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Saudi Arabia and Jordan: friends in adversity

Partrick, Neil (2013) Saudi Arabia and Jordan: friends in adversity. The Kuwait Programme on Development, Governance and Globalisation in the Gulf States research papers (31). The London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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Saudi–Jordanian relations are a mismatch between broadly identical interests and differing means and capacities to realize them. Saudi Arabia has the potential to advance its interests, but is hamstrung by leadership structure, habit and political culture. Jordan has some advantages in terms of leadership structure, habit and political culture, but has only limited ability to affect its interests. Saudi Arabia’s historic sensitivities concerning its one-time Hashemite rival in Arabia are largely that; they do not directly affect Saudi policy towards Jordan. Tribal mobilization could be used by either side in the unexpected event of its neighbour’s collapse, but it is not a key means of realizing state objectives. Saudi Arabia’s internal political sensitivities do not drive its attitude towards Jordan. However, Jordan’s internal political situation makes it sensitive to Saudi Islamists, but its political problems are largely a domestic affair. These in turn affect Jordan’s foreign policy orientation. A mutual concern about domestic security vulnerabilities has long made both kingdoms relatively dependent on the US. The extent to which they cannot now wholly rely on the US, however, is one reason why they are drawn closer together. There are limits, though, to the importance of the relationship for either country. Neither side’s internal or external problems can be resolved by the actions or inactions of the other. Neither regime can guarantee the survival of the other or can even be expected to do much if the other were under threat. However, the two countries are trying to work more closely together. In a more threatening regional environment, this is important.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2013 The Author
Divisions: Middle East Centre
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JX International law
Date Deposited: 12 Feb 2014 14:26
Last Modified: 29 Jan 2021 00:28
Projects: Kuwait Programme on Development, Governance and Globalisation in the Gulf States
Funders: Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences

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