This chapter includes the following articles.
The kingdom faced a number of major political and economic challenges in 2011, including high unemployment, rising inflation and a $2bn budget deficit. Furthermore, like many other countries in the Middle East, Jordan is currently in the midst of a series of potentially transformative political reforms brought about by the Arab Spring protests in early 2011. Unlike many of its neighbours, however, Jordan has remained relatively stable, both politically and socially. Moreover, Jordan’s strategic regional importance is becoming increasingly evident. The Gulf economies stand to benefit substantially from Jordan’s close trade and political relationships with leading Western economies. The kingdom’s free trade agreement with the US, for example, could potentially be used as a conduit to boost Gulf exports to the lucrative American market. This chapter includes a viewpoint with King Abdullah II; Nouri Al Maliki, the Prime Minister of Iraq; and John Kerry, US Senator and Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.