routes for all travel, and contact the U.S. Embassy in case of any change in the local security situation. In addition, U.S. citizens are also urged to avoid contact with any suspicious or unfamiliar objects and to report the presence of such objects to the authorities. Vehicles should be kept locked at all times. U.S. Government personnel overseas have been advised to take the same precautions.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov where the current Travel Warnings and Public Announcements, including the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement and the Middle East and North Africa Public Announcement, can be found. Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or for callers out-side the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Crime:

Crime is generally not a serious problem for travelers in Jordan, but petty crime is prevalent in the downtown Amman Hashimiyah Square area and near the Roman Theater. In the narrow streets of the Old City, crowded conditions invite pickpockets and other petty criminals. It is safer to travel in groups when visiting the center of Amman. Travelers are urged to be more guarded in these areas so that they do not present easy opportunities for criminals. Purse-snatchings in central and western Amman are reportedly on the increase. In several cases, thieves in moving vehicles snatched pedestrians' purses and drove off. In some instances, victims were injured when they were unable to free themselves from their purses. When carrying a purse, it would be wise to conceal it if possible, to avoid walking near the road within reach of passing vehicles, and to walk against the flow of traffic.

Information for Victims of Crime:

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and to U.S. Embassy. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance. The Embassy staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

Medical Facilities and Health Information:

Basic modern medical care and medicines are available in the principal cities of Jordan, but not necessarily in outlying areas. Most hospitals in Jordan, especially Amman, are privately owned. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for services. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's (WHO) web-site at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

Medical Insurance:

The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions:

While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Jordan is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Roads are particularly treacherous during the rainy season, from December to March. Drivers and passengers are required to wear seatbelts and all cars must have a fire extinguisher and warning triangle in the vehicle. Child car seats are not required and generally are not available in Jordan. Violators of speed limits may face fines up to $140. Police routinely pull over reckless drivers as well as those driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Licensed drivers must carry local third party insurance with sufficient coverage for accidents resulting in injury or death. Jordanian Public Safety officials estimate that two people are killed and fifty more are injured in 145 road accidents daily throughout the Kingdom. Poor lighting and road conditions prevail, so extra caution must be exercised at all times, especially when driving at night. Highways are more crowded around the Muslim holidays, when many Jordanians return from their work in the Gulf States. City driving in Amman is more hazardous in the summer months, when many Gulf residents visit Amman and drive using the customs of their countries of origin. Jordan does not have restrictions on women driving and it is not unusual for women to drive alone.

The desert highway outside Aqaba, a popular tourist destination, is particularly dangerous because it is narrow, winding, steep and crowded with trucks. This area should be avoided at night, if possible. Also, when driving in both urban and rural areas, motorists should beware of livestock, including camels, sheep, and goats. Collisions between livestock and automobiles are common.

Land-mines are often located within two miles of military installations and borders, including the popular Dead Sea area. Mine-fields are usually fenced off and marked with skull-and-crossbones notices, but the fences and signs may be in poor repair or hard to see. Avoiding these areas reduces the risk of accidentally setting off a mine.

Jordan has bus and taxi services. Yellow taxis are generally safe for travel in the cities and use meters to determine fares. One may also rent a service car (or livery car) for longer trips, such as to Damascus, Jerusalem, Aqaba, or Petra. The service cars have a good reputation for road safety.

Emergencies should be referred to the Civil Defense Department at telephone number 199 (Jordan's equivalent to 911).

For information on driving regulations, please contact the Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, 3504 International Drive, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 966-2664, Internet website http://www.jordanembassyus.org.

Aviation Safety Oversight:

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Jordan as being in compliance with ICAO international aviation safety standards for oversight of Jordan's air carrier operations.

Special Circumstances:

Travelers may contact the U.S. Embassy in Amman for the latest information on border crossing hours. Israel does not require advance visa issuance for U.S. citizens traveling on tourist passports at any crossing point. U.S. diplomatic and official passport holders are required to obtain an Israeli visa prior to entering Israel. Jordan issues visas at most international border crossings, except at the crossing known in Jordan as the King Hussein Bridge (this same crossing is known in Israel as the Allenby Bridge.) To cross into Jordan at the King Hussein/Allenby Bridge, U.S. citizens must already have either a visa for Jordan in their passports or have an entry permit from the Ministry of Interior. Both Jordan and Israel assess an exit tax for tourists at all border crossings.

American citizens are subject to Jordanian laws while in Jordan. American citizens who also possess Jordanian nationality may also be subject to other laws that impose special obligations on Jordanian citizens.

Although no longer subject to immediate conscription, all U.S.-Jordanian dual national males under the age of 37 are required to register for service in the Jordanian military. Those subject to registration may be prevented from departing Jordan until permission to depart is obtained from appropriate Jordanian authorities. This permission is often granted to U.S. citizens, but may take some time to obtain and is limited to a single trip.

Furthermore, the government of Jordan treats U.S.-Jordanian dual nationals as Jordanian citizens and sometimes may not notify the Embassy of arrests, detentions, or accidents involving dual nationals. For this reason, dual nationals in particular are encouraged to carry a copy of their U.S. passports with them at all times so that, if questioned by local officials, evidence of identity and U.S. citizenship are readily available.

There have been isolated incidents of sexual harassment, assault and unwelcome advances of a sexual nature against Western women both visiting and residing in Jordan. These incidents, while troubling, are not pervasive. Women are advised to use common sense and to take reasonable precautions, including dressing conservatively and not traveling alone.

Under Jordanian law, husbands may prevent their wives and children from leaving Jordan by placing a hold on their travel with the Jordanian authorities. This is true even if the woman's sole nationality is American.

Islam is the state religion of Jordan. The Jordanian government does not interfere with public worship by the country's Christian minority. Although the majority of Christians are allowed to practice freely, activities such as proselytizing or encouraging conversion to the Christian faith are prohibited as they are considered legally incompatible with Islam. It is illegal for a Muslim to convert to Christianity. In the past, American citizens have been detained or arrested for discussing or trying to engage Jordanians in debate about Christianity.

Jordanian customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Jordan of items such as drugs, firearms, poisons, chemicals, explosives and pornographic materials, among other items. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Jordan in Washington, D.C., or one of the Jordanian consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements.

In many countries around the world, counterfeit and pirated goods are widely available. Transactions involving such products are illegal and bringing them back to the United States may result in forfeitures and/or fines.

The United States government is committed to providing the full range of consular services to all American citizens. Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, to which Jordan is a party, provides that competent authorities in the host country must notify a consular post of the arrest of one of its citizens without delay. However, Jordanian officials often do not notify the U.S. Embassy when an American citizen, particularly a dual national, is arrested or detained.

Criminal Penalties:

While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Jordanian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Jordan are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in illicit sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States. For more information, please refer to http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1467.html.

Children's Issues:

For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children's Issues website at http://travel.state.gov/family/family_1732.html.

Registration/Embassy Location:

Americans living or traveling in Jordan are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy through the State Department's travel registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Jordan. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the U.S. Embassy. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy in Amman is located on Al-Umayyaween Street, Abdoun, P.O. Box 354. The telephone number is [962](6) 590-6000 and the fax number is [962](6) 592-4102. The after-hours emergency telephone number is [962](6) 590-6000. The Internet website is http://amman.usembassy.gov. The U.S. Embassy is open Sunday through Thursday.

International Adoption

January 2006

The information below has been edited from a report of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Overseas Citizens Services. For more information, please read the International Adoption section of this book and review current reports online at www.travel.state.gov/family.

Disclaimer:

The information in this flyer relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is based on public sources and our current understanding. Questions involving foreign and U.S. immigration laws and legal interpretation should be addressed respectively to qualified foreign or U.S. legal counsel.

Questions involving interpretation of U.S. immigration and orphan requirements should be addressed to the U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Availability of Children for "Adoption":

Jordanian government statistics reflect that seven Jordanian children were "adopted" by U.S. citizens between January 2000 and June 2003. As Islam is the official religion of Jordan, adoption procedures follow Islamic practice. Islam does not recognize the term "adoption," nor does it allow a child to take the family name of a non-biological parent, i.e., an "''adoptive" parent. Legally, all official parties use the terms "fostering" or "legal custody." In Jordan, these terms are used inter-changeably with the non-Islamic term "adoption." Under Islam, no child may be put up for "adoption" if one or both parents or a relative, however distant, is known. Therefore, the only children available for adoption are those for whom there are no known relatives. An abandoned child, who is the responsibility of the Government of Jordan (GOJ), is placed and cared-for in an MSD (Ministry of Social Development) orphanage. Abandoned children are not available for "adoption."

Jordanian Adoption Authority:

"Adoption" in Jordan falls under the purview of the Ministry of Social Development (MSD).

Ministry of Social Development
Family and Childhood Section / Fostering Program
P.O. Box 925379
Jabal Al Hussein
Amman, Jordan
Fax 962-6-569-4953
or 962-6-569-4346

Age and Civil Status Requirements:

By law, all adoptive parents must be Muslim and married for five or more years. The husband must be between 35 and 55 years of age and the wife must be between 30 and 50 years of age. Parents must be medically certified as infertile. They may have up to two children total, including adopted children. If the parents have one child already, then the adopted Jordanian child must be of the same sex. Parents who have previously adopted in Jordan must wait a minimum of two years before adopting another child of the same sex from Jordan. Single people cannot "adopt" children in Jordan.

Residency Requirements:

There are no Jordanian residency requirements for prospective adoptive parents.

Time Frame:

The MSD reports that adoptive parents can expect to wait an average of three months from the time they initiate contact with the MSD to when they are given custody of a child. Once a child has been identified, an IR-4 immigrant visa can be processed in a minimum of one week by the Embassy, though processing can run concurrently with the MSD procedure.

Adoption Agencies and Attorneys:

There are no adoption agencies in Jordan. The Embassy maintains a list of numerous attorneys practicing in Jordan.

Country Fees:

MSD does not charge any fees. However, adoptive parents can expect to pay fees for the baby's birth certificate, passport, and family book issuance. (A "Family Book" is a document issued by the Jordanian government to families, which contains biographical information about each member of the family.)

Jordanian Adoption Procedures:

Regardless of nationality, all couples are required to apply to the MSD to qualify to become foster parents. The pre-qualification process is similar to those in most U.S. states. To begin this process, prospective adoptive parents are asked to submit a fostering request to the MSD. Requests should be sent by fax or letter to: Ministry of Social Development.

This request should include the following information: name, age, profession, and religion of both parents. Contact information, including full mailing address, must be provided. Once the MSD has received and processed the request, it will direct the Jordanian Embassy in Washington (through the Foreign Ministry) to request additional documentation from the prospective foster parents.

Parents must submit the following documents as part of their request to "adopt": a copy of the marriage certificate, a copy of each parent's valid passport, and a "social study" (forms will be provided through the Jordanian Embassy). The parents' employer(s) must provide detailed information about their income, employment status, etc. Original doctor's reports about the health of the parents must also be provided, including medical proof of the parents' infertility. If either or both of the parents are converts to Islam, a copy of the conversion certificate must be provided. All of these documents must be translated into Arabic and certified by the Jordanian Embassy in Washington, which will forward them to the MSD (through the Foreign Ministry).

There are no court proceedings involved with adoption in Jordan. MSD is the only entity that grants "adoption." According to the precepts of Islam and the laws of Jordan governing the "adoption" of infants of unknown parentage, the "adoptive" parents are permitted to choose the first name of the child. The Ministry of Interior, Department of Civil Status chooses four fictitious names for the mother and father, which along with the child's first name are placed on the Jordanian birth certificate. Parents'' names, which are chosen at random and do not identify with any common Jordanian family or tribal names, are required for issuance of a Jordanian birth certificate. The child, per Jordanian law, will carry the names of the fictitious father. Once a birth certificate has been issued, the child is also issued a Jordanian "Family Book" and a Jordanian Passport. At this point, the "adoptive" parents may petition for an immigrant visa for their child at the U.S. Embassy in Amman, Jordan.

After the child has immigrated to the U.S., adoptive parents are required to inform the nearest Jordanian embassy or consulate of any change in address. This facilitates the follow up that the MSD performs for all adopted Jordanian children abroad.

Documentary Requirements for Jordanian Adoption:

The following documents are required:

  • Copies of the marriage certificate;
  • Copies of each parent's valid passport;
  • "social study" (forms will be provided through the Jordanian Embassy);
  • Employment letters;
  • Original health reports of both parents, including medical proof of the parents' infertility; and
  • If applicable, copy of the conversion certificate to Islam.

All of these documents must be translated into Arabic and certified by the Jordanian Embassy in Washington, which will forward them to the MSD (through the Foreign Ministry).

Authentication Process:

All U.S. documents submitted to the Jordanian government, such as birth, death, and marriage certificates, must be authenticated. Contact the nearest Jordanian Embassy or Consulate for specific information about Jordanian authentication of U.S. documents. For additional information about authentication procedures, see the Judicial Assistance page of the Bureau of Consular Affairs Web site at http://travel.state.gov.

Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan:

3504 International Drive, NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
Phone: (202) 966-2664
Fax: (202) 966-3110

U.S. Immigration Requirements:

A child adopted by a U.S. citizen must obtain an immigrant visa before he or she can enter the U.S. Jordanian children "adopted" by U.S. citizens are issued IR-4 visas. Please see the International Adoption section of this book for more details and review current reports online at travel.state.gov/family.

U.S. Embassy in Jordan:

The Consular Section is located at:

U.S. Embassy in Amman
P.O. Box 354
Amman 11118 Jordan
Phone: 962-6-592-0101
Fax: 962-6-592-4102
E-mail: [email protected]
Internet: http://amman.usembassy.gov/

Prospective adoptive parents are advised to read the Public Announcement for the Middle East and North Africa before traveling to Jordan.

Additional Information:

Prospective adoptive parents are strongly encouraged to consult BCIS publication M-249, The Immigration of Adopted and Prospective Adoptive Children, as well as the Department of State publication, International Adoptions. The BCIS publication is available at the U.S. CIS Web site.

Questions:

Specific questions regarding adoption may be addressed to the Consular Section of a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad. Parents may also contact the Office of Children's Issues, U.S. Department of State, CA/OCS/CI, 2201 C Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20520-4818, toll-free tel: 1-888-404-4747 with specific questions.

views updated

JORDAN

Compiled from the November 2003 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.




Official Name:
Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan




PROFILE
PEOPLE
HISTORY
GOVERNMENT
POLITICAL CONDITIONS
ECONOMY
FOREIGN RELATIONS
U.S.-JORDANIAN RELATIONS
TRAVEL


PROFILE


Geography

Area: 89,544 sq. km. (34,573 sq. mi.).

Cities: Capital—Amman (pop. 1.9 million). Other cities —Irbid (281,000), Az-Zarqa (421,000).


People

Nationality: Noun and adjective—Jordanian(s).

Population: (est.) 5.4 million.

Religions: (est.) Sunni Muslim 95%, Christian 4%, Other 1%

Languages: Arabic (official), English.

Education: (2001) Literacy—90%.

Health: (2003) Infant mortality rate—19/1,000. Life expectancy—71 yrs.

Ethnic groups: Mostly Arab but small communities of Circassians, Armenians, and Kurds.

Work force: (1.36 million) Services—83%; industry—13%; agriculture—5%.


Government

Type: Constitutional monarchy.

Independence: May 25, 1946.

Constitution: January 8, 1952.

Branches: Executive—king (chief of state), prime minister (head of government), council of ministers (cabinet). Legislative—bicameral National Assembly (appointed Senate, elected Chamber of Deputies). Judicial —civil, religious, special courts.

Political parties: Wide spectrum of parties legalized in 1992.

Suffrage: Universal at 18.

Administrative subdivisions: Twelve governorates—Irbid, Jarash, Ajloun, al-'Aqaba, Madaba, al-Mafraq, al-Zarqa, Amman, al-Balqa, al-Karak, al-Tafilah, and Ma'an.


Economy

GDP: (2002 est.) $9.3 billion.

Annual growth rate: (2002 est.) 4.9%.

Per capita GDP: (2001 est.) $1,755.

Natural resources: Phosphate, potash.

Agriculture: Products—fruits, vegetables, wheat, olive oil. Land—4% arable.

Industry: (25% of GDP) Types—phosphate mining, manufacturing, cement and petroleum production, and construction.

Trade: (2002 est.) Exports—$2.2 billion: chemicals, phosphates, potash, textiles and garments, agricultural products, manufactures. Major markets—U.S., Iraq, India, Saudi Arabia, Syria, U.A.E., Israel, Lebanon, China. Imports—$4.5 billion: machinery, transportation equipment, food and live animals, petroleum products, and chemicals. Major suppliers—U.S., Iraq, Japan, U.K., Syria, Turkey, EU, Japan, China.

Note: From 1949 to 1967, Jordan administered that part of former mandate Palestine west of the Jordan River known as the West Bank. Since the 1967 war, when Israel took control of this territory, the United States has considered the West Bank to be territory occupied by Israel. The United States believes that the final status of the West Bank can be determined only through negotiations among the parties concerned on the basis of UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.




PEOPLE

Jordanians are Arabs, except for a few small communities of Circassians, Armenians, and Kurds which have adapted to Arab culture. The official language is Arabic, but English is used widely in commerce and government. About 70% of Jordan's population is urban; less than 6% of the rural population is nomadic or seminomadic. Most people live where the rainfall supports agriculture. About 1.5 million Palestinian Arabs registered as refugees and displaced persons reside in Jordan, most as citizens.


HISTORY

The land that became Jordan is part of the richly historical Fertile Crescent region. Its history began around 2000 B.C., when Semitic Amorites settled around the Jordan River in the area called Canaan. Subsequent invaders and settlers included Hittites, Egyptians, Israelites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Arab Muslims, Christian Crusaders, Mameluks, Ottoman Turks, and, finally, the British. At the end of World War I, the League of Nations as the mandate for Palestine and Transjordan awarded the territory now comprising Israel, Jordan, the West Bank, Gaza, and Jerusalem to the United Kingdom. In 1922, the British divided the mandate by establishing the semiautonomous Emirate of Transjordan, ruled by the Hashemite Prince Abdullah, while continuing the administration of Palestine under a British High Commissioner. The mandate over Transjordan ended on May 22, 1946; on May 25, the country became the independent Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan. It ended its special defense treaty relationship with the United Kingdom in 1957.


Transjordan was one of the Arab states which moved to assist Palestinian nationalists opposed to the creation of Israel in May 1948, and took part in the warfare between the Arab states and the newly founded State of Israel. The armistice agreements of April 3, 1949 left Jordan in control of the West Bank and provided that the armistice demarcation lines were without prejudice to future territorial settlements or boundary lines.


In 1950, the country was renamed the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to include those portions of Palestine annexed by King Abdullah. While recognizing Jordanian administration over the West Bank, the United States maintained the position that ultimate sovereignty was subject to future agreement.


Jordan signed a mutual defense pact in May 1967 with Egypt, and it participated in the June 1967 war between Israel and the Arab states of Syria, Egypt, and Iraq. During the war, Israel gained control of the West Bank and all of Jerusalem. In 1988, Jordan renounced all claims to the West Bank but retained an administrative role pending a final settlement, and its 1994 treaty with Israel allowed for a continuing Jordanian role in Muslim holy places in Jerusalem. The U.S. Government considers the West Bank to be territory occupied by Israel and believes that its final status should be determined through direct negotiations among the parties concerned on the basis of UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.

The 1967 war led to a dramatic increase in the number of Palestinians living in Jordan. Its Palestinian refugee population—700,000 in 1966—grew by another 300,000 from the West Bank. The period following the 1967 war saw an upsurge in the power and importance of Palestinian resistance elements (fedayeen) in Jordan. The heavily armed fedayeen constituted a growing threat to the sovereignty and security of the Hashemite state, and open fighting erupted in June 1970.


No fighting occurred along the 1967 Jordan River cease-fire line during the October 1973 Arab-Israeli war, but Jordan sent a brigade to Syria to fight Israeli units on Syrian territory. Jordan did not participate in the Gulf war of 1990-91. In 1991, Jordan agreed, along with Syria, Lebanon, and Palestinian representatives, to participate in direct peace negotiations with Israel sponsored by the U.S. and Russia. It negotiated an end to hostilities with Israel and signed a peace treaty in 1994. Jordan has since sought to remain at peace with all of its neighbors.




GOVERNMENT

Jordan is a constitutional monarchy based on the constitution promulgated on January 8, 1952. Executive authority is vested in the king and his council of ministers. The king signs and executes all laws. His veto power may be over ridden by a two-thirds vote of both houses of the National Assembly. He appoints and may dismiss all judges by decree, approves amendments to the constitution, declares war, and commands the armed forces. Cabinet decisions, court judgments, and the national currency are issued in his name. The king, who may dismiss other cabinet members at the prime minister's request, appoints the council of ministers, led by a prime minister. The cabinet is responsible to the Chamber of Deputies on matters of general policy and can be forced to resign by a two-thirds vote of "no confidence" by that body.

Legislative power rests in the bicameral National Assembly. The number of deputies in the current Chamber of Deputies is 110, with a number of seats reserved for various religions, ethnicities, and a women's quota. The Chamber, elected by universal suffrage to a 4-year term, is subject to dissolution by the king. The king appoints the 40-member Senate for an 8-year term.


The constitution provides for three categories of courts—civil, religious, and special. Administratively, Jordan is divided into 12 governorates, each headed by a governor appointed by the king. They are the sole authorities for all government departments and development projects in their respective areas.


Principal Government Officials
Last Updated: 10/27/03


King: Abdallah II,

Crown Prince: Hamzah,

Prime Minister: al-Fayez, Faisal

Deputy Prime Minister: Halaiqa, Mohammad

Min. of Administrative Development: Zu'bi, Fawwaz

Min. of Agriculture: Nasser, Hazen

Min. of Defense: al-Fayez, Faisal

Min. of Education: Touqan, Khalid

Min. of Energy & Mineral Resources: Khreisat, Azmi

Min. of Environment: Hattough-Bouran, Alia Min. of Finance: Abu Hammour, Mohammad

Min. of Foreign Affairs: Muasher, Marwan

Min. of Health: Darwazeh, Saeed

Min. of Higher Education & Scientific Research: Zabalawi, Issam

Min. of Industry & Trade: Halaiqa, Mohammad

Min. of Information Technology: Zu'bi, Fawwaz

Min. of Interior: Habashneh, Samir

Min. of Islamic Affairs: Hilayel, Ahmad

Min. of Justice: Bashir, Salah

Min. of Labor: Majali, Amjad

Min. of Municipal Affairs: Farhan, Amal

Min. of Political Development: Daoudiyeh, Mohammad

Min. of Parliamentary Affairs: Daoudiyeh, Mohammad

Min. of Planning & International Cooperation: Awadallah, Bassem

Min. of Public Works & Housing: Abu Saud, Raed

Min. of Social Development: Abu Karaki, Riyad

Min. of Tourism & Antiquities: Hattough- Bouran, Alia

Min. of Transport: Abu Saud, Raed

Min. of Water & Irrigation: Nasser, Hazen

Min. of State & Government Spokesperson: Khader, Asma

Min. of State for Cabinet Affairs: Bashir, Salah

Ambassador to the US:

Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Zeid al-Hussein, Zeid Ra'ad, Prince


Jordan maintains an embassy in the United States at 3504 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-966-2664).




POLITICAL CONDITIONS

King Hussein ruled Jordan from 1953 to 1999, surviving a number of challenges to his rule, drawing on the loyalty of his military, and serving as a symbol of unity and stability for both the East Bank and Palestinian communities in Jordan. In 1989 and 1993, Jordan held free and fair parliamentary elections. Controversial changes in the election law led Islamist parties to boycott the 1997 elections. King Hussein ended martial law in 1991 and legalized political parties in 1992.

King Abdullah II succeeded his father Hussein following the latter's death in February 1999. Abdullah moved quickly to reaffirm Jordan's peace treaty with Israel and its relations with the U.S. Abdullah, during the first year in power, refocused the government's agenda on economic reform.


Jordan's continuing structural economic difficulties, burgeoning population, and more open political environment led to the emergence of a variety of political parties. Moving toward greater independence, Jordan's Parliament has investigated corruption charges against several regime figures and has become the major forum in which differing political views, including those of political Islamists, are expressed. In June 2001, the King dissolved Parliament. Parliamentary elections were held in June 2003 and municipal elections were held in July 2003. The King dissolved the government in October 2003, appointing a new Prime Minister and ushered in an unprecedented three women and several young technocrats as ministers. The cabinet declared its commitment to accelerated economic and political reforms.




ECONOMY

Jordan is a small country with limited natural resources. The country is currently exploring ways to expand its limited water supply and use its existing water resources more efficiently, including through regional cooperation. Jordan also depends on external sources for the majority of its energy requirements. During the 1990s, its crude petroleum needs were met through imports from neighboring Iraq. Since early 2003, oil has been provided by some Gulf Cooperation Council member countries. In addition, a natural gas pipeline from Egypt to the southern port city of Aqaba was completed in 2003. The government plans to extend this pipeline north to the Amman area and beyond. Since 2000, exports of light manufactured products, principally textiles and garments manufactured in the Qualifying Industrial Zones (QIZ) that enter the United States tariff and quota free, have been driving economic growth. Jordan exported $11 million in goods to the U.S. in 1990, when two-way trade was $298 million; it exported $412 million in 2002 with two-way trade at $817 million. Similar growth in exports to the United States under the bilateral Free Trade Agreement that went into effect in December 2001, to the European Union under the bilateral Association Agreement, and to countries in the region, holds considerable promise for diversifying Jordan's economy away from its traditional reliance on exports of phosphates and potash, overseas remittances, and foreign aid. The government has emphasized the information technology (IT) and tourism sectors as other promising growth sectors. The low tax and low regulation Aqaba Special Economic Zone (ASEZ) is considered a model of a government-provided framework for private sector-led economic growth.

The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States that went into effect in December 2001 will phase out duties on nearly all goods and services by 2010. The agreement also provides for more open markets in communications, construction, finance, health, transportation, and services, as well as strict application of international standards for the protection of intellectual property. In 1996, Jordan and the United States signed a civil aviation agreement that provides for "open skies" between the two countries, and a U.S.-Jordan treaty for the protection and encouragement of bilateral investment entered into force in 2003. Jordan has been a member of the World Trade Organization since 2000.


Jordan is classified by the World Bank as a "lower middle income country." The per person GDP is approximately $1,755 and rates of poverty and unemployment remain high. Education and literacy rates and measures of social well-being are


relatively high compared to other countries with similar incomes. Jordan's population growth rate is high, but has declined in recent years, to approximately 2.7% currently, the average for the region. One of the most important factors in the government's efforts to improve the well-being of its citizens is the macroeconomic stability that has been achieved since the 1990s. Rates of price inflation are negligible and the currency has been stable with an exchange rate fixed to the U.S. dollar since 1995.

While pursuing economic reform and increased trade, Jordan's economy will continue to be vulnerable to external shocks and regional unrest. Without calm in the region, economic growth seems destined to stay below its potential.




FOREIGN RELATIONS

Jordan has consistently followed a pro-Western foreign policy and traditionally has had close relations with the United States and the United Kingdom. These relations were damaged by support in Jordan for Iraq during the first Gulf war. Although the Government of Jordan stated its opposition to the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait, popular support for Iraq was driven by Jordan's Palestinian community, which favored Saddam as a champion against Western supporters of Israel.

Following the first Gulf war, Jordan largely restored its relations with Western countries through its participation in the Middle East peace process and enforcement of UN sanctions against Iraq. Relations between Jordan and the Gulf countries improved substantially after King Hussein's death. Following the fall of the Iraqi regime, Jordan has played a pivotal role in supporting the restoration of stability and security to Iraq. The Government of Jordan signed a memorandum of understanding with the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq to facilitate the training of up to 30,000 Iraqi police cadets at a Jordanian facility.


Jordan signed a nonbelligerency agreement with Israel (the Washington Declaration) in Washington, DC, on July 25, 1994. Jordan and Israel signed a historic peace treaty on October 26, 1994, witnessed by President Clinton, accompanied by Secretary Christopher. The U.S. has participated with Jordan and Israel in trilateral development discussions in which key issues have been water-sharing and security; cooperation on Jordan Rift Valley development; infrastructure projects; and trade, finance, and banking issues. Jordan also participates in the multilateral peace talks. Jordan belongs to the UN and several of its specialized and related agencies, including the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Meteorological Organization (IMO), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and World Health Organization (WHO). Jordan also is a member of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), Nonaligned Movement, and Arab League.


Since the outbreak of the Intifadah in September 2000, Jordan has worked hard, in a variety of fora, to maintain lines of communication between the Israelis and the Palestinians to counsel moderation and to return the parties to negotiations of outstanding permanent status issues.


U.S.-JORDANIAN RELATIONS

Relations between the U.S. and Jordan have been close for four decades. A primary objective of U.S. policy has been the achievement of a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace in the Middle East.


U.S. policy seeks to reinforce Jordan's commitment to peace, stability, and moderation. The peace process and Jordan's opposition to terrorism parallel and indirectly assist wider U.S. interests. Accordingly, through economic and military assistance and through close political cooperation, the United States has helped Jordan maintain its stability and prosperity.


Since 1952, the United States has provided Jordan with economic assistance totaling more than $2 billion, including funds for development projects, health care, support for macroeconomic policy shifts toward a more completely free market system, and both grant and loan acquisition of U.S. agricultural commodities. These programs have been successful and have contributed to Jordanian stability while strengthening the bilateral relationship. U.S. military assistance—provision of materiel and training—is designed to meet Jordan's legitimate defense needs, including preservation of border integrity and regional stability.


Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

Amman (E), P.O. Box 354, Amman 11118 Jordan • APO AE 09892-0200, Tel [962] (6) 592-0101, direct line to Post 1 [962](6)592-2500; AID Tel 592-0101, Fax 592-0143; EXEC/POL Fax 592-0159; ADM Fax 592-0163; CON Fax 592-4102; ECO Fax 592-7653; COM Fax 592-0146; PAO Fax 592-0121; MAP Fax 592-0160. Website: www.usembassy-Amman.org.jo



AMB: Edward W. Gnehm, Jr.
AMB OMS: Betty C. Taylor
DCM: Gregory L. Berry
POL: Douglas A. Silliman
ECO: Thomas H. Goldberger
COM: Enrique Ortiz
CON: Leslie R. Hickman
MGT: Thomas M. Young
RSO: Todd J. Brown
PAO: Haynes R. Mahoney
IRM: Ernest R. Olivarez
MAP/DAO: COL Richard G. Reynolds
RMO: Scott M. Kennedy
FBIS: Deborah S. Whitaker
RAO: Peter C. Mc Devitt
LEGATT: Wayne H. Zaideman
AID: Toni Christiansen-Wagner
PC: Darcy E. Neill
AGR: Asif Shaudhry (res. Cairo)
IRS: Frederick Pablo (res.Rome)
FAA: Gregory Joyner (res. Rome)
DEA: Bernard J. Lawrence III (res. Nicosia)

Last Modified: Wednesday, September 24, 2003




TRAVEL


Consular Information Sheet
December 12, 2003


Country Description: The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is a constitutional monarchy with a developing economy. While Jordan is modern and Western-oriented, Islamic ideals and beliefs provide the conservative foundation of the country's customs, laws and practices. Tourist facilities are widely available, although quality may vary depending on price and location. The local workweek for Jordanian government offices and most businesses is Saturday through Thursday. The U.S. Embassy in Amman is open Sunday through Thursday.


Entry and Exit Requirements: A passport and a visa are required. Visitors may obtain a visa for Jordan for a fee at most international ports of entry upon arrival except at the King Hussein/Allenby Bridge. For further information, travelers may contact the Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, 3504 International Drive, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 966-2664, Internet website www.jordanembassyus.org. Foreigners who wish to stay fourteen days or more in Jordan must register at a Jordanian police station by their fourteenth day in the country. Failure to do so subjects the traveler to a fine of one Jordanian dinar (approximately $1.40) per day of overstay. This fine is usually assessed at departure.


For information regarding Jordan's entry requirements for travelers coming from SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) infected areas, please contact the nearest Jordanian Embassy or Consulateor visit the U.S. Embassy's website at http://www.usembassy-amman.org.jo.


In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian if not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/departure. (Please refer to section on Children's Issues.) Additionally, women may need their husband's permission to leave Jordan (please refer to section on Sexual Harassment of Women).


Travel Between Jordan And Israel: Travelers may contact the U.S. Embassy in Amman for the latest information on border crossing hours. Israel does not require advance visa issuance for U.S. citizens traveling on tourist passports at any crossing point. U.S. diplomatic and official passport holders are required to obtain an Israeli visa prior to entering Israel. Jordan issues visas at most international border crossings, except the King Hussein/Allenby Bridge. To cross into Jordan at the King Hussein/Allenby Bridge, U.S. citizens must already have either a visa for Jordan in their passports or have an entry permit from the Ministry of Interior. Both Jordan and Israel assess an exit tax for tourists at all border crossings. Note: "King Hussein" and "Allenby" denote the same crossing point, which is referred to by Jordan as the King Hussein Bridge and by Israel as the Allenby Bridge.

Dual Nationality: In addition to being subject to all Jordanian laws affecting U.S. citizens, individuals who also possess the nationality of Jordan may also be subject to other laws that impose special obligations on citizens of that country. Although no longer subject to immediate conscription, all U.S.-Jordanian dual national males under the age of 37 are required to register for service in the Jordanian military. Those subject to registration may be prevented from leaving Jordan until permission to do so is obtained from appropriate Jordanian authorities. This permission is often granted to U.S. citizens, but may take some time to obtain and is limited to one trip only.


Consular assistance to dual nationals may be limited in some instances. For instance, Jordanian officials do not usually notify the U.S. Embassy when a dual citizen is arrested or detained. For additional information, see the Consular Affairs home page on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov for our Dual Nationality flyer.


Safety and Security: Visitors to Jordan are urged to review the most recent Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, and Middle East and North Africa Public Announcement (see below). The events of September 11, 2001 serve as a reminder of the continuing threat from transnational terrorists and extremist groups to Americans and American interests worldwide, and specifically in Jordan, where a U.S. diplomat was assassinated in October 2002.


Recent worldwide terrorist alerts have stated that extremist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks against U.S. interests in the region. Therefore, American and U.S. facilities, as well as sites frequented by Americans (including tourist spots, places of worship, residential areas, hotels, restaurants, and clubs), may be the target of terrorist groups. In light of these security concerns, U.S. citizens are urged to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness. Special sensitivity and caution should be exercised at religious sites, on holy days and the Friday Muslim Sabbath. Modest attire should be worn in deference to local custom.

The ongoing violence in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza continues to have an impact on the security climate in Jordan. Pro-Palestinian demonstrations have occurred periodically throughout Jordan since violence between Israelis and Palestinians broke out in September 2000. Anti-U.S. sentiments are often in evidence at demonstrations and protests. At such times, Americans should avoid traditional gathering places such as universities, refugee camps, and city centers.


Visitors to Jordan and all U.S. citizens who reside in Jordan should maintain a strong security posture by being aware of surroundings, avoiding crowds and demonstrations, keeping a low profile, varying times and routes for all required travel, and notifying the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate in case of any change in the local security situation. In addition, U.S. citizens are also urged to avoid contact with any suspicious, unfamiliar objects, and to report the presence of the objects to local authorities. Vehicles should not be left unattended, if at all possible, and should be kept locked at all times. U.S. Government personnel overseas have been advised to take the same precautions. Suspicious activities, individuals, or vehicles should be reported to the U.S. Embassy or nearest Consulate General.


For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet website at http://travel.state.gov where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Middle East and North Africa Public Announcement, as well as Travel Warnings and other Public Announcements can be found.


Sexual Harassment Of Women: There have been isolated incidents of sexual harassment, assault and unwelcome advances of a sexual nature against western women, both visiting and residingin Jordan.

These incidents, while troubling, are not pervasive. However, women are advised to use common sense and to take reasonable precautions: dress conservatively and do not travel alone. Under Jordanian law, husbands may prevent their wives and children from leaving Jordan by placing a hold on their travel with the Jordanian authorities. This is true even if the woman's only nationality is American.


Proselytizing: Islam is the state religion of Jordan. The government does not interfere with public worship by the country's Christian minority. Although the majority of Christians are allowed to practice freely, some activities, such as proselytizing or encouraging conversion to the Christian faith—both considered legally incompatible with Islam—are prohibited. It is illegal for a Muslim to convert to Christianity. In the past, American citizens have been detained or arrested for discussing or trying to engage Jordanians in debate about Christianity. Furthermore, the U.S. Embassy is often not notified by Jordanian authorities when an American citizen has been arrested.


Crime: Crime is generally not a serious problem for travelers in Jordan, but petty crime is prevalent in the downtown Amman Hashimiyah Square area and near the Roman Theater. In the narrow streets of the Old City, crowded conditions invite pickpockets and other petty criminals. It is safer to travel in groups when visiting the center of Amman.


The loss or theft of a U.S. passport abroad should be reported immediately to local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

U.S. Citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlets, A Safe Trip Abroad and Tips for Travelers to the Middle East and North Africa, or ways to promote a trouble-free journey. They are available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.gpoaccess.gov, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.


Medical Facilities: Basic modern medical care and medicines are available in the principal cities of Jordan, but not necessarily in outlying areas. Most hospitals in Jordan, especially Amman, are privately owned. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for services. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars.


Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs incurred outside the United States unless supplemental coverage is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas including emergency services such as medical evacuations.


When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical evacuation to the U.S. may cost well in excess of $50,000. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme difficulties. When consulting with your insurer prior to your trip, ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare provider or if you will be reimbursed later for expenses you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.

Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure, Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page.


Other Health Information: Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-887-FYI-TRIP (877-394-8747), fax, 1-888-CDC-FA XX (888-232-3299) or via CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/iht.


Information on SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) may be obtained at http://travel.state.gov/sars_announce.html.


Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Jordan is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance:


Safety of Public Transportation: Fair Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Good

Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair

Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor


Roads are particularly treacherous during the periods of rain, from December to March. Drivers and passengers are required to wear seatbelts and all cars must have a fire extinguisher and warning triangle in the vehicle. Child car seats are not required and generally are not available in Jordan. The police exercise strict enforcement of speed limits. Violators of speed limits may face fines up to $140.00. Police routinely pull over reckless drivers as well as those driving under the influence. Licensed drivers must carry local third party insurance with sufficient coverage for accidents resulting in injury or death. Jordanian Public Safety officials estimate that two people are killed and fifty more are injured in 145 road accidents daily throughout the Kingdom.


Extra caution must be exercised at all times, especially when driving at night, because of poor lighting and road conditions. Land mines are often located within two miles of military installations and borders, including the popular Dead Sea area. Mine fields are usually fenced off and marked with signs carrying a skull and crossbones, but the fences and signs may be in poor repair or hard to see. Avoiding these areas reduces the risk of accidentally setting off a mine. Highways are more crowded around the Muslim holidays, when many Jordanians return from their work in the Gulf States. Also, city driving in Amman is more hazardous in the summer months, when many Gulf residents visit Amman. Jordan does not have restrictions on women driving and it is not unusual for women to drive alone.


The desert highway outside Aqaba, a popular tourist destination, is particularly dangerous because it is narrow, winding, steep and crowded with trucks. This area should be avoided at night, if possible. Also, when driving in rural areas, motorists should be cautious when there are herds of camels along the roads as there are often collisions between camels and cars.


Jordan has bus and taxi services. Yellow taxis are generally safe for travel in the cities and use meters to determine fares. One may also rent a service car (or livery car) for longer trips, such as to Damascus, Jerusalem, Aqaba, or Petra. The service cars have a good reputation for road safety.

Emergencies should be referred to Civil Defense Department at telephone number 199 (Jordan's equivalent to 911).


For additional general information about road safety, including links to foreign government sites, see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html. For specific information concerning Jordanian driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact the Jordan National Tourist Organization offices in New York via the Internet at http://www.seejordan.org.


Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Jordan's civil aviation authority as Category 1 - in compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Jordan's air carrier operations. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's Internet website at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa.


The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact the DOD at (618) 229-4801.


Customs Regulations: Jordanian customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Jordan of items such as drugs, firearms, poisons, chemicals, explosives and pornographic materials, among other items. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Jordan in Washington, D.C., or one of the Jordanian consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens are subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Jordanian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Jordan are strict and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.


Consular Access: U.S. citizens are encouraged to carry a copy of their U.S. passports with them at all times, so that, if questioned by local officials, proof of identity and U.S. citizenship are readily available. In accordance with Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, to which Jordan is a party, competent authorities in the host country must notify a consular post of the arrest of one of its citizens without delay. As stated previously, Jordanian authorities generally do not report arrests of dual nationals to the U.S. Embassy.


Children's Issues: Child custody decisions are made in religious courts. Jordan does not recognize dual nationality, regardless of the child's place of birth or the mother's citizenship. Therefore, the child of a Jordanian father is considered to be Jordanian.


For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, please refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov /children' s_ issues.html or telephone the Overseas Citizen Services Call Center at 1-888-407-4747. The OCS call center can answer general inquiries regarding international adoptions and abductions, and will forward calls to the appropriate country officer in the Bureau of Consular Affairs. This number is available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Callers who are unable to use toll-free numbers, such as those calling from overseas, may obtain information and assistance during these hours by calling 1-317-472-2328.


Currency Information: Major hotels and travel agencies accept international credit cards. ATM machines are available and disperse local currency. There are money-changers at the airport, major hotels, and urban areas.


Registration and Embassy Location: Americans living in or visiting Jordan are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Jordan and obtain updated information on travel and security with in Jordan. The U.S. Embassy in Amman is located at Abdoun, P.O. Box 354. The telephone number is [962](6) 592-0101 and the fax number is 592-4102. The after-hours emergency telephone number is [962](6) 592-0120. The Internet website is http: //amman.usembassy.gov/. The U.S. Embassy workweek is Sunday through Thursday. The Embassy's website is http://amman.usembassy.gov/. Citizens can register online.


International Parental Child Abduction

The information below has been edited from the report of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, American Citizen Services. For more information, please read the Guarding Against International Child Abduction section of this book and review current reports online at travel.state.gov


General Information: Jordanian laws regarding divorce and custody of minor children are adjudicated in religious courts. If the marriage partners are Muslim, disputes will be resolved before a Sharia court judge who will apply principles of Islamic law. In the case of Christians, the court will be an Ecclesiastical Court composed of clergymen from the appropriate religious community. For Christians, the law will be derived from principles governing family status in the Greek Orthodox Church, Roman Catholic Church or other Christian denominations.

Child Custody Law: In both theory and practice, Muslim and Christian courts in Jordan differ very little in how they resolve disputes over the custody of children of divorced or separated parents. The relevant laws all give priority for custodianship to the mother as long as certain restrictive conditions are met. In Muslim courts, this right of custody extends to the natural mother until the children reach 18 years of age. In cases where custody of small children is granted to a woman other than the mother, custody reverts to the father when a boy reaches age nine and a girl reaches age eleven. Christian courts will generally award custody to the mother until the children come of age.


In actual practice, the conditions placed on the mother's primary right to custody often enable the father to maintain a great deal of influence on the rearing of the children even though he may not have legal custody. For example, travel restrictions exist in Jordan. The mother must seek the father's approval to travel with the children. Frequently, he is actually able to assume legal custody against the wishes of the mother, when she is unable or unwilling to meet the conditions set by law for her to maintain her right to custody of the children.


A mother can lose her primary right to custody of a child in a number of ways. The court can determine that she is incapable of safeguarding the child or of bringing the child up in accordance with the appropriate religious standards. The mother can void her right to custody by re-marrying or by residing in a home with people that might be "strangers" to the child. The mother may not deny visitation rights to the father or the paternal grandfather and may not travel outside Jordan with the child without their approval and the approval of the court. In general, a Jordanian man divorcing his non-Jordanian wife will be awarded legal custody of their children by showing that any of the above conditions may not be met to the satisfaction of the court.

Right of Visitation: In cases where the father has custody of a child, the mother is guaranteed visitation rights. It has been the experience of the Embassy in Amman that the father and the paternal grandparents of the child are generally very open and accommodating in facilitating the right of the mother to visit and maintain contact with the child.


Enforcement of Foreign Orders: Custody orders and judgments of foreign courts are not enforceable in Jordan if they potentially contradict or violate local laws and practices. For example, an order from a U.S. court granting custody to an American mother will not be honored in Jordan if the mother intends to take the child to the United States and live outside of Jordan. Nor will Jordanian courts enforce a U.S. court decree ordering a parent in Jordan to pay for child support since Jordanian law states that the parent with custody is responsible for providing financial support for the child.


Parental Child Abduction: Child abduction is a serious offense in Jordan. Any person, including a parent, who abducts a child in order to deprive the legal guardian of custody, or to unlawfully obtain custody and remove a child from Jordan, faces a prison sentence of three months to three years and a fine. A mother may also face serious legal difficulties if she attempts to take her children out of Jordan without the permission of the father. Border officials may ask to see such permission in writing before allowing children to exit.


PLEASE NOTE: American citizens who travel to Jordan place themselves under the jurisdiction of Jordanian courts. If a Jordanian parent chooses to remain in Jordan or leave a child behind in Jordan, the U.S.

Embassy cannot force either the parent or the Jordanian Government to return the child to the United States, nor is it possible in most cases to extradite a Jordanian parent to the United States for parental child abduction. American citizens planning a trip to Jordan with dual national children should bear this in mind.

Embassy of Jordan

3504 International Drive, NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
Phone: (202) 966-2664
Fax: (202) 966-3110

U.S. Embassy in Amman

P.O. Box 354
Amman 11118 Jordan

Phone: 962-6-592-0101
Fax: 962-6-592-4102
Internet: www.usembassy-amman.org.jo

views updated

JORDAN

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

Major Cities:
Amman

Other Cities:
Irbid, Jerash, Maān, Zarqa

EDITOR'S NOTE

This chapter was adapted from the Department of State Post Report dated February 1995. Supplemental material has been added to increase coverage of minor cities, facts have been updated, and some material has been condensed. Readers are encouraged to visit the Department of State's web site at http://travel.state.gov/ for the most recent information available on travel to this country.

INTRODUCTION

From as long ago as the Bronze Age, JORDAN has been a crossroads of the world. It is a mosaic of cultures, the spiritual capital of three great religionsChristianity, Islam, and Judaismand today, a miracle of modern urbanization, with over half of the country's population clustered around the cities of Amman, Zarqa, and Irbid.

Jordan evokes images of the Bedouin, of Lawrence of Arabia, of spectacular deserts, and of warriors on camels. It has been home to a multitude of peoples and remains the repository of their relics. Canaanite cities, Roman and Byzantine palaces, Muslim shrines, and Crusader castles are all to be found in this land of contrasts. Here, the mountains rise in places to 5,700 feet and, at the Dead Sea, the earth falls nearly 1,300 feet below sea level. The mystery of the nomadic desert life and the splendor of ancient cities meet in Jordan. The nation is blessed with few natural resources, yet has compensated for this need with an increasingly educated population which has gone forth to fill professional and managerial needs throughout the Middle East.

MAJOR CITY

Amman

Amman, the capital of Jordan with a population of 1.3 million, is spread out over many steep hills. With an elevation ranging from about 2,450 to 2,950 feet above sea level, the city has a growing population of over one million. Here, in biblical times, was Rabbath Ammon, capital of the Ammonites, who were the descendants of Lot. The pharaoh, Ptolemy II, Philadelphus of Egypt (285-247B.C.), ruled the city; he rebuilt it and renamed it Philadelphia.

Beginning in 63 B.C., the city fell under Roman rule. Before that time, it had flourished as a member of the league of free cities known as the Decapolis. Briefly revived in the eighth century under the Ummayyad Arabs, the entire country deteriorated in the ninth century when the Arab capital moved from Damascus to Baghdad. During the Middle Ages, Amman was no more than a tiny village. It became the capital of Transjordan in 1921 and, today, is a major city, with new construction everywhere and constantly increasing traffic and noise.

Most city activity centers around the government. Amman is Jordan's principal trading center, the main clearing point for commercial goods, and the hub of manufacturing activity. The city grew rapidly after the Arab-Israeli wars of 1948 and 1967; following each war, large numbers of Palestinian Arab refugees and displaced persons from the West Bank became residents.

Amman's climate is moderate. Summer temperatures on the residential jebels (hills) range from 80°F to 95°F, but rarely exceed 100°F; the atmosphere is dry and even the summer evenings are usually cool. Many days are windy, and dust clouds occasionally blow in from the dry hillsides and nearby desert. Little rain falls from mid-April to mid-November. In winter, temperatures seldom go below 32°F, but the cold is penetrating, the wind frequently strong, and houses are difficult to heat. Rain falls often in January and February. Snow falls occasionally and even a moderately light snow can temporarily disrupt traffic and communications.

Education

Several schools in Amman are suitable for English-speaking students, including two nursery schools and a day-care center.

The American Community School was established in 1957 to provide a U.S. curriculum for American children in the city. It is primarily supported by tuition payments, but also receives assistance from the U.S. Department of State. Although most of the students are American, there are also children of other nationalities. The school year runs from late August until early June, and regular classes are augmented by instruction in music, sports, dancing, and other extracurricular activities. A choice of French, Spanish, or Arabic is offered, starting in fifth grade.

American Community School has an excellent curriculum, with high standards of instruction and achievement. Information is available from the U.S. Embassy in Amman.

The Amman Baccalaureate School was established in 1981 and offers a U.K., Jordanian, and International Baccalaureate type of curriculum, although there are some Americans enrolled in the school, and on staff.

Private schools in Amman offer English instruction in certain subjects in grades 10 and 11 only. Their school year extends from September through May. The College de La Salle, a Catholic school for boys, offers European history, physics, English literature and grammar, and mathematics. The Bishop School for Boys, which has been in operation since 1936, has courses in English grammar, literature, and history, plus physics, chemistry, and biology.

At the Ahliyya School for Girls, instruction is available in chemistry, physics, English literature and grammar, European history, art, and biology.

Several nursery schools (with day care) are available to Americans. Enrollment is international, and instruction is by English-speaking teachers. Openings are limited and waiting lists are long.

The University of Jordan is an accredited institution offering English-language instruction in the following fields: English literature, science, medicine, and a new course in classical Arabic taught especially for nonnative speakers of that language. The university also offers courses outside the degree-granting program; several foreign students are enrolled in these courses.

Archaeology is one of Jordan's most interesting activities. The presence in Amman of the American Center for Oriental Research gives focus to archaeological pursuits, and a group called the

Friends of Archaeology sponsors field trips and lectures.

A number of courses are taught at the YWCA in Amman, including music and Arabic. Dance is taught at the American Community School as an extracurricular activity.

Recreation

Jordan has a good network of main and secondary roads and a sufficient number of gasoline stations. For long car trips, tourists should fill gas tanks and take along plenty of boiled drinking water or bottled mineral water. Travel to areas not on or near the main highways is difficult, but not impossible; main roads have been improved considerably in the past few years. Good places to visit include:

  • Ajlun, with the forest and medieval ruins of the fort of Qal'at al-Rabad, a military fortress built in the 12th century as a defense against Crusader armies.
  • Aqaba, Jordan's only seaport, which has good swimming, scuba diving, and water-skiing. Hotel accommodations are available.
  • Kerak (Al-Karak), a Moabite town having one of the finest Crusader castles in the Middle East. The town, called Le Crac des Moabites (by the Crusaders), was taken by Saladin late in the 12th century and by the Turks two centuries later. The restorations have made it an accessible and popular tourist spot. Kerak has about 10,000 residents today, including a number of Christian families whose origins lie in Crusader times.
  • Madaba, where a sixth-century mosaic map of Palestine can be found in the Greek Orthodox Church. Other Mosaics are also open for viewing.
  • Mount Nebo, from where, overlooking the Dead Sea, Moses is said to have viewed the Promised Land. Mosaic finds here are excellent.
  • Petra, a unique city carved by the Nabateans (of the ancient land of Arabia) out of sheer red sandstone cliffs. Visitors ride on horseback through the Siq, the Silent City's mysterious approach, for about 45 minutes. Roman ruins are also located here.
  • Qasr el-Amra, where a castle at Azraq (Qasr el-Azraq) near this site was used by Umayyad caliphs, and has early frescoes recently restored.
  • Damascus, a colorful city with a rich history, a three-to four-hour drive from Amman, including stops at the Jordanian-Syrian border. It has a wonderful, inexpensive bazaar and an excellent museum. In late summer of each year, an international fair is held. Hotels are adequate, but rooms are in short supply during this period.

There are many opportunities for active sports in Jordan. Scuba diving, snorkeling, and deep-sea fishing facilities are available at the port city Aqaba, and there is freshwater fishing at Wadi Ziglab and Azraq. No hunting is allowed at the present time.

Three sports clubsAl Hussein Youth City (or Sports City), the Orthodox Club, and the Royal Automobile Clubare open to foreign membership. Single male membership, however, is not permitted in these organizations.

Several hotels have swimming pools and health clubs. The Royal Racing Clubs sponsors horse and (occasionally) camel races in spring and summer.

Entertainment

A semiprofessional theatrical group present productions in English and Arabic. Workshops for children and adults are conducted throughout the year. Amman also has an amateur theater group which performs regularly. Concerts are usually presented by one of the foreign cultural associations such as the Royal Cultural Center, the British Council, the American Center, the Goethe Institute, or the Haya Arts Center. They also offer classes for adults and children in dancing, aerobics, art, language, and handicrafts. Many of these centers operate lending libraries. Local cinemas feature films in English (Hollywood productions) and Arabic. There are four modern movie theaters.

The Jerash Festival of Cultural and Arts takes place for two weeks each summer in the ruins of the ancient Greco-Roman city north of Amman. The festival offers international, regional, and local performances of drama, music, and dance as well as art displays, handicraft exhibitions, and children's activities. The festival is open to the public from afternoon until midnight.

The restaurants most frequented by foreigners serve either continental, Chinese, or Middle Eastern food. There are also American-style fast-food places. Music for dancing, discos, and even floor shows, are available at the Intercontinental, Holiday Inn, Marriott, Regency Palace, Amra, and San Rock hotels, as well as at a few nightclubs. The various sports clubs maintain restaurants for members and their guests.

The U.S. community participates in Rotary and Lions Clubs, both of which have active chapters in Amman. There also is a broad program of scouting for boys and girls.

OTHER CITIES

IRBID is a bustling industrial and agricultural hub in the extreme north, 53 miles northwest of Amman. This governorate capital of 260,000 residents lies near the Yarmūk River, which supplies irrigation for the fertile local fields and feeds numerous springs. Yarmūk University, founded here in 1976, is a multi-faceted, bilingual institution. English and Arabic are used in schools that range from arts and sciences to veterinary medicine. Irbid was the home for Bronze Age settlers, and is thought to have been a part of a Hellenistic league around the first century A.D.

JERASH is located north of Amman, less than an hours drive through the hills of ancient Gilead. The old provincial city has preserved some of the finest sites of its ancient Greco-Roman heritage. It is believed that the area has been inhabited since Neolithic times. Between the 1st century BC and the 3rd century AD, the city was part of Emperor Pompey's Decapolis, a ten-city commercial league of the Middle East. Today, the city of about 144,000 is the second largest tourist site in the country.

One of the most famous sights is the Triumphal Arch. The Arch once marked the grand entrance to the city. Now, however, the city entrance is through the South Gate, which leads directly to the Oval Plaza beneath the Temple of Zeus. Behind the Temple is the famous Hippo-drome, or South Theatre, built in the 2nd century, that seats about 3000 people. This theatre hosts the annual Jerash Festival of Culture and Arts that usually takes place in July. At the festival, visitors will enjoy a variety of cultural entertainment that includes music, plays, and dances. From the theater, a 660 meter long, column-lined street leads to the magnificent Temple of Artemis.

Walking tours take visitors through a variety of markets, temples, fountains, baths, gateways and other structures with beautifully preserved art and architecture. Tour programs are generally offered in one of four languages: French, English, German and Arabic.

Just north of Jerash, through pine forests and olive groves, you can visit the medieval town of Ajlun, which offers stunning examples of Arab and Islamic architecture. Qala'at Ar-Rabad, or Ajlun Castle, was built here in the 12th century by the nephew of Saladin, Usama Ibn Munqich. It served as a military fort and buffer to protect the region from invading Crusader forces.

There are not many places to stay in Jerash. Many visit the city on a day trip from Amman or Ajlun, which also has a few good hotels.

MAĀN is the capital of Maān Governorate, situated 60 miles south of the Dead Sea. The city of 31,000 serves as a departure point for excursions to the ancient ruins of Petra, 19 miles to the northwest. Maān lies on a major highway and is the southern terminus of a narrow-gauge railroad. Territorial status of the region was disputed from after World War I until 1965, when Saudi Arabia accepted placement of the Maān area within Jordan. Bedouin tribes inhabit this diffusely settled mountainous area.

ZARQA (also spelled Az-Zarkā') is an industrial city of 491,000, located 12 miles northeast of Amman. This was once the home of the handsome, proud Circassian people, and the former headquarters of the Arab League. Zarqa should not be confused with Zarqa Ma'in, a mineral springs center southeast of Amman.

COUNTRY PROFILE

Geography and Climate

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is located in the heart of the Middle East and the Arab World. It is bounded on the north by Syria, on the east by Saudi Arabia and Iraq, on the south by Saudi Arabia and the Gulf of Aqaba, and on the west by Israel. It covers an area of approximately 35,000 square miles. Its size approximates that of the State of Indiana.

Most of Jordan's borders do not follow well-defined or natural features of the terrain. Rather, they were established by various international agreements, and, with the exception of the border with Israel, there are no major disputes. The precise delineation of the Jordanian-Israeli border is a key aspect of ongoing bilateral negotiations. In the 1967 war, the West Bank of the Jordan River, which Jordan had annexed in 1949, came under Israeli occupation. In 1988, King Hussein relinquished Jordan's claim to administrative control of the West Bank.

The country's terrain varies. On the eastern desert plateau, average elevation is 3,000 feet; in the west, mountains rise to 5,700 feet; and at the Dead Sea, terrain drops to the Earth's lowest land point of some 1,300 feet below sea level. Although historically an earthquake-prone region, no severe shocks have been recorded for several centuries.

Jordan's countryside offers a diversity of climate and scenery. Within easy driving distance of the capital city of Amman, one can visit Irbid's temperate highlands, Ajlun's majestic hills, the fertile Jordan Valley, the southern sandstone mountains, and the arid desert of the eastern plateau.

Inadequate rainfall is a chronic problem. Rainfall usually occurs only from November to April; the rest of the year has bright sunshine daily and low humidity. In the spring, a desert wind brings higher temperatures; daytime summer temperatures can be hot, but nights are usually pleasant, cool, and dry. Autumn is long and pleasant; winter often brings light snow to the mountains and to Amman; and spring carpets the country's grazing lands with beautiful wildflowers.

Population

Jordan has been home to many successive civilizations. Each group introduced new elements into the country's religion, language, and architectureinfluences that are still seen today. Except for the Crusader period, Jordan has remained under Arab rule from the 7th century to the beginning of the 16th century by which time the Turkish Ottoman Empire had expanded to include many Arab Middle Eastern countries.

Predominately Arab and Moslem, the population of Jordan today is 5.2 million. The 1948 influx of Palestinian Arab refugees, the 1967 postwar waves of displaced persons from across the Jordan River, and the 1991 "returnees" from the Gulf States have resulted in a population nearly evenly divided between "East Bankers" and Palestinians. Several of the first wave of Palestinian refugees and displaced persons were given Jordanian citizenship, and, today, hold prominent government, commercial, and professional positions. The well over 200,000 refugees who still live in camps run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) are not as assimilated into the Jordanian economy. In the aftermath of the Gulf War, an estimated 250,000 or more Palestinians and Jordanians returned to the country, increasing the country's population by 8 percent.

The population represents a mixture of traditions. To be a Bedouin, or to come from Bedouin stock, is a matter of pride for many Jordanians. They are known as people of strong character, with a deep sense of family and tribal pride. Harsh desert conditions have spawned a well-developed code of hospitality that is still expressed toward one another and toward foreigners.

In the wake of the Russian conquest of the Caucasus, a non-Arab Sunni Moslem minority, the Circassians, settled in Jordan. Despite their relatively small numbers, they have long been important in government, business, and similar pursuits. Today, Circassian families are prominent in land owning, commerce, the military, and industry.

Numbering roughly 6 percent, Christians form the largest non-Moslem category of Jordan's population. The principal points of concentration of the East Bank's indigenous Christians are the towns of al-Karak, Madaba, al-Salt, and Ajlun. Most of Jordan's Christian population are Eastern Orthodox, with large numbers of Roman Catholics as well. The kingdom's several Protestant communities have resulted generally from American and European missionary activities.

There are also small communities of non-Christian minority groups, which include the Druze, the Samaritans, and the Bahais.

Jordan's population continues to grow steadily at a rate of more than 3 percent. The population is also becoming more and more urbanized, with more than 50 percent of the people living in the three main cities of Amman, Zarqa, and Irbid.

In general, Jordanians are courteous, friendly, and dignified in their relations with Westerners. Many speak excellent English and are well educated, often having studied in the U.S. or at American institutions, such as the American University of Beirut. Although sometimes critical of U.S. Middle East policy, Jordanians, on a personal level, like Americans and treat them in a friendly and respectful manner.

Public Institutions

According to the 1952 Constitution, Jordan is a hereditary monarchy, in which the King forms and dismisses governments, may dissolve Parliament, and is the ultimate arbiter of domestic and foreign policy. The current King is Abdulla bin al-Huseein II.

The King sets the broad parameters of foreign and domestic policy, while the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers manage daily affairs. In recent years, the Parliament, consisting of an appointed 40-member Senate and a popularly elected 80-member Lower House has been seeking to assert greater influence over policy. The ending of martial law in 1992 contributed to the creation of a climate in which Jordanians feel relatively free to express their political views.

Government organization is centralized, with authority and resources almost entirely in the hands of the national government. National government ministries regulate, supervise, and provide public services. Local autonomy and self-government are not highly developed, although many municipalities and villages have elected councils.

Municipalities are organized into 12 Governorates, headed by a "Muhafiz" or Governor appointed by the King and Cabinet. In some cases, the Governorates are divided into subdistricts, overseen by appointed district officers who have the power to supervise and regulate affairs and who report to the National Ministry for Municipal, Rural, and Environmental Affairs.

The General Intelligence and Public Security Directorates have broad responsibility for internal security and wide powers to monitor segments of the population that may pose a threat to the security of the regime.

Since April 1989, when riots in the southern city of Ma'an led the government to speed up plans to hold parliamentary elections, Jordan has taken important steps toward political reform and greater respect for human rights. Jordan held free and open elections for the Lower House in 1989 and 1993. Government-ordered changes to the election law, following Parliament's dissolution in August 1993, angered fundamentalist Islamists and extreme leftists, who blamed the change for their losses at the polls in November.

Jordan is a member of the Arab League, the Organization of Islamic Conference, and the U.N.

Arts, Science, and Education

In 1921 when the Emirate of Transjordan was created, educational facilities consisted of 25 religious schools that provided a narrow, tradition-oriented education. Today, the Ministry of Education estimates that nearly one person out of three in the kingdom is a student in one of the thousands of schools offering varied curriculums.

Because so many Jordanians place great value on educational opportunities for their children as a means of self-improvement and a way to develop a responsible citizenry, much of the Arab World looks to Jordan as a source of educated skilled workers and a provider of educational services.

Public education is free and compulsory through grade 10. Secondary education through grade 12 is provided by both academic and vocational high schools for those primary school graduates with the highest scholastic achievement. Students follow a standardized curriculum that heavily emphasizes rote memorization. All students must take the "Tawjihi" examination at the end of their 12th year in school. The score on this exam is the major determinant of each student's educational future in Jordan.

At the post-secondary level, Jordan has students enrolled in many community colleges. Students who attend community colleges are those whose Tawjihi scores are not high enough to permit them to enter one of five universities.

The country's first university, the University of Jordan, has a beautiful campus in the suburbs of Amman, with an expanding curriculum, including agriculture, arts, science, medicine, dentistry, law, physical education, education, administrative sciences, nursing, and "sharia" (Islamic Law).

Jordan's second largest university, Yarmouk, is located in the northern city of Irbid. Yarmouk's curriculum focuses on liberal arts.

The Jordan University of Science and Technology, a relatively new institution, has programs in medicine, engineering, and technology.

Mu'tah University was founded in 1981 as a military college, and a civilian wing was added in 1986. In the past 5 years, it has grown into the third largest university in the country. It is located in the southern city of Kerak and draws most of its pupils from the region south of Amman. The largest department is English Language and Literature.

A fifth public university, al-Elbait, opened in September 1994. Located in the northern city of Mafraq, al-Elbait University presents a general curriculum in an atmosphere of "progressive Islamic values."

In comparison with other developing countries, Jordan has a high proportion of university graduates. Since only a small number of those students who are seeking higher education can be accommodated in one of Jordan's four public universities or in other state-operated institutions of higher education, many study abroad, especially in the U.S.

A new phenomenon began in 1990, with the creation of Amman National University, a private university system. These institutions will absorb many of the students who are now qualified for higher education but unable to gain public university seats or afford education in the West.

Unfortunately, students today are finding that their employment opportunities have worsened. The previously abundant job market in the Gulf has virtually disappeared, and the domestic economy cannot absorb all the graduates that are currently being produced. Many foreign workers from the Gulf have returned to Jordan, exacerbating an already bad economic situation.

Jordan has a fledgling but growing commitment to the arts, which are considered an important part of social development. The Ministry of Culture and National Heritage heads a varied program of art exhibitions and other activities, while private efforts are continually expanding. The Queen Noor Foundation actively promotes the arts, as well as other social concerns. With the assistance of the U.S. Information Service (USIS), the Queen Noor Foundation has established the National Music Conservatory of Jordan, which now provides instruction for students of piano and wind and string instruments. Another Queen Noor Foundation project, the Jerash Festival of Arts and Culture, has become an internationally recognized event that draws numerous performing groups to Jordan during July each year. The Jordan National Gallery boasts the finest collection of contemporary Arab art in the world. The Royal Cultural Center offers exhibits, stage presentations, and special-film programs and concerts by artists from the U.S. and other countries.

Commerce and Industry

Jordan is a small country with limited natural resources. Water is scarce; only about 10 percent of the land is arable. Rock phosphate, potash, and fertilizer are traditional exports and major sources of hard currency. Despite substantial development of the private sector since the mid-1970s, Jordan depends heavily on the outside world for energy, manufactured and consumer goods, and food.

Fueled by high levels of remittances by Jordanians working in the Gulf and financial aid from Arab States during the oil boom, Jordan's economy grew by an average of 10 percent a year between 1974 and 1982, with large increases in real investment and per capita income. This inflow of income allowed Jordan to develop its infrastructure, industries, and agriculture, and to expand government services. When the flow of money began to disappear in the mid-1980s, Jordan continued its expansion programs and, by 1988, had accumulated a foreign debt of more than $8.3 billion. As foreign exchange dwindled, the overvalued Jordanian dinar fell under pressure and was devalued in October 1988, realizing a 45 percent depreciation. When the government took steps to cut subsidies and increase revenues through commodity price increases, rioting broke out in the economically depressed south.

In part due to the riots, Jordan concluded a standby arrangement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 1989, which included austerity measures and economic reforms. Other debt-rescheduling agreements were concluded or were being negotiated when Iraq invaded Kuwait. The Gulf Crisis cost Jordan several billion dollars from the loss of remittances, the suspension of aid from Arab countries, costs associated with the influx of refugees from Iraq and Kuwait, reduced shipping revenues from Aqaba Port, the decline of tourism, and the closing of export markets in Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Additionally, more than 250,000 Palestinians and Jordanians returned to Jordan from the Gulf, increasing the country's population by about 8 percent and straining government services and infrastructure. Jordan received some $1.32 billion in emergency financial assistance from Western countries, primarily Germany and Japan. These funds, however, were not enough to rebuild the economy, only to offset the crisis.

The influx of returnees from the Gulf brought benefits to Jordan as well. The savings they transferred into the kingdom helped fuel a 2-year real estate and building boom that lasted until mid-1993. Aggregate consumption demand increased, and store shelves were once again filled with consumer goods. Per capita income rose in 1992 for the first time since the devaluation of the dinar. Economic growth slowed, however, in late 1993. Many economic problems remain from the 1980s, including high unemployment. The large balance-of-trade deficit declined somewhat in 1994.

The post-Gulf War environment brought great changes to Jordan's economy. Industries, such as pharmaceuticals and garments grew rapidly and exploited new export markets. Amman showed signs of developing into a regional service center for health care and education as new hospitals and schools were established. The returnees from the Gulf brought skills that were in short supply in Jordan in fields such as computer software development and marketing.

The government has taken steps to ease its high debt burden and reform its economy. It successfully completed a 2-year standby arrangement with the IMF in 1994 and entered into a 3-year extended fund facility, which requires the government to implement an agenda of sectorial reform. The government has signed two debt-rescheduling agreements, covering most of Jordan's bilateral creditors that will restructure most of the kingdom's foreign debt. Foreign aid will still be required, in the near future, for Jordan to meet its obligations and implement development projects.

In 2000, Jordan became a member of the World Trade Organization, and it 2001 it became the fourth nation to establish a Free Trade Agreement with the U.S. Both are likely to positivity influence the economy, which has been growing slightly over 1% each year.

Jordan has entered into a period of unprecedented economic challenge and opportunity. The structural reform program is putting more pressure on the private sector to serve as the engine for economic growth. With its well-developed infrastructure and highly trained workforce, Jordan's economy would benefit from a reduction of Middle East tensions. Until there is calm, however, the country will not likely reach its economic potential.

Transportation

Local

Taxis (painted yellow) are available, but can be difficult to obtain in some residential areas, especially during off-hours, Fridays, and holidays. Most are now metered, and costs for trips within Amman are reasonable. Local buses and "service" or group taxis (painted white) are also available. However, because both of these operate on fixed routes and tend to be quite crowded, most Embassy employees use the individual metered taxis for travel within Amman. Generally, the taxis are in good condition, and the drivers speak sufficient English to understand simple directions. However, there have been some reports (lately) that, due to the large influx of people following the Gulf War, there are many drivers with no knowledge of the English language. Employees would be well served to learn simple Arabic phrases, such as: "Stop," "Turn left or right," etc. It is customary for men to ride in the front and women and small children in the rear.

For travel outside the city limits of Amman and to places outside of Jordan, such as Damascus (popular for shopping), many Embassy employees hire a "service." This can be done through most of the major hotels in the city.

Due to traffic hazards and road conditions, the Mission advises against making out-of-town trips after dark or in inclement weather.

Regional

Royal Jordanian Airlines (RJ) is the national carrier. With a fleet of modern planes, it maintains scheduled flights to New York, Montreal, New Delhi, Cairo, the Gulf, Athens, Rome, Paris, London, Bangkok, Singapore, and other major cities. Other Arab airlines, as well as British Airways, Air France, KLM, Alitalia, and Aeroflot operate to and from Amman. No American airline flies to Jordan now, but connections with TWA, American Airlines, United, or Delta can be made via London, Cairo, Frankfurt, Rome, Amsterdam, Paris, and other cities.

Communications

Telephone and Telegraph

Dependability of connection and service is good. Long-distance service (direct dial) via satellite linkup to the U.S. and to most European cities is excellent. Calls made from the U.S. to Jordan cost less than calls made from Jordan to the U.S.

FAX machines are common in Jordan.

Radio and TV

Radio Jordan broadcasts in English on AM and FM mediumwave, as well as shortwave for about 17 hours a day. Popular, classical, and Western music are featured, as well as talk shows and newscasts. FM reception of classical music programs from Jerusalem is possible for much of the day. Voice of America (VOA) and BBC broadcasts in English are available on medium-wave during part of the day; at other times, shortwave reception is best.

Jordan has a government-owned TV station. Limited English-language programming is available throughout the day. European-system TV sets (PAL) are required.

Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals

An English-language newspaper, the Jordan Times, is published in Amman daily (except Fridays). The International Herald Tribune, USA Today, and the main British dailies are for sale locally 1 or 2 days late. Time and Newsweek, as well as British and other European magazines, are on sale locally at high prices.

Paperbacks are available locally at more than double U.S. prices. The selection of hardcover books is limited. The USIS American Center has a library where books can be borrowed, at no charge, with a membership card. The British Council maintains a library as does the American Women of Amman, both open to the public for a modest fee.

Health and Medicine

Medical Facilities

Physicians are available for medical and surgical care, including obstetrics and pediatrics. Generally, they are either British or American trained. The al-Khalidi Hospital, a private modern hospital located near Amman's Third Circle, has an emergency room staffed 24 hours daily. It handles most emergencies and after-hours medical problems, illnesses, or accidents. There is a modern, medical laboratory near al-Khalidi Hospital.

The King Hussein Medical Center, also located in Amman, is another good facility. Under its auspices is the Queen Alia Heart Institute, which can be used for cardiac cases; the Farah Rehabilitation Center has a modern burn unit.

Dental care is good, and most orthodontic treatments are available. As with all local medical care in Jordan, the costs are lower than in the U.S.

Community Health

Endemic communicable diseases, including infectious hepatitis, typhoid, meningitis, TB, and schistosomiasis are found among the local population. They can be controlled by observing normal practical precautions, such as filtering and boiling drinking water, careful washing and soaking of fruits and vegetables, watching what you eat in restaurants, not swimming in fresh water, and regular immunizations, such as gamma globulin, typhoid, and meningitis. However, even these efforts will not eliminate completely the occasional case of intestinal disorders, such as amoebic dysentery and giardia lamblia.

Few outbreaks of cholera have occurred in Jordan in recent years. The country has also seen occasional outbreaks of polio and meningococcal meningitis. When such outbreaks occur, the Ministry of Health moves fast to contain the outbreaks and to keep the public informed. Malaria is not a problem in Jordan.

Dry, dusty weather, however, complicates lung, sinus, and other respiratory problems and may make wearing contact lenses uncomfortable. Many people suffer from allergies, especially in the spring.

Medical supplies are good, generally of Jordanian, American, British, French, German, or Swiss origin. Except for U.S. brands, medicines are often less expensive than in the U.S. If specific medicines are required, bring enough supplies until they can be secured locally. Contact lens wearers should bring eye-drops and cleaning solutions, because these can be difficult and expensive to obtain here.

Preventive Measures

Strict sanitation in the home regarding food and water is the best defense against disease. Filter and boil drinking water for 10 minutes. Local, good-quality pasteurized milk is normally available (the Jordan and Danish Dairies are recommended). Do not eat uncooked vegetables or salads without taking proper cleaning precautions and avoid locally made pastries and desserts sold by street vendors.

Children and adults should be immunized against tetanus, typhoid fever, polio, meningitis, and hepatitis B before arriving in Jordan. In addition, children should be immunized against whooping cough and diphtheria. Gamma globulin shots are recommended for protection against hepatitis for all adults and children over 12. Cholera boosters are optional. Adults should have oral polio boosters updated. Rabies can be a problem, so Mission personnel should be vaccinated against the disease before arriving at post and avoid contact with stray animals after arrival in country. (Also, vaccinate your pet.)

LOCAL HOLIDAYS

Jan. 1 New Year's Day

Jan. 15 Arbor Day

May 25Jordanian Independence Day

June 9 King Abdullah's Accession to the Throne

June 10 Great Arab Revolt & Army Day

Nov. 14King Hussein's Birthday

Ramandan*

Id al-Fitr*

Id al-Adha*

Mawlid al Nabi*

*Variable, based on the Islamic calendar

NOTES FOR TRAVELERS

TWA and other U.S. carriers provide flights to several European and Middle Eastern cities for connections to Amman. Many international carriers fly into Jordan.

Passports and visas are necessary for entry. Short-term visas (one to two weeks) are available at no charge on arrival in Amman. Persons whose passports contain Israeli visas or entry stamps are admitted only under special circumstances, and with great difficulty.

No vaccinations are required by Jordan. It should be noted, though, that there is some malaria risk in rural areas of the Jordan River Valley and the Kerak lowlands.

At present, pets are not quarantined in Jordan. To enter the country, all dogs and cats must have current health certificates and have been vaccinated against rabies not less than 30 days, nor more than 12 months, before entry. It is recommended that pets be isolated from Muslim guests.

Roman Catholic, Anglican, and nondenominational Protestant services are available in Amman in English, as are Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Greek Catholic, and Protestant services in Arabic. The nondenominational Amman International Church has a full-time pastor. There are two American Jesuit priests attached to the Pontifical Mission for Palestine who celebrate masses in English at the College of St. John Baptist de La Salle.

Firearm importation is difficult to arrange. Current information can be sought at the time of visa application.

The time in Jordan is Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) plus two.

Local currency is the Jordanian dinar (JD), divided into 1,000 fils.

Jordan employs the standard metric system of weights and measures.

SPECIAL NOTE

Many Muslims object to having their pictures taken. Discretion should be used in photographing women, or scenes that could be interpreted as showing poverty. Military installations (bridges included) cannot be photographed.

The U.S. Embassy in Jordan is located on Jebel Amman, in Amman; telephone: 962 (6) 644-371; FAX: 962 (6) 659-720.

RECOMMENDED READING

The following titles are provided as a general indication of the material published on this country:

Finlay, Hugh. Jordan and Syria: A Travel Survival Kit. Oakland, CA: Lonely Plant, 1987.

Fodor's Jordan and the Holy Land. New York: McKay, latest edition.

Garfinkle, Adam. Israel and Jordan in the Shadow of War. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1991.

Hadidi, Adnan, ed. Studies in the History and Archaeology of Jordan. New York: Routledge, 1988.

Lunt, James. Hussein of Jordan: From Survivor to Statesman. New York: Morrow, 1989.

Wilson, Rodney, ed. Politics and the Economy in Jordan. New York: Routledge, 1991.

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Jordan

1 Location and Size

2 Topography

3 Climate

4 Plants and Animals

5 Environment

6 Population

7 Migration

8 Ethnic Groups

9 Languages

10 Religions

11 Transportation

12 History

13 Government

14 Political Parties

15 Judicial System

16 Armed Forces

17 Economy

18 Income

19 Industry

20 Labor

21 Agriculture

22 Domesticated Animals

23 Fishing

24 Forestry

25 Mining

26 Foreign Trade

27 Energy and Power

28 Social Development

29 Health

30 Housing

31 Education

32 Media

33 Tourism and Recreation

34 Famous Jordanians

35 Bibliography

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

Al-Mamlaka al-Urdunniyya al-Hashimiyya

CAPITAL : ‘Amman

FLAG : The national flag is a tricolor of black, white, and green horizontal stripes with a seven-pointed white star on a red triangle at the hoist.

ANTHEM : As-Salam al-Maliki (Long Live the King).

MONETARY UNIT : The Jordanian dinar (jd) is a paper currency of 1,000 fils. There are coins of 1, 5, 10, 20, 25, 50, 100, and 250 fils and notes of ½, 1, 5, 10, and 20 dinars. jd1 = $1.40845 (or $1 = jd0.71) as of 2005.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: The metric system is the legal standard, but some local and Syrian units are still widely used, especially in the villages.

HOLIDAYS : Arbor Day, 15 January; Independence Day, 25 May; Accession of King Hussein, 11 August; King Hussein’s Birthday, 14 November. Muslim religious holidays include the 1st of Muharram (Islamic New Year), ‘Id al-Fitr, ‘Id al-’Adha’, and Milad an-Nabi. Christmas and Easter are observed by sizable Christian minorities.

TIME: 2 pm = noon GMT.

1 Location and Size

Situated in southwest Asia, Jordan has an area of 92,300 square kilometers (35,637 square miles), slightly smaller than the state of Indiana. The country has a total land boundary length of 1,635 kilometers (1,016 miles), including the West Bank, and a coastline (Gulf of Aqaba) of 26 kilometers (16 miles).

Jordan’s capital city, ‘Amman, is located in the northwestern part of the country.

2 Topography

The Jordan River Valley has a maximum depression of 408 meters (1,338 feet) below sea level at the Dead Sea, the lowest point on the earth’s surface. To the east of the Jordan River, the Transjordanian plateaus have an average altitude of 910 meters (3,000 feet), with hills rising to more than 1,650 meters (5,400 feet) in the south. Farther eastward, the highlands slope down gently toward the desert, which constitutes 88% of the East Bank. The highest point in the country is Jabal Ramm in the south, with an altitude of 1,734 meters (5,689 feet).

The Jordan River, the longest in the country, enters the country from Israel to the north and

GEOGRAPHICAL PROFILE

Geographic Features

Area: 92,300 sq km (35,637 sq mi)

Size ranking: 109 of 194

Highest elevation: 1,734 meters (5,689 feet) at Jabal Ramm

Lowest elevation: -408 meters (-1,338 feet) at the Dead Sea

Land Use*

Arable land: 3%

Permanent crops: 1%

Other: 96%

Weather**

Average annual precipitation: 27.3 centimeters (10.7 inches)

Average temperature in January: 8.2°C (46.8°F)

Average temperature in July: 25.2°C (77.4°F)

* Arable Land: Land used for temporary crops, like meadows for mowing or pasture, gardens, and greenhouses.

Permanent crops: Land cultivated with crops that occupy its use for long periods, such as cocoa, coffee, rubber, fruit and nut orchards, and vineyards.

Other: Any land not specified, including built-on areas, roads, and barren land.

** The measurements for precipitation and average temperatures were taken at weather stations closest to the country’s largest city.

Precipitation and average temperature can vary significantly within a country, due to factors such as latitude, altitude, coastal proximity, and wind patterns.

flows into the Dead Sea. Its main tributary is the Yarmuk, which near its juncture forms the border between Jordan and Syria. The total length of the Jordan River is 322 kilometers (200 miles).

The Dead Sea is the largest lake, with an area of 962 square kilometers (370 square miles).

3 Climate

The Jordan Valley has little rainfall, intense summer heat, and mild winters. The desert regions are subject to great extremes of temperature and receive rainfall of less than 20 centimeters (8 inches) annually, while the rest of the country has an average rainfall of up to 58 centimeters (23 inches) a year.

Temperatures at ‘Amman range from about 4°c (39°f) in winter to more than 32°c (90°f) in summer.

4 Plants and Animals

Plants and animals are those common to the eastern Mediterranean and the Syrian Desert. The vegetation ranges from semitropical flora in the Jordan Valley and other regions to shrubs and drought-resistant bushes in the desert. Less than 1% of the land is forested. The wild animal life includes the jackal, hyena, fox, wildcat, gazelle, ibex, antelope, rabbit, vulture, sand grouse, skylark, partridge, quail, woodcock, goldfinch, viper, diced water snake, and Syrian black snake.

5 Environment

Jordan’s principal environmental problems are water shortages, soil erosion caused by overgrazing of goats and sheep, and deforestation. Water pollution is an important issue in Jordan and it is expected that the rate of population growth will place more demands on an already inadequate

water supply. Current sources of pollution are sewage, herbicides, and pesticides.

Jordan’s wildlife was reduced drastically by livestock overgrazing and uncontrolled hunting between 1930 and 1960. Larger wild animals such as the Arabian oryx, onager, and Asiatic lion have completely disappeared. As of 2003, 3.4% of Jordan’s total land area is protected. In 2006, seven of Jordan’s mammal species, fourteen bird species, five species of fish, and one type of reptile

were listed as threatened. Endangered species in Jordan include the South Arabian leopard, the sand cat, the cheetah, and the goitered gazelle.

6 Population

The 2005 estimated population was 5.8 million. During 2005–10, the population was projected to increase each year by an average of 2.4%. A population of 8.3 million was projected for the year 2025. The estimated population density was 62 persons per square kilometer (161 per square mile) in 2005. In 2005, ‘Amman, the capital, had an estimated population of 1.2 million.

7 Migration

In 2000, there were 1,945,000 migrants living in Jordan, accounting for approximately 40% of the total population. Of those migrants, 83% (or about 1,610,100) were refugees. In 2004, Jordan hosted 1.7 million refugees and 12,453 asylum seekers. The estimated net migration rate for 2005 was 6.4 migrants per 1,000 population.

8 Ethnic Groups

Ethnically, the Jordanians represent a mixed stock. Most of the population is Arab (approximately 98% in 2002). Bedouin nomads and seminomads occupy the desert and steppe areas. Some groups of Greeks, Egyptians, Persians, Europeans, and Africans have been present in Jordan for millennia. The Palestinian Arabs now residing in Jordan tend to be sedentary and urban. About 1% of the population is Armenian and another 1% is Circassian. There are also small Kurd, Druze, and Chechen minorities.

9 Languages

Arabic is the official language of the country and is spoken even by the ethnic minorities who maintain their own languages in their everyday lives. The spoken Arabic of the country is essentially a local dialect of literary Arabic; it is common to neighboring countries but is quite different from the spoken language in Egypt. There also are differences between the languages of the towns and of the countryside and between those of the East and West Banks. English is widely understood by the upper and middle classes.

10 Religions

Islam is the state religion, although all are guaranteed religious freedom under the law. Most Jordanians (about 95%) are Sunni Muslims. Of the racial minorities, the Turkomans and Circassians are Sunni Muslims. The Druzes are a nontraditional Muslim sect. Christians constitute about 4% of the population and live mainly in ‘Amman or the Jordan Valley. Most are Greek Orthodox or Roman Catholic. Other officially recognized Christian denominations include Anglicans, Lutherans, Seventh-Day Adventists, Baptists, Free Evangelicals, and Assemblies of God. There are small groups of Baha’is and Samaritans, a form of the ancient Jewish religion. There are numerous missionary groups within the country.

11 Transportation

In 2003, all of Jordan’s estimated 7,364 kilometers (4,580 miles) of road was paved. Passenger automobiles numbered 315,250; trucks, buses, and other commercial vehicles totaled 107,920 in 2003. The rail system includes some 505 kilometers (314 miles) of narrow-gauge single track. Situated at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba, the port of Al-’Aqabah is Jordan’s only outlet to the sea.

The Alia-Royal Jordanian Airline, owned by the government, operates domestic and international flights. The major airport is the new Queen Alia International Airport. In 2003, 1.3 million passengers were carried on scheduled domestic and international flights.

12 History

Origins Neolithic remains from about 7000 bc have been found in Jericho, the oldest known city in the world. In the tenth century bc, the western part of the area of Jordan formed part of the domain of the Hebrew kings David and Solomon. In the fourth century bc, Palestine and Syria were conquered by Alexander the Great, beginning about 1,000 years of intermittent European rule.

After the second century ad, Palestine and areas east of the Jordan came under direct Roman rule. Christianity spread rapidly in Jordan, and for 300 years it was the dominant religion. When Muslim invaders appeared, however, little resistance was offered, and in 636, Arab rule was

firmly established. The area became thoroughly Arabized and Islamized, remaining so to this day despite a century-long domination by the Crusaders (12th century). It was controlled by the Ottoman Turks from 1517 to 1917.

1917–1958 During World War I (1914–18), the British persuaded Sharif Hussein ibn-’Ali, the Hashemite ruler of Mecca, to start an Arab revolt against the Turks. After the defeat of the Turks, Palestine and Transjordan were placed under British administration. In 1923, the independence of Transjordan was proclaimed under British supervision, and by 1946, Transjordan attained full independence.

After the Arab-Israeli war of 1948, King ‘Abdallah annexed the area of Palestine now known as the West Bank. It was incorporated into the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in 1950. Meanwhile, since the 1948 war, Jordan had absorbed about 500,000 of some 1 million Palestinian Arab refugees, mostly sheltered in United Nations-administered camps. On 20 July 1951, ‘Abdallah was assassinated in Jerusalem by a Palestinian Arab, and the throne passed to his grandson Hussein I, who was formally enthroned on 2 May 1953.

Following the overthrow of Egypt’s King Faruk in July 1952, the Arab countries were strongly influenced by the movement for Arab unity. Jordan, however, maintained a close association with Britain in an effort to preserve the kingdom as a separate, independent country. British intervention during the 1956 war in the Suez hurt their relations with Jordan. But Hussein turned again to the West for support after his cousin King Faisal II of Iraq was assassinated in a July 1958 coup. British troops were flown to Jordan from Cyprus.

1959–1967 Hussein, while retaining Jordan’s Western ties, gradually strengthened his relations with other Arab states (except Syria). But even in years of comparative peace, relations with Israel remained the focus of tensions in the region. Terrorist raids launched from within Jordan drew strong Israeli reprisals. In addition, the activities of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) often violated Jordan’s borders. These incursions led Hussein to withdraw support for the PLO in July 1966 and in early 1967, again angering the Arab world.

In the 1967 Six-Day War with Israel, Israel took over the Jordanian West Bank (including all of Jerusalem). Jordan suffered heavy casualties, and more than 300,000 Palestinians fled across the Jordan River to the East Bank. Jordan’s refugee population swelled from 700,000 in 1966 to more than 1 million, adding to the severe economic problems caused by the war.

1970–1979 After Hussein’s acceptance of a cease-fire with Israel in August 1970, he tried to suppress various Palestinian guerrilla organizations, finally driving them out in July 1971. In the following September, Premier Wasfi al-Tal was assassinated by guerrilla commandos. Coup attempts, in which Libya was said to have been involved, were defeated in November 1972 and February 1973.

Jordan did not actively participate in the “Yom Kippur War” against Israel in October 1973, but it sent an armored brigade of about 2,500 men to assist Syria. After the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty of 1979, Jordan joined other Arab states in trying to isolate Egypt diplomatically. Hussein refused to join further Egyptian-Israeli talks on the future of the West Bank.

1980–1999 In the 1980s, Hussein gradually liberalized his country’s internal politics. In 1988, Jordan cut its ties with the Israeli occupied West Bank. In 1989, for the first time since 1956, Jordan held relatively free parliamentary elections. New parliamentary elections were held in 1993.

In 1990, Jordan was critical of the Persian Gulf War led by the United States. This hurt Jordan’s relations with the United States and the Gulf states. Jordan lost its subsidies from the latter while having to support hundreds of thousands of refugees from the war and its aftermath.

Jordan’s willingness to participate in peace talks with Israel in late 1991 helped to repair relations with Western countries. In June 1994, Jordan and Israel began meetings to work out practical steps on policies concerning water, borders, and energy which would lead to normal relations. In July 1994, Jordan and Israel signed a peace treaty that officially ended their state of war. In September 1995, Israel agreed to give administrative control of the West Bank to the Palestinians.

Following a battle with cancer, Hussein died on 8 February 1999. His son, Abdallah, was named king and pledged his support for the Middle East peace process, a more open government, and economic reforms. King Abdallah II also resumed talks between Israel and Syria.

Following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Jordan put into force a series of temporary laws imposing sharp restrictions on the right to public assembly and protest. One law broadened the definition of terrorism, and allowed for the freezing of suspects’ bank accounts. The number of offenses carrying the death penalty was increased. Journalists faced up to three years in prison if their articles were considered harmful to national unity or likely to incite protests.

Jordan was generally considered a safe and stable county until 2005. Late that year, suicide bomb attacks on hotels in ‘Amman, the capital. Islamic militants based in Iraq claimed responsibility for the bombings, which killed several dozen people.

BIOGRAPHICAL PROFILE

Name : Abdullah II Ibn Hussein

Position : King of a constitutional monarchy

Took Office : 7 February 1999

Birthplace : Amman, Jordan

Birthdate : 30 January 1962

Religion : Islam

Education : Sandhurst Military Academy, Oxford University, international politics; Georgetown University

Spouse : Rania Yassin

Children : Two sons, Hussein and Hashem; two daughters, Iman and Salma

Of interest : Abdullah is known as an athletic and easygoing man. He also is a licensed pilot.

13 Government

Jordan is a constitutional monarchy. The king has wide powers over all branches of government, and he chooses the prime minister, who then selects the other ministers (or cabinet). The constitution gives legislative power to the national assembly, composed of a 55-member senate and a 110-member lower house, the chamber of deputies. There is universal suffrage at age 18. Women received the right to vote in April 1973.

Jordan (outside the West Bank) is divided into 12 governorates, each under a governor appointed by the king. The towns and larger villages are administered by elected municipal councils. Smaller villages are headed by a headman (mukhtar).

14 Political Parties

Political parties were abolished on 25 April 1957, following an alleged attempted coup by Arab militants. In 1992, parties were again permitted and 22 of them were allowed to compete in elections. The main opposition group has been the Islamic Action Front, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood.

In 1997, nine pro-government parties banded together to form the National Constitutional Party. In that election, independent pro-government candidates won 62 out of the 80 seats; 10 seats were won by nationalist and leftist candidates; and eight by independent Islamists.

In the 2003 elections for the chamber of deputies, independents won 89.6% of the vote and the Islamic Action Front won 10.4% of the vote.

15 Judicial System

There are four levels of civil and criminal courts, religious courts, and tribal courts. The Supreme Court and the courts of appeals deal with appeals from lower courts. Courts of First Instance hear major civil and criminal cases. Religious courts, such as the Muslim Shariah courts, have authority over matters such as marriage, divorce, wills and testaments, and orphans.

16 Armed Forces

In 2005, the Jordanian army had some 10,500 troops. The army numbered 85,000, the air force had 15,000 personnel, and the navy had about 500 personnel. In that year, the Jordanian defense budget totaled $956 million.

17 Economy

Jordan’s economy has been greatly affected by the Arab-Israeli conflict. The loss of the West Bank in 1967 resulted in the loss of most of Jordan’s richest agricultural land and a decline in the growing tourist industry. An estimated 80% of annual national income in the early 1980s came from direct grants from and exports to oil-rich Arab countries. Other sources of income included tax payments and money being sent home by Jordanians working in other Arab countries. Western economic aid, notably from the United States, Britain, and Germany, also has been important to the economy.

Yearly Growth Rate

This economic indicator tells by what percent the economy has increased or decreased when compared with the previous year.

The start of the recession in Jordan in the mid-1980s, followed by the economic collapse of 1988–89 and the Persian Gulf War in 1991, left the country with an unemployment rate of approximately 30 to 35% and high inflation. About 25 to 30% of the population fell below the poverty line. The international embargo against Iraq caused Jordan to lose a major market for its exports and re-exports.

In 1995, the government began a program of economic reforms, which included market-oriented policies, commitment to international investment, and the signing of trade and transportation agreements with Israel.

Real gross domestic product (GDP) growth rose steadily from 3.1% to 5.0% from 1999 to 2002. Inflation was low, falling from 3.1% in 1998 to 0.6% in 1999, 0.7% in 2000, and 1.8% in 2001. The Jordanian economy continued

Components of the Economy

This pie chart shows how much of the country’s economy is devoted to agriculture (including forestry, hunting, and fishing), industry, or services.

to improve in 2002, even though the second Palestinian intifada (uprising), which began in 2000, was taking place next door.

After a slight downturn in 2003, the economy expanded by 5.2% in 2004, and approached 6% growth in 2005. The unemployment rate was tagged at 15%, although unofficial numbers show it to be as high as 30%. The war in Iraq, begun in 2003, has significantly affected the economy of Jordan.

18 Income

In 2005, Jordan’s gross domestic product (GDP) was $27.7 billion, or about $4,800 per person. In 2002, the average inflation rate was 3.9%. The annual growth rate of GDP approached 6% in 2005.

19 Industry

Most industrial income comes from four industries: cement, oil refining, phosphates, and potash. The oil refinery at Az-Zarqa’ has a capacity of 90,400 barrels per day. Jordan’s Dead Sea potash extraction plant has an estimated 1.4 million tons capacity.

In 2005, industry as a whole accounted for 29% of gross domestic product.

20 Labor

The labor force numbered 1.5 million people in 2005, with an additional 300,000 workers employed abroad. In 2001, the service industry accounted for 83% of the workforce, industry employed 13%, with the remaining engaged in agriculture. The official unemployment rate was 15% in 2004; the actual rate, however, may be as high as 30%.

Approximately 30% of the labor force is unionized, and there were 17 trade unions in 2002. The minimum age for employment is 16, except for children working in family businesses or on family farms. The national minimum wage was $114 per month in 2002. This amount does not provide the average family with a living wage.

21 Agriculture

In 2005, agriculture accounted for 3% of gross domestic product. Production of principal field crops in 2004 included 50,000 tons of wheat, 30,000 tons of barley, and 2,000 tons of tobacco. Prominent vegetables and fruits produced included 415,000 tons of tomatoes, 52,000 tons of eggplant, 100,000 tons of cucumbers, and 28,000 tons of cabbage. Over 16 million fruit trees that year produced 147,000 tons of citrus, 160,700 tons of olives, 51,000 tons of bananas, and 28,000 tons of grapes.

22 Domesticated Animals

Raising livestock for both meat and dairy products is an important part of Jordanian agriculture. The large nomadic tribes take their camels into the desert every winter, returning nearer to the cultivated area in summer. The camels provide transportation, food (milk and meat), shelter, and clothing (hair). The sale of surplus camels is a source of cash. Sheep- and goat-herding nomads make similar use of their animals. Imported milk and meat are sold at subsidized prices.

Sheep and goats account for 90% of the livestock and are raised for both meat and milk. The Awasi is the major breed of sheep used and the Baladi is the major breed of goat. In 2005, the number of sheep was estimated at 1.7 million, goats at 444,000, and cattle at 69,000 head. Jordan had an estimated 25 million chickens the same year. Poultry meat production was 121,000 tons and meat production from cattle and sheep reached 8,700 tons. Production of fresh milk from cattle and sheep was 252,700 tons. Jordan produces about 30% of its needs in red meat and 50% of its need for milk.

23 Fishing

Fishing is unimportant as a source of food. The rivers are relatively poor in fish and there are no

Yearly Balance of Trade

The balance of trade is the difference between what a country sells to other countries (its exports) and what it buys (its imports). If a country imports more than it exports, it has a negative balance of trade (a trade deficit). If exports exceed imports there is a positive balance of trade (a trade surplus).

fish in the Dead Sea. The short Gulf of Aqaba shoreline has only recently been developed for fishing. In 2003, the total fish catch was only 1,131 tons.

24 Forestry

Forestland now covers less than 1% of the total area. Scrub forests and maquis growths are the most common. The olive, characteristic of the Mediterranean basin, is widely cultivated. The important forests are around Ajlun in the north and near Ma’an. From 1976 to 1991, about 10,000 hectares (24,700 acres) was reforested. In 2004, roundwood production was 257,000 tons. Imports of forestry products totaled $167 million in 2004.

25 Mining

Jordan’s leading mineral commodities include phosphate, potash, and cement. Jordan also produces common clay, feldspar, natural gas and petroleum (for domestic consumption), gravel, gypsum, limestone, marble, salt, and sulfuric acid. In 2004, Jordan mined no metals, although it had deposits of copper, gold, iron, sulfur, titanium, and, in the Dead Sea, bromine and manganese. Copper deposits between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba remained undeveloped.

26 Foreign Trade

Until 2000, Jordan exported mainly phosphates, manufactured products, and fruits and vegetables. In 2000, however, Jordan’s fertilizer exports plummeted, accounting for only 7.6% of exports. Now apparel, medical and pharmaceutical products, paper products, industrial machinery, and vegetables are important exports. Imports consist mainly of machinery and transport equipment, manufactured products, petroleum, and food-stuffs. Until 1990 when the oil embargo against Iraq went into effect, Jordan bought the bulk of its crude oil from Iraq. Iraq was also a key market for Jordanian exports. In 2004, Jordan’s principal trading partners were Saudi Arabia, the United States, Iraq, India, China, and Germany.

27 Energy and Power

Jordan has miniscule petroleum deposits. Before the 1991 Persian Gulf War, its imports of oil from Saudi Arabia via the Trans-Arabian Pipeline (Tapline) and its refinery at Az Zarqa’, with an annual productive capacity of 22 million barrels, supplied virtually all the country’s energy

Selected Social Indicators

The statistics below are the most recent estimates available as of 2006. For comparison purposes, data for the United States and averages for low-income countries and high-income countries are also given. About 15% of the world’s 6.5 billion people live in high-income countries, while 37% live in low-income countries.

IndicatorJordan Low-income countriesHigh-income countriesUnited States
sources: World Bank. World Development Indicators. Washington, D.C.: The World Bank, 2006; Central Intelligence Agency. The World Factbook. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 2006; World Resources Institute, Washington, D.C.
Per capita gross national income (GNI)*$4,770 $2,258$31,009$39,820
Population growth rate3.9% 2%0.8%1.2%
People per square kilometer of land62 803032
Life expectancy in years: male70 587675
female73 608280
Number of physicians per 1,000 people2.0 0.43.72.3
Number of pupils per teacher (primary school)20 431615
Literacy rate (15 years and older)89.9% 65%>95%99%
Television sets per 1,000 people177 84735938
Internet users per 1,000 people107 28538630
Energy consumed per capita (kg of oil equivalent)1,027 5015,4107,843
CO2 emissions per capita (metric tons)3.15 0.8512.9719.92
* The GNI is the total of all goods and services produced by the residents of a country in a year. The per capita GNI is calculated by dividing a country’s GNI by its population and adjusting for relative purchasing power.
n.a.: data not available >: greater than <: less than

needs. Saudi Arabia stopped supplying Jordan via the Tapline during the war to protest Jordan’s tacit support of Iraq during the war. With the United Nations embargo that followed, however, Jordan became the sole legal recipient of Iraqi oil exports. Crude oil imports in 2004 averaged 100,000 barrels per day. In 2002, electricity generated totaled 7.6 billion kilowatt-hours.

28 Social Development

The social insurance system provides old-age, disability, and survivor benefits, as well as workers’ compensation. Workers contribute 5.5% of their wages, employers pay 9% of payroll, and the government covers any deficit.

Women experience legal discrimination regarding pension and social security benefits, inheritance, and divorce. Under Islamic law, a female heir’s inheritance is half that of a male, and in court, a woman’s testimony has only half the value of a man’s. Violence against women is common, as is spousal abuse.

29 Health

As of 2004, Jordan had 205 physicians, 96 pharmacists, 55 dentists, and 275 nurses per 100,000 people. Medical services are concentrated in the main towns. Village clinics are staffed by trained nurses, with regular visits by government physicians. Trachoma, hepatitis, typhoid fever, intestinal parasites, and other endemic conditions are common.

In 2005, average life expectancy was 70 years for men and 73 years for women. The infant mortality

rate for the same year was 17.4 per 1,000 live births. As of 2000, an estimated 8% of all children under five were malnourished. In 2004, 600 people were infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

Jordan still lacked adequate housing in the early 1980s. From 1981 to 1986, some 42,300 new residential building permits were issued. According to 1994 statistics, the total number of dwellings was 831,799.

Most residential units were made of cement bricks or concrete blocks. About 3% of all dwellings were described as mud brick and rubble constructions.

31 Education

Education is compulsory between the ages of 6 and 16. Ten years are devoted to primary education, followed by two years at the secondary stage. More than 95% of primary-school-aged children attended school. About 75% of those eligible attended secondary school. The United National Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) operated 208 schools in refugee camps.

Jordan has five universities. In addition, there are 53 community colleges; two of these are UNRWA schools on the East Bank for Palestinian students. As of 2003, the adult literacy rate was estimated at 89.9% (males, 95.1%; females, 84.7%).

32 Media

In 2003, Jordan had 242 telephones and 242 mobile telephones for every 1,000 people. All radio and television broadcasts are controlled by the government. As of 1999, there were six AM and five FM radio stations. In 2003, there were 437 radios and 177 television sets for every 1,000 people. In 2000 there were five Internet service providers, serving 210,000 subscribers by 2001. By 2004, of every 1,000 people, an estimated 107 were Internet users.

Jordan’s four major daily newspapers (with 2002 estimated daily circulations) are: Al-Dustour (Constitution, 100,000); Al-Rai (Opinion, 90,000); Sawt Ash-Shaab (Voice of the People, 30,000); and Jordan Times (15,000). All except the English-language Jordan Times are published in Arabic.

33 Tourism and Recreation

In 2000, an estimated 1.4 million tourists arrived in Jordan. Of these arrivals, more than 64% were from other Middle Eastern countries. Tourism receipts totaled $1 billion in 2003. There were 19,698 rooms in hotels and other establishments, with 37,859 beds and a 33% occupancy rate in 2003.

Jordan is an area of immense historical interest, with some 800 archaeological sites, including 224 in the Jordan Valley. Jordan’s notable tourist attractions include the Greco-Roman remains at Jarash (ancient Garasi), one of the best-preserved cities of its time in the Middle East. Petra (Batra), carved out of the red rock by the Nabataeans, is probably the most famous historical site. Natural attractions include the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea, which is the lowest spot on earth—at -408 meters (-1,338 feet).

The beaches on the Gulf of Aqaba offer holiday relaxation for Jordanians as well as for tourists. Sports facilities include swimming pools, tennis and squash courts, and bowling alleys.

34 Famous Jordanians

The founder of Jordan’s Hashemite dynasty was Hussein ibn-’Ali (Husayn bin ‘Ali, 1856– 1931), sharif of Mecca and king of the Hijaz. The founder of the kingdom was ‘Abdallah ibn-Husayn (1882–1951). He was recognized as emir in 1921 and king in 1946. The second emir was his grandson, King Hussein I (Husayn ibn-Talal, 1935–1999), who ruled from 1953 until his death. In June 1978, 16 months after the death by helicopter crash of Queen Alia (1948–1977), Hussein married his fourth wife, the Queen Noor al-Hussein (Elizabeth Halaby, b. United States, 1951– ).

35 Bibliography

BOOKS

Foster, L. Jordan. Chicago: Children’s Press, 1991.

Marcovitz, Hal. Jordan. Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 2003.

Salibi, Kamal S. The Modern History of Jordan. New York: I.B. Tauris, 1993.

South, Coleman. Jordan. New York: Marshall Cavendish, 1997.

Whitehead, Susan. Jordan. Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 1999.

Wills, Karen. Jordan. San Diego: Lucent Books, 2001.

WEB SITES

Aquastat. www.fao.org/ag/Agl/AGLW/aquastat/countries/jordan/index.stm. (accessed on January 15, 2007).

Country Pages. www.state.gov/p/nea/ci/jordan/(accessed on January 15, 2007).

Government Home Page. www.jordanembassyus.org.(accessed on January 15, 2007).

World Heritage List. whc.unesco.org/en/statesparties/jo. (accessed on January 15, 2007).