|Motto: Arabic: الله، الوطن، الملك
Transliteration: Allah Al-Watan Al-Malek
Translation: "God, The Homeland, The King"
|Anthem: عاش المليك
The Royal Anthem of Jordan
("As-salam al-malaki al-urdoni")1
Long Live the King
|Official language(s)||Arabic, English as a second language.|
|Ethnic groups||98% Arab and 2% others |
|-||Prime Minister||Samir Rifai|
|-||End of British League of Nations mandate||
25 May 1946
|-||Total||92,300 km2 (112th)
35,637 sq mi
|-||2009 estimate||6,316,000 (102nd)|
|-||July 2004 census||5,611,202|
|GDP (PPP)||2008 estimate|
|GDP (nominal)||2008 estimate|
|Gini (2002–03)||38.8 (medium)|
|HDI (2007)||▲ 0.773 (medium) (86th)|
|Currency||Jordanian dinar (
|Time zone||UTC+2 (UTC+2)|
|-||Summer (DST)||UTC+3 (UTC+3)|
|Drives on the||Right|
|1||Also serves as the Royal anthem.|
Jordan (Arabic: الأردنّ al-ʾUrdunn), officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, is a country in the Middle East. It shares control of the Dead Sea with Israel. Jordan's only port is at its southern tip, at the Red Sea's Gulf of Aquaba, which it shares with Israel, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. Much of Jordan is covered by the Arabian Desert. However, the north-western part of Jordan is part of the Ancient Fertile Crescent. The capital city is Amman.
During its history, Jordan has seen numerous civilizations, including such ancient eastern ones as the Canaanite and later other Semitic peoples such as the Edomites, and the Moabites. Other civilizations possessing political sovereignty and influence in Jordan were: Akkadian, Assyrian, Judean, Babylonian, and Persian empires. Jordan was for a time part of Pharaonic Egypt, the Hasmonean Dynasty of the Maccabees, and also spawned the native Nabatean civilization which left rich archaeological remains at Petra, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World located in the Ma'an Governorate. Cultures from the west also left their mark, such as the Macedonian, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman Turkish empires. Since the seventh century the area has been under Muslim and Arab cultures, with the exception of a brief period when the west of the area formed part of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem and a short time under British rule.
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is a constitutional monarchy with representative government. The reigning monarch is the head of state, the chief executive and the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The king exercises his executive authority through the prime ministers and the Council of Ministers, or cabinet. The cabinet, meanwhile, is responsible before the democratically elected House of Deputies which, along with the House of Notables (Senate), constitutes the legislative branch of the government. The judicial branch is an independent branch of the government.
Jordan is a modern Arab nation, its population is 92% Sunni Muslim with a small Christian minority. Jordanian society is predominantly urbanized. Jordan is classified as an emerging market with a free market economy by the CIA World Fact Book. Jordan has more Free Trade Agreements than any other country in the Arab World. Jordan is a pro-Western regime with very close relations with the United States and the United Kingdom. It became a major non-NATO ally in 1996, and is one of only two Arab nations, the other being Egypt, that have diplomatic relations with Israel. It is a founding member of the Arab League, the WTO, the AFESD, the Arab Parliament, the AIDMO, the AMF, the IMF, the International Criminal Court, the UNHRC, the GAFTA, the ESCWA, the ENP and the United Nations. Jordan is also currently undergoing close integration with the European Union and the Gulf Cooperation Council. Jordan expects to receive "advanced status" with the EU by 2011.
The most prominent early roots of Jordan,as an independent state , can be traced to the Kingdom of Petra, which was founded by the Nabataeans (Arabic: الأنباط, Al-Anbāt) an ancient Semitic people from Arabia who developed the North Arabic Script that evolved into the Modern Arabic script. During its glory, the Nabataean Kingdom controlled regional trade routes by dominating a large area southwest of the fertile crescent, which included the whole of modern Jordan extending from Syria in the North to the northern Arabian Peninsula in the south. As a result, Petra enjoyed independence, prosperity and wealth for hundreds of years until it was absorbed by the Persian Empire and later the Roman Empire which was still expanding in 100 A.D.
Jordan also witnessed many other smaller ancient kingdoms having sovereignty for centuries, in addition to the Nabataeans. These included the Kingdom of Edom, the Kingdom of Ammon, the Kingdom of Moab, the Kingdom of Judah, and the Hasmonean Kingdom of the Maccabees, which are all mentioned in the Bible and other ancient Near Eastern documents.
During the Greco-Roman period of influence, a number of semi-independent city-states also developed in Jordan under the umbrella of the Decapolis including: Gerasa (Jerash), Philadelphia (Amman), Raphana (Abila), Dion (Capitolias), Gadara (Umm Qays), and Pella (Irbid).
Later, Jordan became part of the Islamic Empire across its different Caliphates stages including Rashidun Empire, Umayyad Empire and Abbasid Empire. After the decline of the Abbasid, Jordan was ruled by several conflicting powers including the Mongols, the Crusaders, the Ayyubids and the Mamluks until it became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1516.
With the break-up of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I, the League of Nations and the occupying powers chose to redraw the borders of the Middle East. The ensuing decisions, most notably the Sykes–Picot Agreement, gave birth to the French Mandate of Syria and British Mandate of Palestine. More than 76% of the British Mandate of Palestine was east of the Jordan river and was known as "Transjordan". The Permanent Court of International Justice and an International Court of Arbitration established by the Council of the League of Nations handed down rulings in 1925 which determined that Palestine and Transjordan were newly created successor states of the Ottoman Empire as defined by international law.
The country was under British supervision until after World War II. In 1946, the British requested that the United Nations approve an end to British Mandate rule in Transjordan. Following the British request, the Transjordanian Parliament proclaimed King Abdullah as the first ruler of the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan. Abdullah I continued to rule until a Palestinian Arab assassinated him in 1951 as he was departing from the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
During the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, Jordan occupied the area of Cisjordan now called the West Bank, which it continued to control in accordance with the 1949 Armistice Agreements and a political union formed in December 1948. The Second Arab-Palestinian Conference held in Jericho on December 1, 1948 proclaimed Abdullah King of Palestine and called for a union of Arab Palestine with the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan. The Transjordanian Government agreed to the unification on December 7, 1948, and on December 13 the Transjordanian parliament approved the creation of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The step of unification was ratified by a joint Jordanian National Assembly on April 24, 1950. The Assembly was composed of 20 representatives each from the East and West Bank. The Act of Union contained a protective clause which persevered Arab rights in Palestine without prejudice to any final settlement.
Many legal scholars say the declaration of the Arab League and the Act of Union implied that Jordan's claim of sovereignty over the West Bank was provisional, because it had always been subject to the emergence of the Palestinian state. A political union was legally established by the series of proclamations, decrees, and parliamentary acts in December 1948. Abdullah thereupon took the title King of Jordan, and he officially changed the country's name to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in April 1949. The 1950 Act of Union confirmed and ratified King Abdullah's actions. Following the annexation of the West Bank, only two countries formally recognized the union: Britain and Pakistan.< Thomas Kuttner notes that de facto recognition was granted to the regime, most clearly evidenced by the maintaining of consulates in East Jerusalem by several countries, including the United States. Joseph Weiler agreed, and said that other states had engaged in activities, statements, and resolutions that would be inconsistent with non-recognition. Joseph Massad said that the members of the Arab League granted de facto recognition and that the United States had formally recognized the annexation, except for Jerusalem.
The United States extended de jure recognition to the Government of Transjordan and the Government of Israel on the same day, January 31, 1949. President Truman told King Abdullah that the policy of the United States Government as regards a final territorial settlement in Palestine had been stated in the General Assembly on Nov 30, 1948 by the American representative. The US supported Israeli claims to the boundaries set forth in the UN General Assembly resolution of November 29, 1947, but believed that if Israel sought to retain additional territory in Palestine allotted to the Arabs, it should give the Arabs territorial compensation.
Clea Bunch said that "President Truman crafted a balanced policy between Israel and its moderate Hashemite neighbours when he simultaneously extended formal recognition to the newly created state of Israel and the Kingdom of Transjordan. These two nations were inevitably linked in the President's mind as twin emergent states: one serving the needs of the refugee Jew, the other absorbing recently displaced Palestinian Arabs. In addition, Truman was aware of the private agreements that existed between Jewish Agency leaders and King Abdullah I of Jordan. Thus, it made perfect sense to Truman to favour both states with de jure recognition."
In 1978 the U.S. State Department published a memorandum of conversation held on June 5, 1950 between Mr. Stuart W. Rockwell of the Office of African and Near Eastern Affairs and Abdel Monem Rifai, a Counselor of the Jordan Legation: Mr. Rifai asked when the United States was going to recognize the union of Arab Palestine and Jordan. Mr. Rockwell explained the Department's position, stating that it was not the custom of the United States to issue formal statements of recognition every time a foreign country changed its territorial area. The union of Arab Palestine and Jordan had been brought about as a result of the will of the people and the US accepted the fact that Jordanian sovereignty had been extended to the new area. Mr. Rifai said he had not realized this and that he was very pleased to learn that the US did in fact recognize the union.
Jordan and Iraq united in 1958 to form the Arab Federation of Iraq and Jordan under the Hashemite crowns in Amman and Baghdad. A coup later that year would end the union with the execution of the Hashemite crown in Baghdad. The United Arab Republic consisting of Egypt, Syria, and Yemen quickly moved to antagonize Jordan's young King Hussein with Soviet support. King Hussein asked for British and American assistance. The RAF and the USAF was sent to patrol Jordanian airspace and British troops were deployed in Amman. The UAR backed off but then turned to Lebanon. The Americans would later be deployed in Beirut to support Lebanon's pro-Western government.
Jordan signed a military pact with Egypt in May 1967, and following an Israeli air attack on Egypt in June 1967, Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Iraq continued the Six Day War against Israel. During the war, Israel captured the West Bank and East Jerusalem. In 1988, Jordan renounced all claims to the territory now occupied by Israel but its 1994 treaty with Israel allowed for a continuing Jordanian role in Muslim and Christian holy places in Jerusalem. The severance of administrative ties with the West Bank halted the Jordanian government's paying of civil servants and public sector employees' salaries in the West Bank.
The period following the 1967 war saw an upsurge in the activity and numbers of Arab Palestinian paramilitary elements (fedayeen) within the state of Jordan. These distinct, armed militias were becoming a "state within a state", threatening Jordan's rule of law. King Hussein's armed forces targeted the fedayeen, and open fighting erupted in June 1970. The battle in which Palestinian fighters from various Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) groups were expelled from Jordan is commonly known as Black September.
The heaviest fighting occurred in northern Jordan and Amman. In the ensuing heavy fighting, a Syrian tank force invaded northern Jordan to back the fedayeen fighters, but subsequently retreated. King Hussein urgently asked the United States and Great Britain to intervene against Syria. Consequently, Israel performed mock air strikes on the Syrian column at the Americans' request. Soon after, Syrian President Nureddin al-Atassi, ordered a hasty retreat from Jordanian soil. By September 22, Arab foreign ministers meeting in Cairo arranged a cease-fire beginning the following day. However, sporadic violence continued until Jordanian forces, led by Habis Al-Majali, with the help of Iraqi forces, won a decisive victory over the fedayeen on July 1971, expelling them, and ultimately the PLO's Yasser Arafat, from Jordan.
In 1973, allied Arab League forces attacked Israel in the Yom Kippur War, and fighting occurred along the 1967 Jordan River cease-fire line. Jordan sent a brigade to Syria to attack Israeli units on Syrian territory but did not engage Israeli forces from Jordanian territory.
At the Rabat summit conference in 1974, Jordan was now in a more secure position to agree, along with the rest of the Arab League, that the PLO was the "sole legitimate representative of the [Arab] Palestinian people", thereby relinquishing to that organization its role as representative of the West Bank.
The Amman Agreement of February 11, 1985, declared that the PLO and Jordan would pursue a proposed confederation between the state of Jordan and a Palestinian state. In 1988, King Hussein dissolved the Jordanian parliament and renounced Jordanian claims to the West Bank. The PLO assumed responsibility as the Provisional Government of Palestine and an independent state was declared.
Although Jordan did not directly participate in the Gulf War of 1990–91, following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, King Hussein was accused of supporting Saddam Hussein when he attempted to persuade Saddam Hussein to withdraw from Kuwait. As a result of the alleged support, the United States and Arab countries cut off monetary aid to Jordan, and 700,000 Jordanians who had been working in Arab countries were forced to return to Jordan. In addition, millions of Iraqi refugees fled to Jordan placing a strain on the country's social services.
In 1991, Jordan agreed, along with Syria, Lebanon, and Arab Palestinian fedayeen representatives, to participate in direct peace negotiations with Israel at the Madrid Conference, sponsored by the U.S. and Russia. It negotiated an end to hostilities with Israel and signed a declaration to that effect on 25 July 1994 (see Washington Declaration). As a result, an Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty was concluded on 26 October 1994. King Hussein was later honored when his picture appeared on an Israeli postage stamp in recognition of the good relations he established with his neighbor. Since the signing of the peace treaty with Israel, the United States not only contributes hundreds of millions of dollars in an annual foreign aid stipend to Jordan, but also has allowed it to establish a free trade zone in which to manufacture goods that will enter the US without paying the usual import taxes as long as a percentage of the material used in them is purchased in Israel.
Following the outbreak of fighting between Israel and Palestinians in the Second Intifada in September 2000, the Jordanian government offered its offices to both parties. Jordan has since sought to remain at peace with all of its neighbors. Particularly good relations have been maintained between the Jordanian royal family and Israel, with the Jordanian government frequently dispersing rallies and jailing demonstrators protesting against Israeli actions. The government also censors anti-Israeli views from the Jordanian news media.
The last major strain in Jordan's relations with Israel occurred in September, 1997, when two Israeli agents entered Jordan using Canadian passports and poisoned Khaled Meshal, a senior leader of the Palestinian group Hamas. Under threat of cutting off diplomatic relations, King Hussein forced Israel to provide an antidote to the poison and to release dozens of Jordanians and Palestinians from its prisons, including the spiritual leader of Hamas, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. Sheikh Yassin was later assassinated by Israel in a targeted bombing in early 2004 in the West Bank.
On 9 November 2005 Jordan experienced three simultaneous terrorist bombings at hotels in Amman. At least 57 people died and 115 were wounded. "Al-Qaeda in Iraq", a group led by terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, claimed responsibility.
Recently, Jordan has revoked the citizenship of thousands of Palestinians in an attempt to thwart any attempt by Israel of permanently re-settling West Bank Palestinians in Jordan. West Bank Palestinians with family in Jordan or with previous Jordanian citizenship would be issued yellow cards which guaranteed them all the rights of Jordanian citizenship. Palestinians working for the Palestinian Authority or the PLO were among those who have had their Jordanian passports taken from them, in addition to anyone who did not serve in the Jordanian army. Palestinians living in Jordan with family in the West Bank would also be issued yellow cards. All other Palestinians wishing such Jordanian papers would be issued a green card which would facilitate travel into Jordan and give them temporary Jordanian passports in order to make travel easier. In addition, no Palestinians from the Gaza Strip are given any such privileges because Jordanian authority never extended into the Gaza Strip.
Jordan is a Middle Eastern Arab country in Southwest Asia, bordered by Syria to the north, Iraq to the northeast, Saudi Arabia to the east and south and Israel to the west. All these border lines add up to 1,619 km (1,006 mi). Jordan has a coastline of 26 km (16 mi) on the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba.
Jordan consists of arid forest plateau in the east irrigated by oasis and seasonal water streams, with highland area in the west of arable land and Mediterranean evergreen forestry. The Great Rift Valley of the Jordan River separates Jordan, the west bank and Israel. The highest point in the country is Jabal Umm al Dami, it is 1,854 m (6,083 ft) above sea level, its top is also covered with snow, while the lowest is the Dead Sea -420 m (−1,378 ft). Jordan is part of a region considered to be "the cradle of civilization", the Levant region of the Fertile Crescent.
The climate in Jordan is semi-dry in summer with average temperature in the mid 30°C (mid 90°F) and relatively cold in winter averaging around 13 °C (55 °F). The western part of the country receives greater precipitation during the winter season from November to March and snowfall in Amman (756 m (2,480 ft) ~ 1,280 m (4,199 ft) above sea-level) and Western Heights of 500 m (1,640 ft). Excluding the rift valley the rest of the country is entirely above 300 m (984 ft)(SL).
The major characteristic of the climate is humid from November to March and semi dry weather for the rest of the year. With hot, dry summers and cool winters during which practically all of the precipitation occurs, the country has a Mediterranean-style climate. In general, the farther inland from the Mediterranean Sea a given part of the country lies, the greater are the seasonal contrasts in temperature and the less rainfall. Atmospheric pressures during the summer months are relatively uniform, whereas the winter months bring a succession of marked low pressure areas and accompanying cold fronts. These cyclonic disturbances generally move eastward from over the Mediterranean Sea several times a month and result in sporadic precipitation.
Most of the land receives less than 620 mm of rain a year and may be classified as a semi dry region. Where the ground rises to form the highlands east of the Jordan Valley, precipitation increases to around 300 mm in the south and 500 or more mm in the north. The Jordan Valley, forms a narrow climatic zone that annually receives up to 900 mm of rain in the northern reaches; rain dwindles to less than 120 mm at the head of the Dead Sea.
The country's long summer reaches a peak during August. January is usually the coldest month. The fairly wide ranges of temperature during a twenty-four-hour period are greatest during the summer months and have a tendency to increase with higher elevation. Daytime temperatures during the summer months frequently exceed 29 °C and average about 32 °C. In contrast, the winter months—September to March—bring moderately cool and sometimes very cold weather, averaging about 3.2 °C. Except in the rift depression, frost is fairly common during the winter, it may take the form of snow at the higher elevations of the north western highlands. Usually it snows a couple of times in the winter.
For a month or so before and after the summer dry season, hot, dry air from the desert, drawn by low pressure, produces strong winds from the south or southeast that sometimes reach gale force. Known in the Middle East by various names, including the khamsin, this dry, sirocco-style wind is usually accompanied by great dust clouds. Its onset is heralded by a hazy sky, a falling barometer, and a drop in relative humidity to about 10 percent. Within a few hours there may be a 10 °C to 15 °C rise in temperature. These windstorms ordinarily last a day or so, cause much discomfort, and destroy crops by desiccating them.
The shamal, comes from the north or northwest, generally at intervals between June and September. Remarkably steady during daytime hours but becoming a breeze at night, the shammal may blow for as long as nine days out of ten and then repeat the process. It originates as a dry continental mass of polar air that is warmed as it passes over the Eurasian landmass. The dryness allows intense heating of the Earth's surface by the sun, resulting in high daytime temperatures that moderate after sunset.
The Administrative Divisions system by the Ministry of Interior divided Jordan into 12 provinces called 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. The Governorates are:
|Governorates of Jordan by population|
|Rank||Province||Population ||Area (Km2)||Density (ppKm2)||Capital||Population (Metro)|
|2||Irbid Governorate||950,700||1621||570.3||Irbid||650,000 |
|4||Balqa Governorate||349,580||1076||324.9||Salt||96,700 |
|9||Ajloun Governorate||118,496||412||287.1||Ajloun||55,000 |
|11||Ma'an Governorate||103,920||33163||3.1||Ma'an||50,350 |
|12||Tafilah Governorate||81,000||2114||38.3||Tafilah||38,400 |
|Source: دائرة الإحصاءات العامة - الأردن Jordanian Department of Statistics (with 2005 population estimates)|
The governorates are divided into 52 departments.
The Jordan National Census for the year 2004 was released on October 1 of the same year, According to the census, Jordan had a population of 5,100,981. The census estimated that there are another 190,000 who were not counted (for being out of the country at the time the census was taken, or did not turn in their forms). National growth rate was 2.5% (at maximum) compared to 3.3% of the 1994 census. Males made up 51.5% of Jordan's population (2,628,717), while females constituted 2,472,264 (48.5%). Jordanian citizens made up 93% of the population (4,750,463), while non-Jordanian citizens made up 7% (349,933). However, it is estimated that most of those who did not turn in their forms were immigrants from neighboring countries, or non Arabic-speaking foreigners. There were 946,000 households in Jordan in 2004, with an average of 5.3 persons/household (compared to 6 persons/household for the census of 1994). The next census is scheduled to take place in 2014.
Of the non-Arab population which comprise 2% to 5% of Jordan's population, most are Circassians, Chechens, Armenians, Turkmans, and Gypsies, all of which have maintained separate ethnic identities, but have integrated into mainstream Jordanian and Arab culture. Since the Iraq War many Christians (Assyrians and Chaldeans) from Iraq have settled permanently or temporarily in Jordan.
During the years 2004–2007, Jordan saw a rapid increase in its population due to the heavy migration of Iraqi refugees, an independent census carried in 2007, estimated that there are 700,000 Iraqis residing in Jordan, other estimates put them as high as one million Iraqis. Estimates put the population of Jordan slightly over 6,300,000 as of the year 2009 (increasing from 5,100,000 in 2004).
Jordan has one of the highest immigration rates in the world (16th). Iraqis, Palestinians, Lebanese, Syrians, Egyptians, Armenians, Circassians, and Chechens are just some of the groups that make up Jordan's diverse population.
According to Labour Ministry figures, the number of guest workers in the country now stands just over 300,000, most are Egyptians who makeup 227,000 of the foreign labor, and the remaining 36,150 workers are mostly from Bangladesh, China, Sri Lanka and India.
In relation to the population size, Jordan is also one of the largest suppliers of labour and human capital in the world. An estimated 300.000 Jordanians or one fourth of the labour force are earning their living in foreign countries. Between 1968 and 2003, the accumulated net number of out-migrants amounted to over 1,1 million persons, most of whom left on a temporary basis to the oil producing Gulf States. Since the mid 1970s, migrants’ remittances are Jordan’s most important source of foreign exchange, and a decisive factor in the country’s economic development and the rising standard of living of the population .
Islam is the predominant religion in Jordan, and it is the majority religion among both Arabs and non-Arabs. It is the official religion of the country, and approximately 92% of the population is Muslim by religion, primarily of the Sunni branch of Islam. Islamic studies are offered to students but are not mandatory to non-Muslim students. Jordan is an advocate for religious freedom in the region and the world. Religious officials have no part in the government and are not allowed to interfere in the state's affairs. People may be tried in religious courts if they wish, but civil courts are the norm.
Jordan has an indigenous Christian minority. Christians are a religious minority both among the Arab and non-Arab segment. Christians of all ethnic backgrounds permanently residing in Jordan form approximately 6% of the population and are allocated respective seats in parliament (The Department of Statistics released no information about the religion distribution from the census of 2004). Christians made up 30% of the Jordanian population in 1950. However, emigration to Europe, Canada and the United States and lower birth rates compared to Muslims has significantly decreased the ratio of the Christian population.
Indigenous Jordanians of the Christians faith, are, like their counterpart indigenous Jordanians of the Muslim faith, an Arab people in language, culture and identity. Unlike those who became Muslim, they remained Christian, although both descend from the same earlier population of Jordan and both were Arabized. Jordanian Arab Christians hold services in the Arabic language, and share the culture of Jordan, and share the broader Levantine Arab identity. Most Jordanian Arab Christians belong to the Melkite Greek Catholic Church (called "Ruum Katoleek" in Arabic, the also called Melkites. The remainder include members of the Syriac Orthodox Church, Armenian Apostolic Church, Roman Catholic Church ("Lateen" in Arabic), the Greek Orthodox Church ("Ruum Urthudux"), Syrian Catholic Church and Armenian Catholic Church.
Among the Christian non-Arab population, significant part is made up of Armenians in Jordan. Others include expatriate Christians in Jordan from various countries, as evinced, for example, by some Catholic masses held in English, French, Italian, Spanish, Tagalog and Sinhala. Many Iraqi Christians have recently moved to Jordan with the turmoil in neighboring Iraq, and they are composed mostly of Iraqi Assyrian Christians but also some Iraqi Arab Christians.
Other religious minorities groups in Jordan include adherents to the Druze and Bahá'í Faith. The Druze are mainly located in the Eastern Oasis Town of Azraq and the city of Zarka, while the Village of Adassiyeh bordering the Jordan Valley is home to Jordan's Bahá'í community.
The official language is Arabic, but English is used widely in commerce, government, universities, medicine, and among educated people. Arabic and English are obligatory learning at public and private schools. French is taught at some public and private schools and it is obligatory in the schools that teach it. However, a vibrant Francophone community has emerged in modern Jordan. Radio Jordan offers radio services in Arabic, English and French. Armenian as well as Caucasian languages like Circassian and Chechen are understood and spoken by their respective communities residing in Jordan with minority schools teaching these languages, alongside Arabic and English. Russian is also fairly common amongst the older generation, because many studied in the USSR.
Jordan's most executive power is the King and it is a constitutional monarchy with a representative government. The King traditionally has held substantial power, however the democratically elected Parliament holds significant influence and power in national governance.
Jordan is a constitutional monarchy based on the constitution promulgated on 8 January 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 council of ministers, led by a prime minister, is appointed by the king, who may dismiss other cabinet members at the prime minister's request. The cabinet is responsible to the Chamber of Deputies on matters of general policy and can be forced to resign by a 50% or more of vote of "no confidence" by that body.
The constitution provides for three categories of courts: civil, religious, and special. Administratively, Jordan is divided into twelve 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.
Jordan has multi-party politics. There are over 30 political parties in the Jordan from a wide range of positions ranging from extreme left (Jordanian Communist Party) to extreme right (Islamic Action Front).
Article 97 of Jordan’s constitution guarantees the independence of the judicial branch, clearly stating that judges are 'subject to no authority but that of the law.' While the king must approve the appointment and dismissal of judges, in practice these are supervised by the Higher Judicial Council.
The Jordanian legal system draws upon civil traditions as well as Islamic law and custom. Article 99 of the Constitution divides the courts into three categories: civil, religious and special. The civil courts deal with civil and criminal matters in accordance with the law, and they have jurisdiction over all persons in all matters, civil and criminal, including cases brought against the government. The civil courts include Magistrate Courts, Courts of First Instance, Courts of Appeal, High Administrative Courts and the Supreme Court.
The religious courts include shari’a (Islamic law) courts and the tribunals of other religious communities, namely those of the Christian minority. Religious courts have primary and appellate courts and deal only with matters involving personal law such as marriage, divorce, inheritance and child custody. Shari’a courts also have jurisdiction over matters pertaining to the Islamic waqfs. In cases involving parties of different religions, regular courts have jurisdiction.
Specialized courts involve various bodies. One such body is the Supreme Council which will interpret the Constitution if requested by either the National Assembly or the prime minister, according to Dew et al.: "...such courts are usually created in areas that the legislator deems should be governed by specialized courts with more experience and knowledge in specific matters than other regular courts." Other examples of special courts include the Court of Income Tax and the Highest Court of Felonies.
The strictly military courts of the martial law period have been abolished and replaced with a State Security Court, which is composed of both military and civilian judges. The court tries both military and civilians and its jurisdiction includes offenses against the external and internal security of the state as well as drug-related and other offenses. The findings of this court are subject to appeal before the High Court.
Both Article 102 of the Constitution and the Code of Criminal Procedure mandate the right of an accused person to a lawyer of his or her own choice during the investigation and trial period. Article 22 of the Code of Criminal Procedure also provides that a lawyer has the right to attend the interrogation unless the investigation is confidential or urgent. Article 28 of the Code of Criminal Procedure declares that detainees should be brought before a court within 48 hours of arrest, even in special security cases, giving them an opportunity to have full access to legal counsel.
Prior to 2002 Jordan’s legal system only allowed men to file for divorce, however, during this year the first Jordanian woman successfully filed for divorce; this was made possible from a proposal by a royal human rights commission which had been established by King Abdullah who had vowed to improve the status of women in Jordan.
Despite being traditionally dominated by men the number of women involved as lawyers in the Jordan legal system has been increasing. As of mid-2006 Jordan had 1,284 female lawyers, out of a total number of 6,915, and 35 female judges from a total of 630. In Jordan, between 15 and 20 women are murdered annually in the name of "honour" and at least eight such killings have been reported in 2008, according to Jordanian authorities. In 2007 17 such murders were recorded.
King Abdullah I ruled Jordan after independence from Britain. After the assassination of King Abdullah I in 1951, his son King Talal ruled briefly. King Talal's major accomplishment was the Jordanian constitution. King Talal was removed from the throne in 1952 due to mental illness. At that time his son, Hussein, was too young to rule, and hence a committee ruled over Jordan.
After Hussein reached 18, he ruled Jordan as king 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 in Jordan. King Hussein ended martial law in 1991 and legalized political parties in 1992. 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 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 United States. 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. While the King remains the ultimate authority in Jordan, the parliament plays an important role.
The 1952 Constitution provided for the establishment of the bicameral Jordanian National Assembly (‘Majlis al-Umma’). The Parliament consists of two Chambers: The Chamber of Deputies (‘Majlis al-Nuwaab’) and the Senate (‘Majlis al-Aayan’; literally, ‘Assembly of Notables’). The Senate has 55 Senators, all of whom are directly appointed by the King, whilst the Chamber of Deputies/House of Representatives has 80 elected members representing 12 constituencies. Of the 80 members of the Lower Chamber, 71 must be Muslim and 9 Christians, with six seats held back specifically for women. The Constitution ensures that the Senate cannot be more than half the size of the Chamber of Deputies.
The constitution does not provide a strong system of checks and balances within which the Jordanian Parliament can assert its role in relationship to the monarch. During the suspension of Parliament between 2001 and 2003, the scope of King Abdullah II’s power was demonstrated with the passing of 110 temporary laws. Two of such laws dealt with election law and were seen to reduce the power of Parliament.
Senators have terms of four years and are appointed by the King and can be reappointed. Prospective Senators must be at least forty years old and have held senior positions in either the government or military. Appointed Senators have included former Prime Ministers and Members of the Chamber of Deputies. Deputies are elected to also serve a four year term. Candidates must be older than thirty-five, cannot have blood ties to the King, and must not have any financial interests in government contracts.
The reforms of 1989 legalized political parties and opposition movements. The result is over 30 political parties, but the only political party that plays a role in the legislature is the Islamic Action Front (IAF). Political parties can be seen to represent four sections: Islamists, leftists, Arab nationalists and liberals. Some other political parties in Jordan including the Jordanian Arab Democratic Party, Jordanian Socialist Party, and Muslim Centre Party, but these have little impact on the political process because of lack of organization and clear platforms on key domestic issues as well as differences and factions within these political parties.
Jordan "has consistently been cited by Amnesty International as the country with the best human rights record in the region." However, there are still several issues that continue to cause some concern for human rights watchdogs like administrative detention, so called "honour killings", and slow democratic reforms. In 2009, Jordan ranked as "Not Free" in Freedom House's 2008 Press Freedom rankings. Jordan’s civil liberties and political rights ranked 5.0 "Partly Free" near "Not Free" in Freedom House's 2009 rankings, a drop from last year. Jordan has the 5th freest press in the Arab World out of 21 countries. The Kingdom is committed to freedom of expression and choice. Measured by the Annual Freedom House survey, Jordan ranks third in the Middle East on major areas of freedom, from investment to expression.
Also, Jordan enjoys transparent governance, ranking 4th among Arab countries in the 2007 Corruption Perceptions Index issued by Transparency International, after Qatar, UAE and Bahrain. Further efforts to enhance its position include ratifying the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) where Jordan emerged as a regional leader in spearheading efforts to promote the UNCAC and its implementation.
Amnesty International showed concern about the practices of torture and ill-treatment in Jordan, "as well as the link between torture, unfair trials, and the death penalty." Amnesty International also showed concern about death-penalty rulings in Jordan "because there is a pattern of death sentences, and sometimes executions, occurring as a result of unfair trials where confessions extracted under torture are used as evidence against the defendants". According to the same Amnesty International report, there is a pattern of suppression of freedom of expression and association in Jordan.
According to Amnesty, "The practice of killing women and girls by husbands or family members because they have allegedly engaged in behavior that goes against social norms (so-called "honor killings") continues to be a problem in Jordan; with an average of 20 Jordanian women killed each year. Measures calling for stricter punishment for those committing honor killings have failed to be enacted" Three years ago, the government abolished the section of the penal code that allowed those convicted of honor killings to receive sentences as lenient as six months in prison. The judiciary has not, however, put them on an equal footing with other homicides, which are punishable by up to 15 years in jail. Honor crime offenders typically get anywhere between seven-and-a-half years in jail to commuted sentences after being pardoned by the slain woman's parents, which is usually their own family. Recently, the Judicial Ministry established a special tribunal for honor crimes that would speed up trials which would often take up to 18 months.
Amnesty also reported on the abuse of foreign domestic workers in Jordan. These violations surfaced after hundreds of Filipino maids fled to their embassy to escape abuse. It said that many workers out of a total of 70.000 suffer human rights violations. In August 2009, a new law aimed at improving the rights of domestic workers was passed by the cabinet making Jordan the first Arab country to guarantee legal protection for domestic workers. The reported improvements include religious freedom, health care, 10-hour workdays, one contact per month with the worker's homeland at the employer's expense, 14 day paid annual leave and 14 days of paid sick leave per year.
The Jordanian Constitution provides for the freedom to practice one's religion in accordance with the customs in the Kingdom, unless they violate public order or morality. Jordan's state religion is Islam. The Government bans conversion from Islam and efforts to proselytize Muslims.
The US State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report of 2009 indicated that there were “no reports that the practice of any faith was prohibited” in Jordan. In fact, Jordan has been highlighted as a model of interfaith dialogue. The study also concluded that in the last year there were “no reports of misuse or neglect” of the Kingdom’s diverse religious sites, as well as no reports of “harassment, discrimination, or restrictions” to worshippers.
Christians are well integrated into the Kingdom’s political and economic landscapes. At least one Christian holds a ministerial post in every government, eight seats in the 110-seat Parliament are reserved for Christians, and a similar number is appointed to the Upper House by the King. They serve in the military, many have high positions in the army, and they have established good relations with the royal family.
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 the good regional cooperation it has with Israel. The country depends on external sources for the majority of its energy requirements. During the 1990s, its crude petroleum needs were met through imports from Iraq and neighboring countries. Since early 2003, oil has been provided by some Gulf Cooperation Council member countries. In addition, the Arab 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, had been driving economic growth in the first years of strong economic growth achieved at the turn of the millennium. Jordan exported €5.6 million ($6.9 million) in goods to the U.S. in 1997, when two-way trade was €321 million ($395 million); it exported €538 million ($661 million) in 2002 with two-way trade at €855 million ($1.05 billion).
Similar growth in exports to the United States under the bilateral US-Jordan 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 (ASEZA) is considered a model of a government-provided framework for private sector-led economic growth.
Since King Abdullah II's accession to the throne in 1999, liberal economic policies have been introduced which has resulted in a boom lasting for a decade continuing even through 2009. Jordan is now one of the freest and most competitive economies in the Middle East scoring higher than the United Arab Emirates and Lebanon in the 2009 Heritage Foundation Index. Jordan's developed and modern banking sector is becoming the investment destination of choice due to its conservative bank policies that helped Jordan escape the worst of the global financial crisis of 2009.
With instability across the region in Iraq and Lebanon, Jordan is emerging as the "business capital of the Levant" and the "the next Beirut". Jordan's economy has been growing at an annual rate of 7% for a decade. Jordan's economy is undergoing a major shift from an aid-dependent, rentier economy to one of the most robust, open and competitive economies in the region. In recent years, there has been shift to knowledge-intensive industries, i.e ICT, and a rapidly growing trade sector benefiting from regional instability.
Jordan has more free trade agreements than any other Arab country. Jordan has FTA's with the United States, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, the European Union, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, Iraq, Turkey and Syria. More FTA's are planned with the Palestinian Authority, the GCC, Lebanon, and Pakistan. Jordan is a member of the Greater Arab Free Trade Agreement, the Euro-Mediterranean free trade agreement, and the Agadir Agreement. Increased investment and exports are the main sources of Jordan's growth. Continued close integration into the European Union and GCC markets will reap vast economic rewards for the Kingdom in the coming years.
The main obstacles to Jordan's economy is scarce water supplies, complete reliance on oil imports for energy, and regional instability.
Rapid privatization of previously state-controlled industries and liberalization of the economy is spurring unprecedented growth in Jordan's urban centers like Amman and especially Aqaba. Jordan has six special economic zones that attract significant amount of investment amounting in the billions: Aqaba, Mafraq, Ma'an, Ajloun, the Dead Sea, and Irbid. Jordan also has a plethora of industrial zones producing goods in the textile, aerospace, defense, ICT, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic sectors.
King Abdullah has repeatedly emphasised that Jordan has a bright future and that it compares favourably with much of the region on key social and economic indicators. According to JIB (Jordan Investment Board)officials, Jordan receives twice the level of per capita foreign investment than its larger neighbour Egypt does. Even though inflation pushed its way up to the 13% mark in the first half of 2008, the shocks to the system are far less than in Egypt where inflation crept up to around 23%. Jordan’s economy has come under some pressure in 2007 and perhaps more so in 2008, primarily from global increases in oil and food prices that have affected the government budget and the current account balance. While Jordan is facing enormous economic pressures, it is managing to sustain good levels of GDP growth and foreign investment.
Jordan’s free trade agreements, investment incentives and low transport costs for shipping to major markets are still drawing producers to the country. Steel and cement productions are due to rise, with two additional cement plants under construction and likely to provide further export income. The government is also pushing ahead with the establishment of economic zones to attract new industry and services to less developed areas of the country where problems of unemployment and poverty are particularly acute.
However, its domestic developments will be the key to improving conditions. The government will push ahead with major projects such as the housing initiative, the economic zones, and attracting knowledge-intensive investments that require high-skilled labour and vocational programmes in the hope of creating more jobs and helping to counteract the impact of higher living costs, while at the same time hoping that global developments do not make its job even harder.
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.
Many Iraqi and Palestinian businesses maintain important offices in Jordan. Due to the instability in these two regions, many Iraqis and Palestinians work out of Jordan. With Jordan becoming known as the gateway to Iraq and the Palestinian territories and for its free trade policies, Amman and the Kingdom of Jordan as a whole has the potential to monopolize business and trade in the Levant.
In the 2000 Competitive Industrial Performance (CIP) Index, Jordan ranked as the third most industrialized economy in the Middle East and North Africa, behind Turkey and Kuwait. Jordan was in the upper bracket of nations scored by the CIP index.
In the 2009 Global Trade Enabling Report, Jordan ranked 4th in the Arab World behind the UAE, Bahrain, and Qatar. The report analyzes the country's market access, the country's transport and communications infrastructure, border administration, and the business environment of the country Textile and clothing exports from Jordan to the United States shot up 2,000 percent from 2000 to 2005, following introduction of the FTA. According to the National Labor Committee, a U.S.-based NGO (Non-Governmental Organization), Jordan has experienced sharp increases in sweatshop conditions in its export-oriented manufacturing sector.
The proportion of skilled workers in Jordan is among the highest in the region. The services sector dominates the Jordanian economy. Tourism is a rapidly growing industry in Jordan with revenues over one billion. Industries such as pharmaceuticals are emerging as very profitable products in Jordan. The Real Estate economy and construction sectors continue to flourish with mass amounts of investments pouring in from the Persian Gulf and Europe. Foreign Direct Investment is in the billions. The stock market capitalization of Jordan is worth nearly $40 billion.
Jordan is classified by the World Bank as a "lower middle income country." The per-capita GDP was approximately USD $5,100 for 2007 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 very 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 well-being of its citizens is the macroeconomic stability that has been achieved since the 1990s. However, unemployment rates remain high, with the official figure standing at 12.5%, and the unofficial around 30%. 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.
By 2003 onwards following the invasion and occupation of Iraq, Jordan lost its vital oil grants provided by the regime of Saddam Hussein. This, combined with soaring world oil prices resulted in an acceleration of inflation and further pressures a gradual undermining of real income. So far the government of Jordan has not found means to reduce dependence on oil (with the exception of gas imports from Egypt).
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 potential. On the positive side, however, there is huge potential in the solar energy falling on Jordan's deserts, not only for the generation of pollution-free electricity but also for such spin-offs as desalination of sea water (see Trans-Mediterranean Renewable Energy Cooperation (TREC)).
Amman was ranked as the Arab World's most expensive city in 2006 by the Economist Intelligence Unit, beating Dubai. In 2009, Amman ranked as the 4th most expensive city in the Arab World, behind Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Beirut.
Jordan is an importer of low skilled and semi-skilled laborers from Egypt, Syria, South Asia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. There are about three to four hundred thousand migrant workers of this type. These migrant workers often work in construction, the textile factories in Jordan's Qualified Industrial Zones, municipal maintenance services, and as domestic workers. Recently, these migrant workers were incorporated into the Kingdom's labor laws giving them a wide range of benefits and rights and access to legal protection, the first Arab country to do so.
In 2009, There are 2 Jordanian company who are listed in the Forbes Global 2000 list, namely Arab Bank ( Rank 708) and Arab Potash (Rank 1964)
Although Jordan is a generally resource-poor country, Jordan does contain significant deposits of both oil shale and sources of uranium; these potential sources of indigenous energy have been the focus of renewed interest in recent years. There are also modest reserves of phosphates and, more recently, natural gas that have been exploited for decades. Jordan, however, is one of the most water-scarce countries in the world and considerable water is required to develop these resources, particularly oil shale. Which is making the countires well amount of oil shale run down, which means soon they will be out cause the high lack of water. There are very limited resources of timber and forestry products and timbering is strictly limited by Jordan's environmentalists.
Natural gas was discovered in Jordan in 1987, and the estimated size of the reserve discovered was about 230 billion cubic feet, and quantities are very modest compared with its neighbours. It was the development of the Risha field in the Eastern Desert beside the Iraqi border, and the field produces nearly 30 million cubic feet of gas a day, to be sent to a nearby power plant to produce nearly 10% of the Jordan's Electric needs.
Despite the fact that reserves of crude oil are non-commercial, Jordan possesses one of the world's richest stockpiles of oil shale where there are huge quantities that could be commercially exploited in the central and northern regions west of the country. The extent the World Energy Council reserves Jordan approximately 40 billion tons, which established it as the second richest state in rock oil reserves after Canada (estimated), and first at the world's level of proven discoveries at a rate of extraction of oil up to between 8% and 12% of content, and could be the production of 4 billion tons of oil from the current reserve, which puts the quality of Jordanian oil on the one hand extraction, on an equal footing with their counterparts in western Colorado in the United States, which its estimated amount may rise to 20 billion tons. The moisture content and ash within is relatively low. And the total thermal value is 7.5 megajoules/kg, and the content of ointments reach 9 percent of the weight of the organic content. Jordan recently signed a deal with Royal Dutch Shell to extract and exploit shale oil reserves in central Jordan. It is expected Jordan will produce its first commercial quantities of oil in 10–12 years.
Also, the Natural Resource Authority (NRA) is in the final phases of preparing an agreement with Eesti Energia under which the Estonian energy firm is expected to invest an estimated of $7 billion in the sector.
According to NRA Director Maher Hijazeen, some 700 direct jobs and over 3,000 indirect employment opportunities will be generated by the venture, which is expected to produce 35,000 barrels of oil daily within the next 10 years. Under the agreement, JEML would produce 50,000 barrels of oil a day, 35 per cent of the Kingdom’s energy consumption in “less than 10 years”, creating a “significant” number of jobs, the NRA director said. The 45-year concessions, which are separate blocks in Al Attarat and Lajoun in the central region, will be signed within the next two to three months and then referred to Parliament for approval.
Previous NRA studies have revealed that 40 billion tonnes of oil shale exist in 21 sites concentrated near the Yarmouk River, Buweida, Beit Ras, Rweished, Karak, Madaba and Maan.
A switch to power plants operated by oil shale has the potential to reduce Jordan's energy bill by at least 40–50 per cent, according to the National Electric Power Company.
There are phosphate mines in the south of the kingdom, making Jordan the third largest source of this mineral in the world. Potassium, salt, natural gas and stone are the most important other substances extracted. Phosphates are carried by rail from the mines to the port of Aqaba where it is shipped via cargo ship to other ports.
Jordan has one of the largest uranium reserves in the world. Jordan's reserves account for 2% of the world's total uranium. It's estimated that Jordan can extract 80,000 tons of uranium from its uranic ores, and the country's phosphate reserves also contain some 100,000 tons of uranium. Jordan plans that by 2035, 60% of the country's total energy consumption will be from nuclear energy. 4 nuclear power plants are planned to be built in Jordan with the first one to be operational in 2017.
There are three commercial airports, all receiving and sending international commercial flights, two of them in Amman and the third is located in the city of Aqaba. The largest airport in the country is Queen Alia International Airport in Amman that serves as the hub of the regional airline Royal Jordanian. The airport is currently under significant expansion in a bid to make it the hub for the Levant. Marka International Airport was the country's main airport before it was replaced by Queen Alia Airport but it still serves several regional routes. King Hussein International Airport serves Aqaba with connections to Amman and several regional and international cities.
Jordan has a well-developed road infrastructure with 7,999 kilometres of paved highways.
A National Rail System was approved by the Jordanian Government which will connect all major cities and towns by passenger and cargo rail. There are two lines to be constructed. The North-South Line passing through Mafraq, Zarqa, Amman, Maan, and Aqaba with international connections to Syria and Saudi Arabia. The East-West Line will run from Mafraq, Irbid, and Azraq with international connections to Iraq and possibly Israel. The national rail system will be completed by 2013. These routes are planned to be electrified. There are also plans for a light rail system operating between Amman and Zarqa and a funicular and a three line metro system for Amman.
Two connected but non-contiguously operated sections of the Hedjaz Railway exist:
Jordan shares the longest common borders with the West Bank, there are two border crossings between Jordan and Israel in the Bisan merge (King Hussein Bridge) in the north in the Wadi Araba in the south.
The Port of Aqaba is Jordan's sole outlet to the sea. It handles all cargo bound to Jordan, Iraq,and in some cases the West Bank. The Main Port is being relocated further south and being expanded. An Abu Dhabi consortium will handle the $5 billion dollar deal. The project is set to be completed in 2013.
The official currency in Jordan is the Jordanian dinar and divides into 10 dirham, 100 qirsh (also called piastres) or 1000 fils. In 1949, banknotes were issued by the government in denominations of 500 fils, 1, 5 ,10 and 50 dinar. From 1959, the Central Bank of Jordan took over note production. 20 dinar notes were introduced in 1977, followed by 50 dinar in 1999. ½ dinar notes were replaced by coins in 1999. Coins were introduced in 1949 in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 fils. The first issue of 1 fils were mistakenly minted with the denomination given as "1 fil". 20 fils coins were minted until 1965, with 25 fils introduced in 1968 and ¼ dinar coins in 1970. The 1 fils coin was last minted in 1985. In 1996, smaller ¼ dinar coins were introduced alongside ½ and 1 dinar coins. Since October 23, 1995, the dinar has been officially pegged to the IMF's Special Drawing Rights (SDRs). In practice, it is fixed at 1 U.S. dollar = 0.709 dinar, which translates to approximately 1 dinar = 1.41044 dollars. The Central Bank buys U.S. dollars at 0.708 dinar, and sell U.S. dollars at 0.7125 dinar,Exchangers buys U.S. dollars at 0.708 and sell U.S. dollars at 0.709.
Tourism is a very important sector of the Jordanian economy, contributing between 10 percent and 12 percent to the country's Gross National Product in 2006. In addition to the country's political stability, the geography offered makes Jordan an attractive tourism destination. In 2008, there were over 6 million arrivals, 3 million of them tourists, to Jordan. Jordan earned over 3 billion dollars in revenue from the tourist industry. Opodo and Travel Guides named Jordan as the Top Emerging Destination for 2009. Jordan's major tourist activities include numerous ancient places, its unique desert castles and unspoiled natural locations to its cultural and religious sites. The best known attractions include:
Discothèques, music bars and shisha lounges have sprouted around Amman, changing the city's old image as the sleepy capital of a conservative kingdom. Jordan's young population is helping shape this new burgeoning nightlife scene, a tamer version however than the Middle East's so called "sin city" Beirut. It has drastically changed so much that partying is becoming a lifestyle for Jordanians, whether they be religious or not. Driving expensive cars and sporting the latest Western fashions, many of these young, affluent Jordanians gather almost every night at the chic new spots. Amman along with, Abu Dhabi and Jeddah, had the highest occupancy rates in the region in 2009.
Jordan has been an established medical tourism destination in the Middle East since the 1970s. A study conducted by Jordan's Private Hospitals Association (PHA) found that 210,100 patients from 48 countries received treatment in the kingdom in 2008, compared to 190,000 in 2007, bringing over $1 billion in revenue. It is the region's top medical tourism destination as rated by the World Bank, and fifth in the world overall.
There are about 60 private health care institutions in the kingdom, four of which have been accredited by US-based Joint Commission International, which is considered the gold standard for international accreditation in the healthcare industry.
Also, most of Jordan's doctors speak proficient English and many have been trained or are affiliated with top US hospitals such as the Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins. Although Jordan's medical institutions are of high standards, its costs are relatively low compared to the developed world but relatively high for the developing world. Healthcare costs in Jordan typically are just one-tenth of the price of treatments in the USA, and less than a third of the cost of medical services in the UK.
Other features that make that Jordan a popular healthcare destination are sight-seeing attractions such as Petra and the Dead Sea and the fact that its modern capital, Amman, is considered one of the cleanest cities in the region and in the world.
The most common procedures requested by patients from the USA and UK at the hospital are plastic surgery, in-vitro fertilization, and orthopaedic care. Regional Patients travelling to Jordan usually seek cardiac surgery, neurosurgery, and cancer-related procedures.
The main barrier to further growth for Jordan's medical tourism industry is visa restrictions placed on some countries due to the fear of permanent illegal settlement in Jordan. Jordan's main focus of attention in its marketing effort are the ex-Soviet states, Europe, and America.
Jordan has a number of nature reserves.
Dana Biosphere Reserve covers 308 square kilometres. It is composed of a chain of valleys and mountains which extend from the top of the Jordan Rift Valley down to the desert lowlands of Wadi Araba. Attractions include Rummana mountain, the ancient archaeological ruins of Feinan, the Dana Village and the grandeur of the red and white sandstone cliffs of Wadi Dana. The Reserve contains a remarkable diversity of landscapes, which range from wooded highlands to rocky slopes and gravel plains to sand dunes. Dana supports diverse wildlife including a variety of rare species of plants and animals; Dana is home to about 600 species of plants, 37 species of mammals and 190 species of birds.
The Azraq Wetland Reserve is a unique wetland oasis located in the heart of the semi-arid Jordanian eastern desert, one of several beautiful nature reserves managed by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN). Its attractions include several natural and ancient built pools, a seasonally flooded marshland, and a large mudflat known as Qa'a Al-Azraq. A wide variety of birds stop at the reserve each year for a rest during their arduous migration routes between Asia and Africa. Some stay for the winter or breed within the protected areas of the wetland.
The Shaumari Wildlife Reserve was created in 1975 by the RSCN as a breeding centre for endangered or locally extinct wildlife. Today, following breeding programmes with some of the world's leading wildlife parks and zoos, this small, 22-square-kilometre reserve is a thriving protected environment for some of the most rare species in the Middle East. Oryx, Ostriches, Gazelles and Onagers, which are depicted on many 6th century Byzantine mosaics, are rebuilding their populations in this safe haven, protected from the hunting and habitat destruction that nearly wiped them out.
The Mujib Nature Reserve is the lowest nature reserve in the world, with a spectacular array of scenery near the east cost of the Dead Sea. The reserve is located within the deep Wadi Mujib gorge, which enters the Dead Sea at 410 metres below sea level. The Reserve extends to the Kerak and Madaba mountains to the north and south, reaching 899 metres above sea level in some places. This 1,300 metre variation in elevation, combined with the valley's year-round water flow from seven tributaries, means that Wadi Mujib enjoys a magnificent bio-diversity that is still being explored and documented today. Over 300 species of plants, 10 species of carnivores and numerous species of permanent and migratory birds have been recorded. Some of the remote mountain and valley areas are difficult to reach, and thus offer safe havens for rare species of cats, goats and other mountain animals. Mujib's sandstone cliffs are an ideal habitat for one of the most beautiful mountain goats in the world, the horned Ibex.
The ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict, the Persian Gulf War, and other conflicts in Southwest Asia have made huge impacts on the economy of Jordan. The fact that Jordan has peace with the surrounding countries, combined with its stability, has made it a preference for many Palestinians, Lebanese, and people from the Persian Gulf immigrants and refugees. Though this may have resulted in a more active economy, it has also damaged it by substantially decreasing the amount of resources each person is entitled to. Jordan has a law that states that any Palestinian may immigrate and obtain Jordanian citizenship, but must remit his/her Palestinian claim. Palestinians are not allowed to purchase land unless they give up their Palestinian citizenship. In November 2005, King Abdullah called for a "war on extremism" in the wake of three suicide bombings in Amman.
A report by Strategic Foresight Group has calculated the opportunity cost of conflict for the Middle East from 1991 to 2010 at a whopping $12 trillion (12,000,000,000,000). Jordan’s share in this is almost $84 billion. Every Jordanian family will also have the opportunity to increase their annual income by more than $1,250 if peace is established in the region and the Arab-Israeli boycott is lifted in full.
The report also outlines how an extremely significant cost to Jordan is that the country is host to millions of refugees who make up 40% of their population and are a drain on 7% of the GDP. Jordan also spends over 5% of its GDP on defense, and has one of the highest numbers of military personnel in the region, 23,500 military personnel per million people.
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 Jordan's neutrality and maintaining relations with Iraq during the first Gulf War even though it was negotiating a peace settlement to end the conflict. Jordan has a well earned reputation for usually following a pragmatic and non-confrontational foreign policy, leading to good relations with its neighbours.
Jordan has always been a mediator during times of high tension. During the 1970s, King Hussein negotiated with Iran to halt the military buildup to annex the small Persian Gulf nation of Bahrain. In the 1990s, King Hussein also tried to mediate the conflict between the United States and Iraq and tried to bring an end to hostilities while still condemning the Iraqi annexation of Kuwait. Jordan has historically been at the forefront of negotiating peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. King Abdullah II is the mediator between Israel and the Arab League's negotiations for peace and normalization of bilateral ties.
Following the Gulf War, Jordan largely restored its relations with Western countries through its participation in the Southwest Asia peace process and enforcement of UN sanctions against Iraq. Relations between Jordan and the Persian 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 non-belligerency agreement with Israel (the Washington Declaration) in Washington, D.C., on 25 July 1994. King Hussein and Yitzhak Rabin negotiated this treaty. Jordan and Israel signed a historic peace treaty on 26 October 1994, witnessed by President Bill Clinton, accompanied by U.S. Secretary, Warren 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 and Israel had generally close relations even before the signing of the 1994 Peace Treaty. On more than one occasion, Jordan warned Israel of an impending attack by Syria and Egypt. Also, during the Black September conflict in Jordan, Israel warned Syria that any Syrian intervention on the side of the PLO against the Jordanian monarchy would result in an Israeli attack. Israel and Jordan along with Lebanon were already negotiating a peace treaty as early as the 1950s but a string of assassinations including Jordanian and Lebanese ambassadors and the King of Jordan himself, stopped such an attempt at peace. However, this friendship has been damaged several times due to the worsening situation in the Palestinian territories and the slow peace process with the Palestinians. In Israel, several Likud lawmakers proposed a bill that called for a Palestinian state on both sides of the Jordan River, presuming that Jordan should be the alternative homeland for the Palestinians. As a result, right-wing Jordanian lawmakers then proposed a bill in the Jordanian Parliament in which the peace treaty between Israel and Jordan would be freezed. However, many speculate whether such a drastic and radical bill would ever be endorsed by the government.
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 the 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 (NAM), and Arab League.
Jordan has quite a strong defensive army with strong support and aid from the United States, the United Kingdom and France. This is due to its critical position between Israel and the West Bank, Syria, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia with very close proximity to Lebanon and Egypt. Jordan has an excellent and well-trained police force and military that are responsive and able to handle almost any contingency.
Royal Special Forces is a unit of the armed forces of Jordan. The Commander was Brigadier-General His Royal Highness Prince Abdullah (now King Abdullah II of Jordan), 1993–1996. In 2007, these forces received training from Blackwater Worldwide 
The Royal Jordanian Air Force (RJAF) (Arabic: سلاح الجو الملكي الأردني, transliterated: Silah al-Jaw Almalaki al-Urduni) is the aviation branch of the Jordanian Armed Forces and includes the Royal Jordanian Air Defence.
There are about 50,000 Jordanian troops working with the United Nations in peacekeeping missions across the world. These soldiers provide everything from military defense, training of native police, medical help, and charity.
Jordan has dispatched several field hospitals to conflict zones and areas affected by natural disasters across the world such as Iraq, the West Bank, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Haiti, Iran, Indonesia, Congo, Liberia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sierra Leone and Pakistan. The Kingdom's field hospitals extended aid to more than one million people in Iraq, some one million in the West Bank and 55,000 in Lebanon. According to the military, there are Jordanian peacekeeping forces in Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America. Jordanian Armed Forces field hospital in Afghanistan has since 2002 provided assistance to some 750,000 persons and has significantly reduced the suffering of people residing in areas where the hospital operates.In some missions, the number of Jordanian troops was the second largest, the sources said. Jordan also provides extensive training of security forces in Iraq, the Palestinian territories, and the GCC.
Jordan is a recent entrant to the domestic defense industry with the establishment of King Abdullah II Design and Development Bureau (KADDB) in 1999. The defense industrial initiative is intended to jumpstart industrialization across a range of sectors. With the Jordanian defense expenditures at 8.7% of GDP, the Jordanian authorities created the defense industry to utilize defense budget spending power and to assist in economic growth without placing additional demands on the national budget. Jordan also hosted SOFEX 2008, an international military exhibition. Jordan is a regional and international provider of advanced military goods and services.
A KADDB Industrial Park was opened in September 2009 in Mafraq. Its is an integral industrial free zone specialised in defence industries and vehicles and machinery manufacturing. By 2015, the park is expected to provide around 15,000 job opportunities whereas the investment volume is expected to reach JD500 million.
Jordan has an efficient and well-trained police force. Jordan ranked 14th in the world, 1st in the region, in terms of police services' reliability in the Global Competitiveness Report. Also, Jordan ranked 9th in the world and 1st in the region in terms of prevention of organized crime making it one of the safest countries in the world.
The culture of Jordan, as in its spoken language, values, beliefs, ethnicities is Arab as the Kingdom is in the heart of Southwest Asia. Although many people from different regions of the world have come to settle in Jordan, like Circassians, Armenians and Chechens, they have long been assimilated in the society and added their richness to the society that subsequently developed. Jordan has a very diverse cultural scene with many different artists, religious sects, and ethnic groups residing in the small country because of Jordan's reputation for stability and tolerance.
Jordan borrows most of its music, cinema, and other forms of entertainment from other countries most specifically other Arab countries like Lebanon and Egypt and the West primarily the United States. There has been a rise of home-grown movies, television series, and music in Jordan, but they pale in comparison to the amount imported from abroad.
Jordan has become a center for Iraqi and Palestinian artists in exile because of the violence in their volatile areas.
Jordan has quite an advanced health care system, although services remain highly concentrated in Amman. Government figures have put total health spending in 2002 at some 7.5 percent of Gross domestic product (GDP), while international health organizations place the figure even higher, at approximately 9.3 percent of GDP. The country’s health care system is divided between public and private institutions. In the public sector, the Ministry of Health operates 1,245 primary health-care centers and 27 hospitals, accounting for 37 percent of all hospital beds in the country; the military’s Royal Medical Services runs 11 hospitals, providing 24 percent of all beds; and the Jordan University Hospital accounts for 3 percent of total beds in the country. The private sector provides 36 percent of all hospital beds, distributed among 56 hospitals. In 1 June 2007, Jordan Hospital (as the biggest private hospital) was the first general specialty hospital who gets the international accreditation JCAHO .Treatment cost in Jordanian hospitals is less than in other countries.
According to 2003 estimates, the rate of prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) was less than 0.1 percent. According to a United Nations Development Program report, Jordan has been considered malaria-free since 2001; cases of tuberculosis declined by half during the 1990s, but tuberculosis remains an issue and an area needing improvement. Jordan experienced a brief outbreak of bird flu in March 2006. Noncommunicable diseases such as cancer also are a major health issue in Jordan. Childhood immunization rates have increased steadily over the past 15 years; by 2002 immunizations and vaccines reached more than 95 percent of children under five.
About 86% of Jordanians had medical insurance in 2009, the Jordanian government plans to reach 100% in 2011.
The King Hussein Cancer Center is the only specialized cancer treatment facility in the Middle East. It is one of the top cancer treatment facilities in the world. Jordan was ranked by the World Bank to be the number one health care services provider in the region and among the top 5 in the world. In 2008, 250,000 patients sought treatment in the Kingdom including Iraqis, Palestinians, Sudanese, Syrians, GCC citizens, Americans, Canadians, and Egyptians. Jordan earned almost $1 billion dollars in medical tourism revenues according to the World Bank.
According to the CIA World Factbook, the life expectancy in Jordan is 78.55 years, the second highest in the region (after Israel). There were 203 physicians per 100,000 people in the years 2000-2004, a proportion comparable to many developed countries and higher than most of the developing world.
Water and sanitation, available to only 10 percent of the population in 1950, now reach 99 percent of Jordanians. Electricity now also reaches 99 percent of the population, as compared to less than 10 percent in 1955.
In the 2008 Quality of Life Index, Jordan was ranked as having one of the highest qualities of life in the Arab World. Jordan also has one of the highest standards of living in the developing world with a highly educated population with access to advanced healthcare services in urban and rural areas. Jordan ranked as having the 11th highest standard of living in the developing world and the second highest standard of living in the Arab and Muslim World as measured by the Human Poverty Index-2. Also, Jordan ranked in the top 30 nations worldwide, including developed countries, according to the Human Poverty Index-1. This was a major accomplishment of Jordan being that it ranked higher than the much more affluent Persian Gulf states, like the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. Jordan is a noticeably clean country with an extremely low crime rate. In addition, Jordan is one of the most politically stable and liberal countries in the Middle East.
The 2010 Quality of Life Index prepared by International Living Magazine ranked Jordan as having the highest quality of life in the Middle East and North Africa Region. To produce this annual Index, International Living considers, for each of these countries, nine categories: Cost of Living, Culture and Leisure, Economy, Environment, Freedom, Health, Infrastructure, Safety and Risk and Climate. Jordan ranked first in the MENA with 55.0 points followed by Kuwait with 54.47 points, Morocco with 54.45 points, and Lebanon with 54.3 points.
Jordan spends 4.2% of its GDP to guarantee the well being of its citizens- more than any other country in the region. Life expectancy and public health levels in Jordan are comparable to the West with 86% of the population on medical insurance and plans to reach 100% by 2011. Also, the Social Security Corporation (SSC) is working to increase social security subscribers across the Kingdom with public sector workers currently covered and working to include private sector employees as well. After employees in the Kingdom receive coverage, the SSC will then expand to include Jordanian expatriates in the Gulf states and then students, housewives, business owners, and the unemployed. The Social Security Corporation plans to have 85% of the population covered under the social security umbrella by 2011.
In 2008, the Jordanian government launched the "Decent Housing for a Decent Living" project aimed at giving poor people and even Palestinian refugees the chance at owning their own house. Approximately 120,000 affordable housing units will be constructed within the next 5 years, and an additional 100,000 housing units can be built if the need arises.
The main obstacle to Jordan's development is its troubled economy, but recent reforms have given the country an unprecedented economic boom. Several aspects of Jordan's quality of life include:
-Jordan has a highly educated workforce See: Education in Jordan
-Excellent health infrastructure See: Health in Jordan
-A growing economy See: Economy of Jordan
-Diverse ethnic and religious background See: Demographics of Jordan
-Political stability See: History of Jordan
In the 2007 A.T. Kearney Globalization Index, Jordan was ranked as the 9th most globalized nation in the world. Jordan ranked in the top 10 for the economic, social, and political components of the index. Jordan scored high on the trade tables with high investment rates, large amounts of expatriate remittances, and a liberal trade regime. Jordan also had one of the most political engagements, organization and treaty memberships in the world. High technology penetration rates and its fast growing ICT industry earned Jordan high marks in the technology connectivity rankings. For example, Jordan has a 101% mobile penetration rate and a 28% internet penetration rate. Also, Jordan has one of the highest levels of peacekeeping troop contributions of all U.N. member states.
Jordan ranked as the 9th best outsourcing destination worldwide. Amman was ranked as the one of the "Top 10 Aspirants", cities in this ranking have a good chance in making the top 50 outsourcing cities in the next ranking. The report said that Jordan had one of the region's most favourable business climates, a well-educated population, solid capabilities in the ICT industry, and Jordan was home to numerous outsourcing companies that compete successfully internationally.
Jordan has given great attention to education in particular. The role played by a good education system has been significant in the development of Jordan from a predominantly agrarian to an industrialized nation. Jordan's education system ranks number one in the Arab World and is one of the highest in the developing world. UNESCO ranked Jordan's education system 18th worldwide for providing gender equality in education. 20.5% of Jordan's total government expenditures goes to education compared to 2.5% in Turkey and 3.86% in Syria.
Jordan is world-renowned for its highly educated population. Jordan is among the region’s highest spenders on education, investing more than 20.4% of its GDP to enable a labor force tailored to meet the demands of the modern market. Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) Report in 2003, ranked Jordanian students scores to be 22 points above international average in science and mathematics. It also ranked Jordan as having the highest average science scores in the MENA region, including Israel and Turkey. Jordan also had one of the highest average scores in mathematics in the region. Jordan ranked 14th out of 110 countries for the number of engineers and scientists according to the Global Competitiveness Report 2004- 2005 (WEF). Jordan has a higher proportion of university graduates in technological fields than any other country in the region.
In scientific research generally, Jordan is ranked number one in the region. Nature journal reported Jordan having the highest number of researchers per million people among all the 57 countries members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). In Jordan there are 2,000 researchers per million people, while the average among the members of OIC is 500 researchers per million people.
School education in Jordan could be categorized into two sections:
After completing the 8,9 or 10 years of basic education, Jordanians are free to choose any foreign secondary education program instead of the Tawjihi examinations (8 for IGCSE, 10 for SAT and IB). Such programmes are usually offered by private schools. These programmes include:
Private schools in Jordan also offer IGCSE examinations.
Upon graduation, the ministry of Higher Education, through a system similar to UK tariff points, transforms the grades/marks of these foreign educational programmes into the same marks used in grading Tawjihi students. This system is controversial, both as to the conversion process and the number of places allocated to non-Tawjihi applicants.
Access to higher education is open to holders of the General Secondary Education Certificate who can then apply to private community colleges, public community colleges or universities (public and private), the admission to public universities is very competitive. The kingdom has 10 public and 16 private universities, in addition to some 54 community colleges, of which 14 are public, 24 private and others affiliated with the Jordan Armed Forces, the Civil Defence Department, the ministry of health and UNRWA. All post-secondary education is the responsibility of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research.
|Institute for Economics and Peace ||Global Peace Index||64 out of 144|
|United Nations Development Programme||Human Development Index||96 out of 182|
|Transparency International||Corruption Perceptions Index||49 out of 180|
|World Economic Forum||Global Competitiveness Report||50 out of 133|
Gulf of Aqaba
|Saudi Arabia||Saudi Arabia|
|Currency||Jordanian dinar (JOD)|
|Area||total: 92,300 km2
water: 329 km2
land: 91,971 km2
|Population||5,906,760 (July 2006 est.)|
|Language||Arabic (official), English widely understood among upper and middle classes|
|Religion||Sunni Muslim 92%, Christian 6% (majority Greek Orthodox, but some Greek and Roman Catholics, Syrian Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, and Protestant denominations), other 2% (several small Shi'a Muslim and Druze populations) (2001 est.)|
|Electricity||220V/50Hz (Continental round pin & UK plugs)|
|Time Zone||UTC +2|
Jordan (الأردنّ al-Urdunn)  is a country in the Middle East. Almost completely land-locked (save for a small outlet on the Red Sea in the Gulf of Aqaba and a frontage on the Dead Sea), Jordan is bordered by Israel and the West Bank (Palestinian Territories) to the west, by Syria to the north, by Iraq to the east and by Saudi Arabia to the south.
For most of its history since independence from British administration in 1946, Jordan was ruled by King Hussein (1953-99). A pragmatic ruler, he successfully navigated competing pressures from the major powers (US, USSR, and UK), various Arab states, Israel, and a large internal Palestinian population, through several wars and coup attempts. In 1989 he resumed parliamentary elections and gradually permitted political liberalization; in 1994 a formal peace treaty was signed with Israel. King Abdullah II - the eldest son of King Hussein and Princess Muna - assumed the throne following his father's death in February 1999. Since then, he has consolidated his power and established his domestic priorities, including an aggressive economic reform program. Jordan acceded to the World Trade Organization in January 2000, and signed free trade agreements with the United States in 2000, and with the European Free Trade Association in 2001. There is no hostility between Muslims and Christians, and Jordan is one of the most modern and liberal nations in the region.
Visitors to Jordan from non-Arab countries will need a visa, easily obtainable on arrival at most border points. One key exception is the crossing from the West Bank at the King Hussein ("Allenby") Bridge. Visas are available at all other land crossings into Jordan, including the two crossings from Israel at Eilat/Aqaba and the Sheik Hussein Bridge near Irbid. Previously notoriously complex (and expensive), visa prices have finally been standardized for non-Arabs at JD 10 for single entry, JD 20 for multiple entry, though you can receive a free, one month, ASEZA visa if you arrive in Aqaba with no visa. If you receive an ASEZA visa, you will still theoretically have to pay the visa fee if you leave the Aqaba economic zone, paid either with your departure tax, or on reentry to the Aqaba zone.
If you stay longer than one month (previously two weeks) you will have to register your passport at a police station. Most 4/5 star hotels will take care of this formality on behalf of their guests, but the process is generally quick and painless. If you fail to register, you will have to pay a 1 JD/day penalty for each day over 30 on your departure. Not expensive, but allow an extra half hour at the airport to complete the process, which will involve standing in a number of different queues.
Airline tickets for foreigners now usually include the 5 JD departure tax in the ticket price.
Check with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs  for the latest situation.
Jordan's national airline is Royal Jordanian Airlines . In addition, Jordan is served by a number of foreign carriers including BMI, Air France, Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines, Egypt Air, Emirates and Delta Airlines. Low-cost airlines Sama  and Air Arabia  fly between Jordan and destinations all over the Middle East.
Queen Alia International Airport is the country's main airport. It is 35km south of Amman (on the main route to Aqaba). You should allow 45 minutes to reach the airport from the downtown Amman, approximately 30 minutes from West Amman. Transport into Amman is provided by the Royal Jordanian bus service to the city terminal near the 7th circle, or by taxi (30 JD).
In addition to Queen Alia, Jordan has two other international airports:
The last functioning part of the famous Hejaz Railway, twice-weekly trains used to arrive from Damascus (Syria) at Amman's Mahatta junction just northeast of the downtown area, close to Marka Airport. However, services have been suspended since mid-2006 due to damage to the tracks, and it's unclear when they will resume. Even when they were running, trains took a very leisurely 9 hours (considerably slower than driving), and provided a very low standard of comfort. There are no other passenger trains in Jordan.
You can cross into Jordan by car from Israel, but the border formalities are time-consuming and expensive as Jordanian insurance is required and you will even have to change your license plates. The only available crossings are at Aqaba (if coming from Eilat) and at the Sheikh Hussein Bridge for those coming from Northern Israel. Note that the Allenby/King Hussein crossing does not allow private vehicles of any kind.
Long distance taxis operate the route from Damascus to Amman.
The drive between Amman and Syria is not as you might be used to in the USA or Europe, and the standard of driving and vehicle maintenance in both countries is poor (but generally worse in Syria). Don't be afraid to ask your driver to slow down and take extra care when overtaking. It's worth hiring a taxi just for yourself or your party and paying a little extra money to ensure the driver isn't tempted to race the journey to make more money. If you mind smoking, before hiring a driver make sure your that your driver does or would not smoke.
This trip should take around 3.5 hours.
It is theoretically possible to enter Jordan from Iraq depending on your nationality. Flights from and into Iraq involve a high speed high altitude cork-screwing dive down to the capital Baghdad, to reduce the likelihood of missile or rocket damage. Given the ever present threat from insurgents and the ongoing military operations in Iraq, it is strongly recommended that you not attempt this journey from Baghdad or anywhere else in the country.
Entry from Saudi Arabia is by bus. Jordan-bound buses can be taken from almost any point in Saudi Arabia or the Gulf. Most of these are used by Arabs. The border crossing, called Al-Haditha on the Saudi side, and Al-Omari on the Jordanian side, has been recently rebuilt. Waiting time at customs and passport control is not too long by Middle Eastern standards, but allow for up to 5 hours on the Saudi side. As the crossing is the middle of the desert, be absolutely sure that all paper work is in order before attempting the journey, otherwise you might be lost in a maze of Arab bureaucracy. The trip from the border to Amman is 3 hours and up to 20 hours to the either Dammam, Riyadh or Jeddah on the Saudi side. The trip can be uncomfortable but is cheap.
Jordan can be entered at the port of Aqaba via the Egyptian port of Nuweiba. There are two services, ferry and speedboat. Expect to pay around $30 for the ferry or around $60 for the speedboat (both one way) if you are a non-Egyptian national (Egyptians are not required to pay the prices inflated by the authorities). The slow ferry might take up to 8 hours, and can be a nightmare in bad weather. The speedboat consistently makes the crossing in about an hour, though boarding and dissembarking delays can add many hours, especially since there are no fix hours for departures. You cannot buy the ticket in advance, and the ticket office does not know the time of departure. You can lose an entire afternoon or even a day waiting for the boat to leave. UPDATE: prices have increased. The speedboat is now $70 and the ferry is $60.
The JETT bus company has services connecting Amman to Aqaba, the King Hussein Bridge (to cross into Israel), and Hammamat Ma'in. Private buses (mainly operated by the Hijazi company) run from Amman to Irbid and Aqaba. Minibus services connect smaller towns on a much more irregular service basis - usually they leave once they're full.
The Abdali transport station near Downtown Amman served as a bus/taxi hub to locations throughout Jordan, but many of it's services (especially microbus and service taxi) have been located to the Northern bus station (also called Tarbarboor, or Tareq). Here you can find buses into Israel and a 1.5JD bus to Queen Alia airport.
Service taxis (servees) cover much the same routes as buses. Service taxis are definitely more expensive than minibuses, but a lot faster and more convenient.
Service taxis are generally white or creme in colour. They can sometimes be persuaded to deviate from their standard route if they are not already carrying passengers. It is quite likely that you would be asked to wait for a yellow taxi though.
Regular taxis are abundant in most cities. They are bright yellow (Similar to New York yellow-cabs) and are generally in good condition. A 10km trip should cost around 2 JDs.
All yellow taxis should be metered, however most drivers outside Amman do not use them therefore you should agree on a price before departing. If you do get picked up by an unmetered taxi, make sure you agree on the price before driving away. If you do not agree on a price you will most likely pay double the going rate.
Day rates for taxis can be negotiated. These are usually through specific taxi drivers that have offered the service to friends or colleagues before. If you are staying at a hotel, the reception desk should be able to find you a reliable driver.
A full day taxi fare should cost around 20-25 JD. An afternoon taxi fare would be around 15 JD. For this price the taxi driver will drop you off at local shopping areas and wait for you to return. You can then go to the next shopping location. You can leave your recently purchased items in the vehicle as the driver will remain in the taxi at all times, but it is not recommended to do so.
If you are planning a trip outside of Amman, the day rates will increase to offset the fuel costs. For day trips within 1-3 hours of Amman, a taxi is by far the easiest method of transport. A trip to Petra in a taxi would cost approximately 75 JD for 3 people. This would get you there and back with about 6 hours to look around and see the sights.
When negotiating taxi rates, ask if the agreed-on rate is the total or the cost per person. Often taxi drivers will quote a low rate and then when it comes time to pay will tell you that the rate is "per person."
Jordan's highways are generally in very good shape, but the same cannot be said about its drivers or it vehicles. Many trucks and buses drive with worn or defective tires and brakes and in the southern and more rural parts of the country there is the tendency for some people to drive at night without headlights (in the belief that they can see better and that this is therefore safer!). Avoid driving outside the capital, Amman, after dark.
Renting a car should be inexpensive and not too time-consuming. Fuel prices are all fixed by the state-owned company, so don't bother looking for cheaper gas stations. Expect to pay around JD 0.55 per liter, although prices may change in time.
The main route is the Desert Highway, which connects Aqaba, Ma'an, Amman and continues all the way to Damascus in neighboring Syria. Radar speed traps are plentiful and well positioned to catch drivers who do not heed the frequently changing speed limits.
One particular stretch, where the road rapidly descends from the highlands of Amman to the valley that leads into Aqaba through a series of steep hairpin curves, is infamous for the number of badly maintained oil trucks that lose their brakes and careen off the road into the ravine, plowing through all in their path. This stretch of the road has been made into a dual carriageway and is now a little safer - however exercise caution on this stretch of the road.
The other route of interest to travellers is the King's Highway, a meandering track to the west of the Desert Highway that starts south of Amman and links Kerak, Madaba, Wadi Mujib and Petra before joining the Desert Highway south of Ma'an.
Much of Jordan's more dramatic scenery requires 4x4 vehicles with drivers or guides familiar with the territory. Most people visiting Jordan opt for organised tours, although it is possible to use local guides from the various visitors' centers at Jordan's eco-nature reserves. These include Wadi Rum, the Dana Reserve and Iben Hamam. The majority of tourists crossing into Jordan from Israel are on one-day Petra tours or in organised tour groups. They make up a significant percent of the daily visitors in Petra and Jordan's natural attractions.
The national language of Jordan is Arabic. Most Jordanians speak English, especially in urban area such as Amman. French and German are the second and third most popular languages after English. You might encounter some Cauacasian and Armenian languages because of the vast number of Caucasian immigrants that arrived during the early 1900s.
The currency is the Jordanian dinar (JD), divided into 1000 fils and 100 piastres (or qirsh). Coins come in denominations of ½ (no longer used), 1, 2½ (no longer used), 5, and 10 piastres and ¼, ½. Banknotes are found in 1, 5, 10, 20, and 50 dinar denominations. The currency rate is effectively fixed at 0.71 JD per US dollar (or 1.41 dollars per dinar), an unnaturally high rate that makes Jordan poorer value than it would otherwise be. Most upper scale restaurants and shops at shopping malls also accept US dollars.
A subsistence budget would be around JD 10 per day, but this means you'll be eating falafel every day. JD 20 will allow slightly better accommodations, restaurant meals and even the occasional beer. JD 15 gets you average accommodation.
However, if you prefer to eat what the locals eat, it should only cost $1 USD (71 qirsh) for which you can buy two falafel sandwich (25 qirsh) with a any can soda pop(most common is Coke, Sprite and Fanta for 25). If you want to buy a chicken sandwich it will cost (50 qirsh) w/coke 75 qirsh.
To try real Jordanian food don't stay at 5/4/3/2/1 star hotels all the time; eating there is expensive for an average Jordanian. Unless the meal came with the hotel accommodation, don't eat from there. It may look like the people inside can afford the meal and make it look and sound like this is an average way to eat.
So this is what you do. You are already paying a lot for a couple of days in the hotel which is an average $50 USD. Anyone from Amman will tell you it's a lot and it is not worth the money, except those in the expensive area (i.e. hotel, airport, Amman hotel). But you will not be able to communicate with them as well as when you came out of the airport to meet the taxi man. Go to the city and find what the people are buying and you will save a lot in your trip. If not and you want to save the trip of seeing the country's true people then stay where you are and enjoy whatever the travel leader wants you to see, feel, and do.
Non Jordanians can refund the VAT in the airport when they are returning home. The VAT amount must be more than JD50 and you can't refund VAT on the following items(Food, Hotel expenses, Gold, Mobile phones).
Jordanian cuisine is quite similar to fare served elsewhere in the region. The daily staple being khobez, a large, flat bread sold in bakeries across the country for a few hundred fils. Delicious when freshly baked.
For breakfast, the traditional breakfast is usually fried eggs, labaneh, cheese, zaatar and olive oil along with bread and a cup of tea. Falafel and hummus are eaten on the weekends. This is the most popular breakfast. Manousheh and pastries come in as the second most popular breakfast item. All of the hotels offer American breakfast.
The national dish of Jordan is the mansaf, prepared with jameed, a sun-dried yogurt. Grumpygourmet.com describes the mansaf as "an enormous platter layered with crêpe-like traditional "shraak" bread, mounds of glistening rice and chunks of lamb that have been cooked in a unique sauce made from reconstituted jameed and spices, sprinkled with golden pine nuts." In actuality more people use fried almonds instead of pine nuts because of the cheaper price tag. While mansaf is the national dish, most people in urban areas eat it on special occasions and not every day. Other popular dishes include Maklouba, stuffed vegetables, freekeh.
The most popular place to eat cheap Mansaf is the Jerusalem restaurant in downtown Amman.
Levantine-style mezza are served in "Lebanese-style" -which is tipycal to Jordaian style- restaurants around the country, and you can easily find international fast food chains including McDonalds, Pizza Hut and Burger King. In addition to chains well-known in Europe and North America, there are some local businesses such as:
As for foreign style restaurants, there is no shortage of them. The best ones are usually found in 5 star hotels, but the price tag is high. Italian restaurants and pizza places are somewhat abundant in Amman, Madaba, and Aqaba, but are very hard to find in other cities.
More and more cafes now serve food. There is an abundance of Middle Eastern-style cafes serving Argeelleh in addition to the full complement of Western and Middle Eastern coffee drinks. There is also a good number of Western-style cafes which usually serve Western-style desserts, salads and sandwiches.
Amman has an abundance of 5 and 4 star hotels. In addition there is good number of 3 star hotels and there are plenty of 2 star and 1 star hotels in downtown Amman which are very cheap, and there are plenty of tourists, especially those that are passing by stay in these hotels. Be advised that there are two scales of rating the hotels in Jordan. There are the standard, Western-style 5-star hotels such as the Sheraton, Crowne Plaza, etc, and then there are the local 5-star establishments. The local establishments that are considered '5-star' in Jordan would be more like 3-star hotels in the West. That being said, a traveller will pay top dollar for a Western brand-name 5-star hotel in Amman or Petra and less for the local 5-star hotel.
Furthermore, for longer stays it is possible to get furnished apartments from around 200-600JDs a month.
For long stays, it is possible to take Arabic courses at the University of Jordan as well as other private educational centers in Amman and occasionally the British Council runs courses in Arabic for foreigners.
Amman starting cost for apartments is $500USD - $2,000USD/$350JD - $1,400JD monthly and they prefer you pay up front and commit for at least a half year stay. The cost of the restaurants around there are average priced.
Alternative is Zarqa Private University. It is 35 minute drive exactly east of Amman and can save you a fortune due to the fact the city Zarqa cost 1/3 less to stay in the appartments. The fact is that you only spend 90-120JD monthly and get same or even better looking apartments with more room than Amman. The Zarqa Private University bus comes all the time at main street and takes you to a bus station within 3 minutes and from there the bus picks-up everyone (5-10 min) then heads to the University.
The Zarqa Private University has a more open space than Amman. Its Arabic courses are very good do the fact the communication teacher only speak arabic and the other teacher teaches the rules and pronounciation in english. The complete Arabic learning course is 10 months. There are 3 levels. -1st level cost $500JD for the first 4 months. -(3 weeks break during summer). -2nd level cost $300JD for next 2 months. -3rd level cost $500JD for the last 4 months
All courses have 4 hours a day with each hour containing a different subject. 1st class - learning to interact (teacher can't speak English or very little) 2nd class - Get to know the words (teacher speaks in arabic with english for words that students forgot to study or that is new). 3rd class - learning the rules (teachers covers the grammer in Arabic & English) 4th class - Writing, reading and speaking the letters clear and sharp.
Work opportunities for the casual foreign visitor are somewhat limited in Jordan. The majority of foreigners working in Jordan are on contract work with foreign multinationals and development organisations (Amman is the 'gateway to Iraq' and a key base for the continuing efforts to rebuild its neighbour).
There is the possibility of picking up casual English teaching work if you hunt around hard for opportunities.
Fluent Arabic speakers might have more success, though the process of obtaining a work permit is not particularly straightforward. Engage a knowledgeable local to assist you.
- Jordan uses 220V 50 Hz. But several types of plugs/outlets are used. I.e. German plugs with round pins, UK plugs, and combination plugs that can take both european plugs with round pins and US plugs with flat pins (but still 220 Volt)
Visitors address: 3 Yousef Abu Shahhout, Deir Ghbar, Amman
Postal address: P.O. Box 35201, Amman 11180
Tel.: +962 (0)6 5807000, Fax.: +962 (0)6 5807001, firstname.lastname@example.org
Visitors address: Benghasi 25, Jabal Amman, Amman
Postal address: P.O. Box 183, Amman 11118
Tel.: +962 (0)6 5930351 or 5930367 or 5931379 (emergency mobile +962 (0)79 5534261, Fax.: +962 (0)6 5929413, email@example.com
Visitors address: Abdoun, Jaqoub Ammari Str. 13., Amman
Postal address: P.O. Box. 3441, Amman 11181
Tel.: (00 962) (6) 592-5614
Fax: (00 962) (6) 593-0836
Visitors address: Jabal Al-Weibdeh, Hafiz Ibrahim 5
Postal address: P.O. Box 9800, Amman 11191
Tel.: +962 (0)6 4638185, Fax.: +962 (0)6 4659730, firstname.lastname@example.org
Visitors address: Abdoun, Amman
Postal address: P.O. Box 87, Amman 11118
Tel.: +962 (0)6 5909200
Postal address: P.O. Box 354, Amman 11118
Tel.: +962 (0)6 5906000, Fax.: +962 (0)6 5920121, ResponseAmman@state.gov
Jordan is very safe. There is virtually no unsafe part of Jordan except at the Iraqi border. Although the rural parts of Jordan have limited infrastructures, the fellahin (or village people) will be happy to assist you.
Jordan is one of the most liberal nations in the region. Women may wear regular clothing without harassment in any part of Jordan. Western fashions are popular among young Jordanian women. However, modest clothing should be worn in religious and old historical sites. Keep in mind Jordan is a Muslim nation and western norms may not be accepted even by Jordan's western educated elite, such as public displays of affection. Jordan is not a place where homosexuality is taken as lightly as in the West. Adultery, including consensual sex between unmarried couples, is illegal and can be punished by a maximum of a 3 year jail term.
As in all urban areas in the world, Jordan's cities have some health concerns but also keep in mind that Jordan is a center for medical treatment in the Middle East and its world-class hospitals are respected in every part of the world. Just remember to have caution with buying food from vendors, the vendors aren't trying to hurt you but the food might be unclean. Just think of hot-dog stands in the US when you think of buying food from a vendor. Hospitals in Jordan, especially Amman, are abundant. Jordan is and has always been a hub for medical tourism.
Also, the biggest risk to your health in Jordan is being involved in a road traffic accident.
Jordan is a very hospitable country to tourists and foreigners will be happy to help you if asked. Jordanians in turn will respect you and your culture if you respect theirs. Respect Islam, the dominant religion, and the King of Jordan.
Wear modest clothing to important religious sites. Respect the Jordanian monarchy which has strong backing by the people. The Jordanian monarchy is very pro-Western and very open to reform, as are the Jordanian people.
Standing in Lines : Jordanians have a notable issue with standing in line-ups for service. Often those near the rear of a line will try to sidle forwards and pass those in front of them. The line members being passed, rather than object to this tactic, will often instead start to employ this same trick themselves, on the line members in front of them. The end result is often a raucous crowd jostling for service at the kiosk in question.
No one, including the person manning the kiosk, is happy when this situation develops, and often tensions in the jostling crowd seem high enough that violent disagreements feel moments away. However, there is no violence and the sense is that Jordanians recognise common distinct limits as to what was reasonable in line jostling.
Nonetheless, due to this common Jordanian phenomenon, several strategies are suggested.
Note also that during Ramadan, and particularly on the Eid al-Fitr holiday, schedules will change. Many restaurants, particularly those outside Amman, are closed during the daylight hours of Ramadan, only opening at sunset. This does not affect major restaurants near tourist destinations, however. Also, during Eid al-Fitr it is impossible to get a servees (minibus) in the late afternoon or evening in many parts of the country. Plan in advance if you are taking a servees to an outlying area; you may need to get a taxi back. However, JETT and Trust International Transport usually add more buses to their schedules during this time period, especially those going from Amman to Aqaba.
Most of country has mobile coverage. There are four mobile operators:
Card-based temporary numbers can be purchased at the airport or any mobile shop for 10 JD. These numbers can be subsequently recharged with a prepaid card starting at only one JD.
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Rsaid0312981 03:44, 4 December 2009 (UTC)Part of the Comparative law and justice Wikiversity Project
|Total population||Male and Female||6,342,948||100.0%|
|Male 00-14yrs||1,014,183||Female 00-14yrs||973,538||31.3%|
|Male 15-64||2,183,638||Female 15-64||1,904,420||69.5%|
|Male 65+||128,759||Female 65+||138,410||4.0%|
The People in Jordan
People in Jordan have a Jordanian Nationality. Jordan is predominanitely arab(98%), there is a very small group of Circassian and Armenian which is about 2% total.
In the main city lives a mix of people. City life is completely different than the rural areas. Amman is split into Eastern Amman and Western Amman. Eastern Amman is the more conservative part of Amman. Western Amman is the more liberal side of the country. 
The major religion is Islam, Jordan is about 92% Sunni Muslims, there are other religious groups.Christian make up 6% of Jordan, the majority are Greek Orthodox, but some are Roman Catholics, Syrian Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox and Protestant. There is a very small group of Shia Muslims and Druze which are about 2% of the population. 
Arabic is the first language used in Jordan. English is widely used and is the official second language. English is mostly spoken by upper and middle class people. French is also taught in some schools as a third language. 
Jordan has a GDP (purchase Power) of $31.61 Billion GDP per capita (PPP) $5,100. Jordan is popular for exporting clothing, fertilizers, potash, phosphate mining and pharmaceuticals.Jordan also works on petroleum refining, cement, inorganic chemicals, light manufacturing,and is a great tourist attraction.Jordan relies on Saudi Arabia for the majority of their imports (20.3%). Jordan also imports machinery, transportation equipment, iron and cereals from China, Germany and the U.S. (2008). Jordan's currency is the Jordanian Dinar, the exchange rate of the Jordanian Dinar (JOD) is approximately 0.709 U.S dollar. 
image:Petra Jordan BW 21.JPG|thumb|180px|right|Petra is a great tourist attraction in Jordan.]]
The total infant mortality is 14.97 deaths/1,000 live births of this number 17.91 are males and 11.86 are females(2009). The life Expectancy in Jordan is 78.87 years old, males live to approximately 76 years old and females live up to 81 years old. Fertility rate in Jordan is 2.39 children born/woman (2009 est) ref>Central Intelligence Agency. 2009. 
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is located in the Middle East. It is located in the northwest of Saudi Arabia.  Jordan is bordered with Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Jordan was a colony of the UK after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire following WWI. in the 1920s Jordan was separated from Palestine, it gained it's independence in 1946 and became called the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in 1950. Jordan was governed by King Hussein (1953-1999).In 1967, the west bank was lost to Israel, (the west bank was part of Palestine). In 1988 King Hussein took back the West Bank. In 1989, he created parliamentary elections. Political parties were created in 1992. After a couple of years in 1994, King Hussein signed a peace treaty with Israel with the help of the United States (Clinton)to settle the Palestinian Israeli struggle. King Hussein died in 1999 and his son King Abdallah II,took over the monarchy. After the war on Iraq, Jordan took in thousands of Iraqis who had no place to go but Jordan.The parliament now has more women than ever (20% of parliament are reserved to women). King Abdallah is now focusing on the socioeconomics of the country, improving education and developing a better healthcare system.
 Rsaid0312981 04:00, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
Jordan has a mixed legal system based on civil law, Sharia Law (Islamic Law)and Customary law.  On April 1928, the Constitution was created.In 1929, Jordan had its first election. In 1946, Jordan got her independence from Brittain, the king then adopted a new constitution in 1947. In 1952 the constitution was ratified by King Talal.
Administrative Divisions in Jordan consists of 12 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah); Ajlun, Al 'Aqabah, Al Balqa', Al Karak, Al Mafraq, 'Amman, At Tafilah, Az Zarqa', Irbid, Jarash, Ma'an, Madaba. 
Head of the State: King Abdallah II The king must be sane, male Muslim, the son of Muslim parents, and born of a lawful wife.The king has the most powerful position in the government he:appoints the prime minister, the president and members of the senate, judges and other senior government and military functionaries. the king is also the commander and cheif of the army, the king approves and promulgates the laws, declares war, concludes peace, and signs treaties (which in theory must be approved by the National Assembly).The king also convenes, opens, adjourns, suspends, or dissolves the legislature; he also orders, and may postpone, the holding of elections.The king has veto power that can be overridden only by a two-thirds vote of each house.The head of government is the Prime Minister Nader al-DAHABI and the Cabinet is appointed by the prime minister in consultation with the king. 
The Monarch is not elected, he takes over the kingdom as a Royal succession by a male descent in the Hashimite Family. The oldest son gets to hold the throne after the death of his father. If the king dies without ever having a son his oldest brother has seniority. followed by the eldest son of the other brother according to their, again according to the oldest. "If their is no suitable direct heir, then the National Assembly select a successor from the descendants of the founder, King Hussein Bin Ali."  There are no elections held for the Prime Minister, he is appointed by the monarch.  In the late 1970's the Executive branch suspended parliament. The Executive took over the powers of the legislative branch. This lasted until 1984, this was called the ninth house of representatives. They ruled up until 1989. There were no party affiliations at this time. 
Jordan has a Bicameral Legislature called the National Assembly (Majlis Al-Umma), it is composed of the House of Representatives (Majlis Al-Nuwwab)and the Senate (Majlis Al-Ayan). The king appoints the senate members, consisting of fifty-five members for a four year term. The House of Representatives had 80 seats prior to 2001, now it consists of 110 members, 6 seats reserved for women, 9 for Christians, 3 for Circassions and 9 for Jordanian Bedouins. All candidates have to be 30 years of age or older. Elections are not mandatory and any Jordanian citizen 18 years or older can vote. Voters out come in the 2003 election was 58%, which is very interesting.
Jordan has three court systems, Civil courts, Military courts, and religious courts. Civil courts contain the magistrate's courts,courts of first instance, major felonies courts, courts of appeal and the court of Cassation (Supreme Court). The Magistrate's courts deal with criminal cases. They also deal with civil suits that are not exceeding JD750, they usually have one judge. In Amman, the Capital there are 14 magistrates in other cities 2-3 magistrates each. The courts of first instance hear cases that fall outside the Magistrate's courts jurisdiction. They also hear all criminal appeal cases that have a prison sentence of 2-3 weeks as well as any civil suits that are exceeding JD750. The major felonies court hears cases that have a prison sentence over than three years. This court hears cases that deal with murder, manslaughter, rape and sexual assaults, there is only one court and is located in the major city Amman. Three judges preside appeals are made to the Court of Cassation. Courts of Appeal hear all the cases brought by the magistrate's courts and the courts of first instance, three judges preside over these courts. the court of Cassation has fifteen judges but normally five judges hear the cases. They deal with jurisdiction issues, it also hears cases that deal with habeas corpus petitions. Military Courts deal with any crimes that affect the national security of the country. The cases that are heard include drugs or weapon smuggling, Espionage and military personnel. Religious courts have jurisdiction over all family matters, marriage, divorce, adoption and custody. Jordan does not allow civil marriages, therefore they are not performed in civil courts. There are religious courts for Muslims based on Sharia'a Law (Islamic Law) and there are courts based on Christianity. There are several other courts Juvenile courts, police court, land settlement courts, income tax court, customs court and tribal courts. Jordan does not have a system that uses Judicial review. Since Jordan is a civil Law country, it has an Inquisitorial system. Inquisitorial system is different from our system in the U.S. Jury is not present in Inquisitorial systems. The judges are trained civil servants.The trial is to seek the truth, no competition. In this type of system, lawyers play a very passive role.The judge plays a very important role in this system.As a Muslim country, Judges in Jordan have studied Sharia in depth before becoming judges. 
Punishment in Jordan is used as a deterrence, to keep others from committing similar crimes. severity of punishment will keep people from committing crimes.Jordan is one of many countries that use the death penalty for crimes such as murder or Espionage. Life prison sentences were imposed for felonies that are intended on negatively affecting the national security. Homicide that results from beating or hitting someone and serious forms of theft. Shorter imprisonment was prescribed for these same offenses if mitigating circumstances warranted. Terrorist activity and membership in terrorist organizations, counterfeiting, forgery of official documents, and abduction are also punishable by prison.very limited information  Jordan also holds some show trials especially when it is a crime of treason or espionage. A person who committed Espionage or treason will be hung in the middle of the down-town.
Misdemeanors include,gambling in public places, bribery, perjury, simple forgery, slander, embezzlement, assault and battery, and disturbing the peace. There are some crimes that are made criminal because they violate Sharia, desertion of a child, abortion, marrying a girl under the age of sixteen, openly ridiculing the Prophet Muhammad (PBU), and breaking the fast of Ramadan. Most non-criminal acts are fined. A person who has committed a crime will have a record for six years then he/she is allowed to have his record expunged. 
Jordan has three prisons, two of which have been shut down, the main prison in Juwaidah holds about 5,448 prisoners as of 2002. (very limited information) 
Police in Jordan is run by the army. The head of the police is the army general. Jordanian police is Proactive they are all over the streets looking for trouble. People are trained in AL-Zarqa Police Academy, no specific time is provided, but in neighboring countries it is 3 months. Jordan has a Centralized police structure, one national police force, enforces the laws. (i had a very hard time finding information on police in Jordan  Crime rates are very low in Jordan in comparison to other countries. In the table provided, there is a comparison between Jordan, U.S.A and Sweden. As seen in the table, Jordan has a substantially lower crime rate than both the U.S and Sweden. Some crimes maybe under reported, but this is a substantial difference.As a person that has lived in Jordan for many years assert that Jordan has a very low crime rate. The reason behind this is predominantly the people's religious views, also the culture which emphasizes social bonds; therefore the low crime rates.
|Theft (all kinds)||489.1||7410||160.4|
|Drug Offenses||No Data||358.48||6.7|
|Source: International Crime Statistics.
International Criminal Police Association (INTERPOL), Lyon, France, 1994.
The death penalty is highly supported in Jordan in Murder cases, treason and Espionage. Some people, especially people in the rural areas support honor killings. People in Jordan do not have a lot of faith in the police, there is a popular saying "the countries defenders are the countries thieves".
Based on Sharia Law (Islamic Law)the right age for marriage is when the male and female hit puberty. since everyone reaches puberty at different age Jordan adopted a set age for marriage. The Legal marital age is fifteen for females, and sixteen for males, but must have parental consent. Anyone under the age of 18 must get parental permission for marriage. Polygamy is allowed in Jordan, but there are some restrictions. The man must provide separate houses for each wife. He must treat all the wives equally. No more than four wives and must declare his marital status.Judicial divorce is allowed from either side, man or woman. A woman gets child custody until puberty. Inheritance laws are based on Sharia'a Law, Males get twice as much as the females. (males are the care takers therefore they get more). The male is the head of the household. Women have rights in Jordan just like any other man legally, but things are different in practice. Women have the right to vote. Jordan is the first country in the middle east to allow women in the police force and in the army. 
Jordan is part of many human rights programs including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.  but Jordan does not follow any of them. Freedom of Speech, association and Expression is also limited in Jordan, especially political speech. People can suffer a lot if they make any kind of critic towards the monarchy or public political figures.
In practice Jordan has specific discrimination, Jordanians are treated differently than non-Jordanians. Jordanians get specific treatments, for example, Jordanian high school graduates go to public universities even if they score really bad on their final exams whereas others have to do real well to be able to go to public colleges. This may not be in the Laws but it is done in practice. There are obvious class struggles in Jordan, poor, middle and upper class. There is a huge gap, the middle class is really small. the majority of the country is the lower class who live in really bad poverty. This is very clear from the way of life in Jordan. when it comes to discrimination, there is a great deal of discrimination from the Jordanian descendants towards palestinian descendants, even though they all carry the Jordanian citizenship they are not all treated equally. 
Jordan (stem Jordan-*)
Heb. Yarden, "the descender;" Arab. Nahr-esh-Sheriah, "the watering-place" the chief river of Palestine. It flows from north to south down a deep valley in the center of the country. The name descender is significant of the fact that there is along its whole course a descent to its banks; or it may simply denote the rapidity with which it "descends" to the Dead Sea.
It originates in the snows of Hermon, which feed its perennial fountains. Two sources are generally spoken of.
During this part of its course the Jordan has descended about 1,100 feet. At Banias it is 1,080 feet above sea-level. Flowing from the southern extremity of Lake Huleh, here almost on a level with the sea, it flows for 2 miles "through a waste of islets and papyrus," and then for 9 miles through a narrow gorge in a foaming torrent onward to the Sea of Galilee (q.v.).
"In the whole valley of the Jordan from the Lake Huleh to the Sea of Galilee there is not a single settled inhabitant. Along the whole eastern bank of the river and the lakes, from the base of Hermon to the ravine of Hieromax, a region of great fertility, 30 miles long by 7 or 8 wide, there are only some three inhabited villages. The western bank is almost as desolate. Ruins are numerous enough. Every mile or two is an old site of town or village, now well nigh hid beneath a dense jungle of thorns and thistles. The words of Scripture here recur to us with peculiar force: 'I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation...And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it...And your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste. Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate' (Lev. 26:31-34).", Dr. Porter's Handbook.
From the Sea of Galilee, at the level of 682 feet below the Mediterranean, the river flows through a long, low plain called "the region of Jordan" (Mt 3:5), and by the modern Arabs the Ghor, or "sunken plain." This section is properly the Jordan of Scripture. Down through the midst of the "plain of Jordan" there winds a ravine varying in breadth from 200 yards to half a mile, and in depth from 40 to 150 feet. Through it the Jordan flows in a rapid, rugged, tortuous course down to the Dead Sea. The whole distance from the southern extremity of the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea is in a straight line about 65 miles, but following the windings of the river about 200 miles, during which it falls 618 feet. The total length of the Jordan from Banias is about 104 miles in a straight line, during which it falls 2,380 feet.
There are two considerable affluents which enter the river between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea, both from the east.
The first historical notice of the Jordan is in the account of the separation of Abraham and Lot (Gen 13:10). "Lot beheld the plain of Jordan as the garden of the Lord." Jacob crossed and recrossed "this Jordan" (Gen 32:10). The Israelites passed over it as "on dry ground" (Josh. 3:17; Ps. 114:3). Twice afterwards its waters were miraculously divided at the same spot by Elijah and Elisha (2 Kings 2:8, 14).
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Jordan is a democracy, and the Jordanians vote for their political leaders. However, Jordan is also a monarchy and has a king. The King is the head of state, but he does not have all the power in the country. King Abdullah has been the King of Jordan since February 1999. Most Jordanians are Muslim. There is a small number of Christians.
The currency of Jordan is called the Jordanian dinar.
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