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King Hussein of Jordan

Ashton, Nigel (2015) King Hussein of Jordan. In: Wright, Jonathan and Casey, Steven, (eds.) Mental Maps in the Era of Détente and the End of the Cold War 1968–91. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, UK, pp. 97-113. ISBN 9781137500953

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Identification Number: 10.1057/9781137500960_7


King Hussein of Jordan has been described as a prisoner of history and geography.1 In fact, he saw both as presenting him with opportunities as well as constraints. In terms of geography, Jordan is a classic buffer state, sandwiched between more powerful neighbours: to the north is Syria; to the south Egypt and Saudi Arabia; to the east Iraq and, most importantly, to the west Israel. But throughout his long reign (1953–99) Hussein made playing off enemies and rivals into an art form to ensure both the survival of Jordan as an independent state and the survival of the Hashemite dynasty. In terms of history, Hussein inherited both the incorporation into Jordan of the West Bank acquired in the war of 1948–49 and hence of the Palestinian national question, and a sense of a broader dynastic mission from his grandfather, Abdullah. While his West Bank inheritance made political strife endemic to the Hashemite Kingdom, his sense of dynastic mission led Hussein to dream of a Hashemite purpose which was always larger than the boundaries imposed on Jordan. As Hussein described matters in private, Jordan had to have ‘a larger future than a few thousand square miles of sand’.

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: © 2015 The Author
Divisions: International History
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D839 Post-war History, 1945 on
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D890 Eastern Hemisphere
Date Deposited: 12 Jul 2016 10:52
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2021 01:39

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