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Jordan: background and U.S. relations.


This report provides an overview of Jordanian politics and current issues in U.S.-Jordanian relations. It provides a brief discussion of Jordan's government and economy and of its cooperation in promoting Arab-Israeli peace and other U.S. policy objectives in the Middle East.

Several issues in U.S.-Jordanian relations are likely to figure in decisions by Congress and the Administration on future aid to and cooperation with Jordan. These include the stability of the Jordanian regime (particularly in light of ongoing political change and/or unrest in several other countries in the region), the role of Jordan in the Arab-Israeli peace process, the possibility of U.S.-Jordanian nuclear energy cooperation, and U.S.-Jordanian military and intelligence cooperation.

Although the United States and Jordan have never been linked by a formal treaty, they have cooperated on a number of regional and international issues over the years. The country's small size and lack of major economic resources have made it dependent on aid from Western and friendly Arab sources. U.S. support, in particular, has helped Jordan address serious vulnerabilities, both internal and external. Jordan's geographic position, wedged between Israel, Syria, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia, has made it vulnerable to the strategic designs of its more powerful neighbors, but has also given Jordan an important role as a buffer between these potential adversaries. In 1990, Jordan's unwillingness to join the allied coalition against Iraq disrupted its relations with the United States and the Persian Gulf states; however, relations improved throughout the 1990s as Jordan played an increasing role in the Arab-Israeli peace process and distanced itself from Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

The United States has provided economic and military aid, respectively, to Jordan since 1951 and 1957. Total U.S. aid to Jordan through FY2011 amounted to approximately $12.47 billion. Levels of aid have fluctuated, increasing in response to threats faced by Jordan and decreasing during periods of political differences or worldwide curbs on aid funding. On September 22, 2008, the U.S. and Jordanian governments reached an agreement whereby the United States agreed to provide a total of $660 million in annual foreign assistance to Jordan over a five-year period. For FY2012, the Administration is requesting $663.7 million for Jordan in total military and economic aid.

S. 1601, the Senate's Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2012, would provide $360 million in Economic Support Fund (ESF) assistance to Jordan and $300 million in Foreign Military Financing, meeting the President's full request for FY2012. In addition, Section 7039(b) of the bill would authorize up to $60 million in ESF appropriated by the bill to establish and operate one or more enterprise funds in Jordan.

Overview: Jordan and Arab Regional Unrest
  National Dialogue Committee Recommendations
  Constitutional Amendments
    Opposition Reaction to Reform Proposals
  Where Is the Protest Movement in Jordan Heading?

Country Overview

Domestic Politics and the Economy
  The Hashemite Royal Family
  Parliament, Constitution, Political Parties, and Judiciary
  The Economy
Foreign Relations
  Jordan's Relationship with Israel
    The King's Recent Statements on Israel and Peace Process
    Jordan and Hamas
  Jordan and Syria
U.S. Aid, Trade, and Military Cooperation
  U.S. Foreign Assistance to Jordan
    The Five-Year Aid Deal
    Economic Assistance
    Food Aid
    Millennium Challenge Account (MCA)
    Military Assistance
    Free Trade Agreement
    Qualifying Industrial Zones
  Military Cooperation
    Military Sales
    Joint Exercises and Training
    Other Activities
    Jordan's Role in Libya
    Jordan's Role in Afghanistan


Figure 1. Jordan and Its Neighbors


Table 1. Recent Foreign Military Sales to Jordan
Table 2. Annual U.S. Aid to Jordan Since the 1991 Gulf Crisis


Author Contact Information

Overview: Jordan and Arab Regional Unrest

Throughout the so-called Arab uprising of 2010-2011, Jordan has remained stable, though there have been numerous small-scale demonstrations in the capital of Amman and in smaller towns usually considered strongholds of the Hashemite royal family. Popular discontent is widespread in Jordan over the moribund economy, unemployment, corruption, and inequality--the same grievances that sparked revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya. Yet, to date, as with the monarchy in Morocco, the royal palace in Jordan has outmaneuvered a divided opposition by steering the reform agenda toward its own preference for controlled liberalization that gives an appearance of democratization without substantively compromising the power of the monarchy. Earlier in 2011, two palace-appointed committees (see below) recommended possible reforms to the Constitution, electoral laws, and political parties laws, among other things. The parliament then approved 42 constitutional amendments in late September, thereby enacting them. Many observers consider these amendments to be modest in scope.

The opposition, consisting of the Muslim Brotherhood, leftists, and youth activists, has not offered unified suggestions for reforms; nor has it succeeded in organizing demonstrations larger than a few thousand people. According to one poll conducted by the International Republican Institute, "Youth movements inside the country have not impressed the majority of Jordanians who said they are not in favor of street protests. Only one in five of those aware of youth movements were in favor of taking to the streets. Half of respondents could not recall the names of any of the youth movements." (1) Security forces have at times resorted to force to break up demonstrations, but generally have refrained from responding to incidents in a way that might generate a larger public outcry. During the most violent protest on March 24, one man (55-yearold Khairi Saad) was killed. His family claims he died in clashes with police, while the government asserts that he died of heart failure. (2)

The United States continues to balance its policy of support for the monarchy with the need to encourage reform. The Obama Administration is seeking $675 million in total aid to Jordan for FY2012. Saudi Arabia, which is attempting to shape events in Yemen, Bahrain, and Egypt, has provided Jordan $1.4 billion in grants in 2011 to stabilize the budget and prevent deficit spending. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) also has discussed the possibility of membership to Jordan and Morocco, which, should it occur, would open up the Gulf labor markets even more to Jordanian workers and ease the unemployment crisis among Jordanian youth. It may also increase Gulf investment and tourism to Jordan. On September 11, 2011, the GCC announced its intention to fund a five-year development aid program for Morocco and Jordan, with exact aid amounts to be set in December.

National Dialogue Committee Recommendations

In June 2011, the National Dialogue Committee (a 65-member, palace-appointed committee consisting of political party members, non-governmental organization (NGO) activists, and professional association members) recommended that the size of the Chamber of Deputies (lower house of parliament) be increased from 120 to 130 seats and that future elections be overseen by an independent panel of judges rather than the Interior Ministry. The committee also proposed that the government should ease requirements for the formation of political parties by lowering the number of people required to found a party from 500 to 250, of whom at least 25 would have to be women. The committee also recommended that the electoral system be altered to designate seats both at the governorate/provincial level (115 total) and the national level (15).

Islamists in the opposition have criticized the proposed electoral law changes, claiming that 15 seats allotted for a national list is insufficient, and that voting patterns along tribal and familial lines will continue to be to the benefit of the monarchy and its allies. The Muslim Brotherhood boycotted the last parliamentary election and is barely represented in the current parliament.

As of mid-November, the committee's recommendations have yet to be approved or even considered by parliament. Instead, the recommendations were sent to the government, which will draft them into legislative language (an electoral law and a political parties law) and later submit them to parliament. The king most likely preferred that the mostly pro-government parliament first review and approve new amendments to the Constitution (see below) before the government changes the electoral law. If the electoral law were somewhat liberalized, and elections were held soon thereafter, a new parliament could have attempted to alter the king's constitutional proposals.

Constitutional Amendments

In April 2011, King Abdullah II appointed a 10-member panel of elder statesmen (Jordan's Royal Committee on Constitutional Review) to draft amendments to the revised 1952 Constitution. (3) In a nationally televised speech on June 12, 2011, the king previewed possible amendments by suggesting that they would include provisions for allowing parliamentary majorities to form governments rather than the king himself. Then in August, the Royal Committee presented 42 suggested constitutional amendments. By late September, both the Lower House (with 98 representatives voting in favor, 1 voting against, and 21 absent) and the Senate approved most of the amendments with only minor changes. Most analysts consider the new amendments to be a modest step toward advancing political reform in the kingdom. Notable provisions among the amendments include:

* The establishment of a constitutional court (Article 58). (4)

* The establishment of an independent electoral commission to supervise parliamentary elections (Article 67).

* The limitation of the king's power to issue temporary laws unless the parliament is dissolved or a natural disaster, war, or other emergency occurs (Article 94).

* The prohibition of Jordanians who have dual nationality from holding ministerial, senatorial, and parliamentary posts (Articles 42 and 75).

* The explicit prohibition of torture (Article 8). Opposition Reaction to Reform Proposals

The king's critics charge that the National Dialogue Committee proposals and the draft constitutional amendments fall short of protestor demands and are designed, like previous reform efforts, to create the illusion of reform without implementing substantive change. Among these critics, the Muslim Brotherhood had sought the direct election of the prime minister. In late October, the king suggested that in 2012, members of parliament might be able to elect a prime minister whose election the king can either veto or approve. The king also has stressed that direct, popular election of the prime minister will take time--perhaps two to three years--in order to allow for Jordan's multitude of small political parties to coalesce into two or three broader coalitions. According to King Abdullah II, "We haven't shut any doors on relinquishing power. My mission is as quickly as possible to get Jordan to have a prime minister elected from a political party.... We need to create new political parties based on programs." (5)

Opposition activists also have criticized the National Dialogue Committee's proposal to reform the electoral law. For years, activists have sought an electoral law governed by a proportional representation system for at least half the seats in parliament. Although 15 seats allocated for a national list (per the committee's recommendations) would likely produce a somewhat more representative parliament in future elections, most analysts believe that the law would continue to produce solid pro-government majorities immune from serious opposition. Furthermore, some Jordanians are disappointed that the revised electoral law is to be approved by an overwhelmingly pro-palace parliament rather than by public referendum, as was done in Morocco earlier in 2011.

Where Is the Protest Movement in Jordan Heading?

It is difficult to predict how the revolution and ongoing political transition in Egypt, unrest in neighboring Syria, and even efforts by the Palestinians to attain statehood in the West Bank and Gaza will affect Jordan in the months ahead. It also is difficult to gauge if and how long King Abdullah II can forestall wholesale changes to the political system without a popular majority demanding it from the street. The king and his family are nationally respected--not reviled like ruling families in Arab countries such as Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and Syria. Despite the goodwill toward the royal family, however, public discontent is palpable, particularly outside Amman, largely because smaller cities and towns have not experienced the economic growth seen in the capital over the past few years. The king has stated that while political reform is critical, economic growth is paramount. According to King Abdullah II:
   The Arab Spring didn't start because of politics; it started because
   of economics--poverty and unemployment.... What keeps me up at
   night is not political reform because I am clear on where we are
   going. What keeps me up at night is the economic situation
   because if people are going to get back on the streets, it is
   because of economic challenges, not political. (6)

In order to address the perception of rising injustice, the government has tried to crack down on corruption, and several high-profile cases have been covered by the media, but only a handful of former ministers and businessmen have actually been indicted. In late October, the king dismissed Prime Minister Marouf al Bakhit, who had been accused of illegally authorizing a casino construction project during his first stint as prime minister in 2007. (7) He was replaced by 61-yearold Awn Khasawneh, a former judge at the International Court of Justice. (8) The king also appointed a new head of the General Intelligence Directorate (Major General Faisal al Shobaki), which is arguably, after the king himself, the second-most-powerful post in the kingdom.

Perhaps the single most startling effect the so-called Arab Spring has wrought in Jordan has been the recent prevalence of public criticism of the king and his family. Such criticism was once considered taboo and is still banned by law. Moreover, Arabs of Bedouin descent from tribal strongholds have in recent times been among the king's most vocal critics, in contrast to long-standing tribal tradition of staunchly backing the monarchy. In the much poorer southern half of the country, protests have occurred in Tafilah, Karak, and Ma'an. In June, according to various media reports, both during and after the king's visit to the town of Tafilah (109 miles south of Amman), a crowd of young rioters clashed with local police and reportedly threw stones at the king's motorcade. Despite the government's apparent attempts at times to sow divisions between East Bankers (who generally comprise the ruling elite and the monarchy's primary base of support) and citizens of Palestinian origin or descent, some analysts believe that young demonstrators are not as susceptible to these older cleavages. According to one observer, "The majority of the youth activists that organized the March 24 Shabab movement were not Palestinian, and many share strong ties with the very southern areas now chafing under the false promise of development."

Country Overview

Although the United States and Jordan have never been linked by a formal treaty, they have cooperated on a number of regional and international issues for decades. The country's small size and lack of major economic resources have made it dependent on aid from Western and friendly Arab sources. U.S. support, in particular, has helped Jordan deal with serious vulnerabilities, both internal and external. Jordan's geographic position, wedged between Israel, Syria, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia, has made it vulnerable to the strategic designs of its more powerful neighbors, but has also given Jordan an important role as a buffer between these potential adversaries. In 1990, Jordan's unwillingness to join the allied coalition against Iraq disrupted its relations with the United States and the Persian Gulf states; however, relations improved throughout the 1990s as Jordan played an increasing role in the Arab-Israeli peace process and distanced itself from the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein.


Domestic Politics and the Economy

Jordan, created by colonial powers after World War I, initially consisted of desert or semi-desert territory east of the Jordan River, inhabited largely by people of Bedouin tribal background. The establishment of the state of Israel brought large numbers of Palestinian refugees to Jordan, which subsequently annexed a small Palestinian enclave west of the Jordan River known as the West Bank. (9) The original "East Bank" Jordanians, though probably no longer a majority in Jordan, remain predominant in the country's political and military establishments and form the bedrock of support for the Jordanian monarchy. Jordanians of Palestinian origin comprise an estimated 55% to 70% of the population and generally tend to gravitate toward the private sector due to their exclusion from certain public sector and military positions. (10)

The Hashemite Royal Family

Jordan is a hereditary constitutional monarchy under the prestigious Hashemite family, which claims descent from the Prophet Muhammad. King Abdullah II has ruled the country since 1999, when he succeeded to the throne upon the death of his father, the late King Hussein, after a 47-year reign. Educated largely in Britain and the United States, King Abdullah II had earlier pursued a military career, ultimately serving as commander of Jordan's Special Operations Forces with the rank of Major General. The king's 17-year-old son Prince Hussein is the designated crown prince. (11)

King Abdullah II (age 49) has won approval for his energetic and hands-on style of governing; however, some Jordanians, notably Palestinians and Islamic fundamentalists, are opposed to his policies of cooperating with the United States on issues such as Iraq and the Arab-Israeli peace process.

The king appoints a prime minister to head the government and the Council of Ministers (cabinet). Typically, Jordanian governments last no more than 15 months before they are dissolved by royal decree. This is done in order to bolster the king's reform credentials and to dispense patronage to various elites. The king also appoints all judges and is commander of the armed forces.

Parliament, Constitution, Political Parties, and Judiciary

Jordan's bicameral legislature is composed of a mostly elected 120-member lower house and an appointed 55-member upper house. (12) Building on his father's legacy, King Abdullah II has supported a limited parliamentary democracy, while periodically curtailing dissent when it threatened economic reforms or normalization of relations with Israel. Overall, parliament has limited power. In theory, it can override the veto authority of the king with a two-thirds majority in both the upper and lower houses. A two-thirds majority of the lower house can also dissolve the cabinet with a "no confidence" vote. However, since both houses almost always have solid pro-government majorities, such actions are rarely attempted (once in April 1963).

The Jordanian constitution empowers the king with broad powers. According to Article 35, "The King appoints the Prime Minister and may dismiss him or accept his resignation. He appoints the Ministers; he also dismisses them or accepts their resignation, upon the recommendation of the Prime Minister." The constitution also enables the king to dissolve both houses of parliament and postpone lower house elections for two years. (13) The king also can circumvent parliament through a constitutional mechanism that allows provisional legislation to be issued by the cabinet when parliament is not sitting or has been dissolved. (14) The king also can issue royal decrees, which are not subject to parliamentary scrutiny. Finally, Article 195 of the Jordanian Penal Code prohibits insulting the dignity of the king (lese-majeste) with criminal penalties of one to three years in prison.

Political parties in Jordan are extremely weak, as the moderately fundamentalist Islamic Action Front (IAF) is the only well-organized movement. Most parties represent narrow parochial interests and are composed of prominent individuals representing a particular family or tribe. There are approximately 36 small parties in Jordan, consisting of an estimated 4,100 total members. (15)

Jordan's constitution provides for an independent judiciary. According to Article 97, "Judges are independent, and in the exercise of their judicial functions they are subject to no authority other than that of the law." Jordan has three main types of courts: Civil courts, special courts (some of which are the military/state security courts), and religious courts. In Jordan, state security courts administered by military (and civilian) judges handle criminal cases involving espionage, bribery of public officials, trafficking in narcotics or weapons, black marketing, and "security offenses." Overall, the king may appoint and dismiss judges by decree, though in practice a palaceappointed Higher Judicial Council manages court appointments, promotions, transfers, and retirements.

The Economy

With few natural resources (16) and a small industrial base, Jordan has an economy which is heavily dependent on external aid from abroad, tourism, expatriate worker remittances, (17) and the service sector. Among the long-standing problems Jordan faces are poverty (15%-30%), corruption, slow economic growth, and high levels of unemployment, nominally around 13% but thought by many analysts to be in the 25%-30% range. (18) Youth unemployment is more than 30%. Corruption (19) is particularly pronounced in Jordan. Use of intermediaries, referred to in Arabic as "Wasta" (connections), is widespread, and many young Jordanians have grown frustrated by the lack of social and economic mobility that corruption engenders. (20) Each year, thousands of Jordanians go abroad in search of better jobs and opportunities. Like many poor countries, Jordan suffers from a "brain drain" of its most talented workers, and the government has struggled to develop incentives to keep its well-educated, highly skilled workers close to home. The government is by far the largest employer, with between one-third and two-thirds of all workers on the state's payroll. Some estimates suggest that 80% of all government spending is allocated toward civil service expenses.

The continuing global economic slowdown, combined with regional unrest, has led to diminished growth in Jordan. (21) The government has responded by increasing salaries and public subsidies of food and energy which earlier in the year led to a spiraling fiscal deficit. The 2011 budget increased by nearly $1 billion in 2011, reaching a total of $10 billion. (22) Since the country is unable to generate enough annual revenue to cover its social spending, Jordan had been facing a deficit of $1.4 billion in 2011. However, foreign donors have increased their direct budget aid to Jordan, with Saudi Arabia providing nearly $1.2 billion in direct budgetary support. The United States is providing $184 million in direct cash assistance. The European Union is providing an estimated $120 million in direct budgetary support as well. In 2011, Jordanian officials estimate that the country will have received $2.8 billion in total foreign aid in the form of cash grants, funds for development projects, loan guarantees, and concessional loans.

Foreign Relations

Jordan's Relationship with Israel

Finding a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the utmost priority of the Jordanian government. Although Jordan joined other neighboring Arab states in a series of military conflicts against Israel between 1948 and 1973, the late King Hussein (ruled 1952-1999) ultimately concluded that peace with Israel was in Jordan's strategic interests due to Israel's conventional military superiority, the development of an independent Palestinian national movement that threatened both Jordanian and Israeli security, and Jordan's support for Saddam Hussein in the first Gulf War, which isolated it from the West. (23) Consequently, in 1994 Jordan and Israel signed a peace treaty, (24) and King Abdullah II has used his country's semi-cordial official relationship with Israel to improve Jordan's standing with Western governments and international financial institutions, on which it relies heavily for external support and aid.

Nevertheless, the continuation of conflict continues to be a major obstacle to Jordan's development. The issue of Palestinian rights resonates with much of the population, as more than half of all Jordanian citizens originate from either the West Bank or the area now comprising the state of Israel. There are an estimated 1.9 million United Nations-registered Palestinian refugees in Jordan, and, while many no longer regard their stay in Jordan as temporary, they have retained their refugee status both as a symbolic sign of support for Palestinians living under Israeli occupation and in hope of being included in any future settlement. (25) Furthermore, for King Abdullah II and the royal Hashemite family, who are of Arab Bedouin descent and rely politically on the support of East Bank tribal families, finding a solution to the conflict is considered a matter of political survival since the government cannot afford to ignore an issue of critical importance to a majority of its citizens. The royal family and their tribal constituents vehemently reject periodic Israeli calls for the reunification of the West Bank with Jordan proper (dubbed the "Jordanian Option"), a maneuver that could inevitably alter the political status quo in Jordan. Like his father before him, King Abdullah II has repeated the mantra that "Jordan is Jordan and Palestine is Palestine."

In November 2011, in an effort to reassure Jordan that the Israeli government is not attempting to destabilize its neighbor, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said before the Knesset that "Talk about Jordan as a Palestinian state damages Israel."

The King's Recent Statements on Israel and Peace Process

For over a decade, King Abdullah II has attempted to convince U.S. policy makers and Congress to become more actively involved in mediating between Israelis and Palestinians. For the past two years, amid a stalled peace process and now regional political upheaval, King Abdullah II has reiterated his support for his country's peaceful relationship with Israel while chiding the Israeli government for not only failing to restart negotiations but also for obstructing the peace process by continuing to build settlements. He has called both publicly and privately for the United States to pressure Israel into returning to the negotiating table. The king has used the Western and U.S. media as a platform not only to advocate for peace but to warn of the dire regional consequences if war breaks out. He also has repeatedly cautioned that the lack of a resolution to the IsraeliPalestinian conflict undermines U.S. credibility in the Arab world and only increases Israel's isolation. Recent statements include:

* In September 2011, the king remarked that "Everything we've seen on the ground has been completely the opposite.... [There's] increasing frustration, because they're [Israeli officials] sticking their heads in the sand and pretending there isn't a problem." (26)

* In May 2011, the king stated that "It's always easy to find an excuse why not to do the right thing.... And if we continue along those lines, then we will never solve this problem. So we need leaders with courage to take the tough decisions and solve this once and for all." (27)

* In April 2010, the king said that "I met Benjamin Netanyahu ... this time last year. I was extremely optimistic by the vision he had for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians and the Israelis and the Arabs.... However, I have to say, that over the past 12 months, everything I've seen on the ground has made me extremely skeptical.... And, I believe I'm one of the more optimistic people you'll find in this part of the world." (28)

* In May 2009, the king said that "If we delay our peace negotiations, then there is going to be another conflict between Arabs or Muslims and Israel in the next 1218 months.... Just because there is a right-wing [Israeli] government in Israel does not mean that we should chuck in the towel." (29)

Jordan and Hamas

For two decades, Jordan has had an on-again, off-again relationship with Hamas, the Palestinian militant group and U.S. State Department-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). Throughout the 1990s, the late King Hussein tolerated a Hamas presence in his kingdom. (30) Upon his accession to the throne in 1999, King Abdullah II, perhaps realizing that Jordan's relationship with Hamas was a political liability, reversed his late father's long-standing policy of tolerating Hamas and closed its Jordan offices permanently. (31)

Under King Abdullah II, Jordan has periodically engaged Hamas in a limited dialogue, mostly as a pragmatic maneuver designed to open channels of communication. Jordan also has sought assurances that Hamas officials will not interfere in Jordanian domestic politics by encouraging Islamists groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood to be more confrontational in opposing the kingdom's peaceful relationship with Israel.

In late 2011, new reports of Jordanian-Hamas contacts surfaced. In September, Jordan permitted Khaled Meshaal, chief of Hamas's political bureau, to visit Jordan to see his sick mother. (32) Some analysts have speculated that due to ongoing unrest in Syria, Hamas members are looking to hedge their bets by seeking a new host country as a base for their international operations. In November 2011, Jordanian authorities and Meshaal held official meetings in Jordan to "tackle issues of mutual concern, including major regional files." Jordanian officials also said that the kingdom will not host Hamas, though the new Prime Minister Awn Khasawneh did remark that Jordan's closure of Hamas' offices in 1999 was a "constitutional and political mistake." (33) The Jordanian goverment may be interested in engaging Hamas due to reports that Fatah and Hamas have agreed to hold elections in 2012 and are due to agree upon a caretaker Palestinian government for the interim period before elections.

Jordan and Syria

On November 14, following an Arab League decision to suspend Syria's membership due to the ongoing regime crackdown against protestors there, King Abdullah II stated in an interview that President Asad of Syria should resign, saying that "I believe, if I were in his shoes, I would step down and make sure whoever comes behind me has the ability to change the status quo that we're seeing." The king's remarks were the first time an Arab leader had publicly called for Asad's resignation, though subsequent Jordanian press coverage has emphasized that the king's statement was not a direct call for Asad to stand down, but rather a response to a hypothetical question.

U.S. Aid, Trade, and Military Cooperation

U.S. Foreign Assistance to Jordan

The United States has provided economic and military aid, respectively, to Jordan since 1951 and 1957. Total U.S. aid to Jordan through FY2011 amounted to approximately $12.47 billion. Jordan has received large allocations in supplemental appropriations acts (a total of $2.186 billion since FY2002). In addition to funds specifically earmarked for Jordan, emergency supplemental bills also have contained funds to reimburse Pakistan, Jordan, and other key cooperating states for logistical expenses in support of U.S. military operations.

The Five-Year Aid Deal

On September 22, 2008, the U.S. and Jordanian governments reached an agreement whereby the United States will provide a total of $660 million in annual foreign assistance to Jordan over a five-year period (FY2010-FY2014). Under the terms of their non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), this first-of-its-kind deal commits the United States, subject to future congressional appropriation and availability of funds, to providing $360 million per year in Economic Support Funds (ESF) and $300 million per year in Foreign Military Financing (FMF). (34) According to the Jordanian government, the agreement "reaffirms the strategic partnership and cooperation between the two countries." Coming at a time when the overall budget for foreign aid was constrained by U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the deal was a testament to strong U.S.-Jordanian relations.

Economic Assistance

The United States provides economic aid to Jordan as both a cash transfer and for USAID programs in Jordan. The Jordanian government uses cash transfers to service its foreign debt. (35) Approximately 53% of Jordan's ESF allotment goes toward the cash transfer. USAID programs in Jordan focus on a variety of sectors including democracy assistance, water preservation, and education (particularly building and renovating public schools). In the democracy sector, U.S. assistance supports capacity building programs for the parliament's support offices, the Jordanian Judicial Council, Judicial Institute, and the Ministry of Justice. The International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute also receive U.S. grants to train, among other groups, some Jordanian political parties and members of parliament. USAID provided $26 million in FY2010 to support political development in Jordan. In the water sector, the bulk of U.S. economic assistance is devoted to optimizing the management of scarce water resources, as Jordan is one of the most water-deprived countries in the world. USAID is currently subsidizing several waste treatment and water distribution projects in the Jordanian cities of Amman, Mafraq, Aqaba, and Irbid.

In order to address many of the economic grievances expressed by Arab protestors throughout the so-called Arab Spring of 2011, USAID has reprogrammed $45 million in previously-appropriated ESF to the establishment of a small-to-medium enterprise (SME) loan guarantee financing facility. The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) plans to provide $250 million in loan guarantees for new and expanding SMEs, and USAID funding will support administration of the fund.

Food Aid

Jordan periodically receives U.S. food aid administered by the Department of Agriculture (USDA) under Title I of the Food for Peace Act (P.L. 480), under the Section 416(b) program permanently authorized by the Agricultural Act of 1949, and under the Food for Progress Act of 1985 as a grant. Between FY1999 to FY2006, Jordan received approximately $238.52 million in food aid to purchase wheat. Jordan received no food assistance between FY2007 to FY2010. In FY2011, the United States provided Jordan with $19 million aid to purchase 50,000 metric tons of wheat.

Millennium Challenge Account (MCA)

In FY2006, Jordan was listed by the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) as a Threshold country in the lower middle-income bracket. On September 12, 2006, the MCC's board of directors approved up to $25 million in Threshold Program assistance for Jordan. Even prior to the selection, the possible choice of Jordan had come under severe criticism. Freedom House, the organization whose annual Index of Freedom is drawn upon for two of the "Ruling Justly" indicators, urged the MCC board to bypass countries that had low scores on political rights and civil liberties. It argued that countries like Jordan that fall below 4 out of a possible 7 on its index should be automatically disqualified. Jordan, however, did well on 3 of the 6 other indicators in this category. Several development analysts further argued that Jordan should not be eligible, asserting that it is already one of the largest recipients of U.S. aid, has access to private sector capital, and is not a democracy. In selecting Jordan, the MCC board appears not to have been swayed by these arguments.

In September 2010, the Millennium Challenge Corporation approved a five-year, $275.1 million compact with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to increase the supply of water available to households and businesses in the cities of Amman and Zarqa. The compact also will help improve the efficiency of water delivery, wastewater collection, and wastewater treatment. If estimates hold true, the clean drinking water generated as a result of the MCC compact may be enough to supply almost 1 million Jordanian citizens with freshwater.

Military Assistance

U.S. military assistance is primarily directed toward upgrading Jordan's air force, as recent purchases include upgrades to U.S.-made F-16 fighters, air-to-air missiles, and radar systems. FMF grants also provide financing for Jordan's purchase of U.S. Blackhawk helicopters in order to enhance Jordan's border monitoring and counter-terror capability. Jordan is currently the single largest provider of civilian police personnel and fifth-largest provider of military personnel to U.N. peacekeeping operations worldwide. In addition to large-scale military aid grants for conventional weapons purchases, Jordan also receives grants of U.S. antiterrorism assistance from the Nonproliferation, Anti-Terrorism, Demining, and Related Programs account (NADR). Jordan received $24.6 million in NADR funds in FY2010 and $12.5 million in FY2011 to support local authorities in customs inspection and border patrol. Jordan also receives small sums of International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement (INLCE) aid to support police training in forensic criminal investigation procedures to combat gender-based violence, anti-money laundering, and enforcement of intellectual property rights laws (approximately $1.5 million in FY2010 and $250,000 in FY2011).


Jordan ranked 78th among U.S. trading partners in volume of trade with the United States in 2010. According to the United States Trade Commission, in 2010 Jordan exported $973.8 million in goods and services to the United States, a large percentage of which consisted of apparel and clothing accessories. In 2010, Jordanian imports from the United States reached $1.13 billion. Principal U.S. commodities imported by Jordan consisted of aircraft parts, machinery and appliances, vehicles, and cereals. Two measures, in particular--the Free Trade Agreement and Qualifying Industrial Zones--have helped expand U.S.-Jordanian trade ties and could create more opportunities for U.S. investment in Jordan.

Free Trade Agreement

On October 24, 2000, then-President Clinton and King Abdullah II witnessed the signing of a U.S.-Jordanian Free Trade Agreement, which eliminated duties and commercial barriers to bilateral trade in goods and services originating in the two countries. Earlier, in a report released on September 26, 2000, the U.S. International Trade Commission concluded that a U.S.-Jordan Free Trade Agreement would have no measurable impact on total U.S. imports or exports, U.S. production, or U.S. employment. Under the agreement, the two countries agreed to enforce existing laws concerning worker rights and environmental protection. On January 6, 2001, then-President Clinton transmitted to the 107th Congress a proposal to implement the Free Trade Agreement. On July 23, then-U.S. Trade Representative Zoellick and then-Jordanian Ambassador Marwan Muasher exchanged letters pledging that the two sides would "make every effort" to resolve disputes without recourse to sanctions and other formal procedures. These letters were designed to allay concerns on the part of some Republican Members over the possible use of sanctions to enforce labor and environmental provisions of the treaty. President Bush signed H.R. 2603, which implemented the FTA as P.L. 107-43 on September 28, 2001, during King Abdullah's visit to Washington, DC, following the September 11, 2001, attacks. For additional information, see CRS Report RL30652, U.S.-Jordan Free Trade Agreement, by Mary Jane Bolle.

Qualifying Industrial Zones

One outgrowth of the Jordanian-Israeli peace treaty was the establishment of "Qualifying Industrial Zones" (QIZs), under which goods produced with specified levels of Jordanian and Israeli input can enter the United States duty free, under the provisions of P.L. 104-234. This act amended previous legislation so as to grant the President authority to extend the U.S.-Israel free trade area to cover products from QIZs between Israel and Jordan or between Israel and Egypt. QIZs were designed both to help the Jordanian economy and to serve as a vehicle for expanding commercial ties between Jordan and Israel. Although QIZs have succeeded in boosting U.S.-Jordanian trade, there has been only a modest increase in Jordanian-Israeli trade.

Currently there are 13 QIZs in Jordan employing approximately 43,000 people (working eight-hour days six days a week), 74% of whom are foreign workers from Southeast Asian nations including Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. In general, foreign laborers are viewed as more skilled and productive than local Jordanians. In addition, it is difficult for employers to recruit local Jordanians since workers typically live on site, and many are hesitant to separate from their families, though in some areas local Jordanians are provided with free transportation to the QIZs. According to one Jordanian labor leader, foreign workers are attractive to employers because "they are like slaves. They work them day and night." (36) Labor rights activists also have complained that Jordanian workers in the QIZs are excluded from a new minimum wage law.

Military Cooperation

Military Sales

The United States is helping Jordan to modernize its armed forces, which have been the traditional mainstay of the regime. The Jordanian military forces, though well trained and disciplined, are outnumbered and outgunned by each of Jordan's neighboring forces. In recent years, Jordan has used U.S. military assistance grants to purchase Advanced Medium Range Airto-Air Missiles, upgrades for its fleet of F-16 fighters (approximately 70-80), and Black Hawk helicopters. The United States also delivered three Patriot anti-missile batteries to Jordan in early 2003 prior to the start of U.S. military operations in Iraq.

Joint Exercises and Training

A U.S.-Jordanian Joint Military Commission has functioned since 1974. More than 300 Jordanian military personnel study in the United States each year. In recent years, Jordan is among the top three recipients of U.S. International Military Education and Training (IMET) funding. IMET also funds the equipping of English language labs in Jordan. Combined training exercises by U.S. and Jordanian military units continue to take place in Jordan (dubbed "Early Victor"), at least on an annual basis and sometimes more often. The above-mentioned courses conducted by Jordan for Iraqi military personnel are reportedly being funded by the United States under a program called the New Iraqi Army Training Project. (37) In addition, the United States has supported the construction of the King Abdullah II Center for Special Operations Training (KASOTC). The center, which has been partially financed by the United States including with $99 million in appropriations from the FY2005 Emergency Supplemental Act (P.L. 109-13), serves as a regional headquarters for counter-terrorism training. (38) In 2003, Jordan built a Special Operations Command and the Anti-Terrorism Center in order to boost counter-terrorism capabilities within the military.

Other Activities

Under the provisions of Section 517 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 as amended, then-President Clinton designated Jordan as a major non-NATO ally of the United States, effective on November 13, 1996. According to a State Department spokesman, this status "makes Jordan eligible for priority consideration for transfer of excess defense articles, the use of already appropriated military assistance funds for procurement through commercial leases, the stockpiling of U.S. military material, and the purchase of depleted uranium munitions."

According to U.S. and Jordanian officials, Jordan has deployed two military hospitals to Afghanistan and Iraq, respectively, and has committed almost 600 health care professionals to the two facilities. Both facilities provide critical health care to numerous patients, including civilians. The hospital in Afghanistan cares for more than 650 patients a day, having treated more than 500,000 since it was first deployed in December 2001. In Iraq, Jordan helped train 50,000 policemen, helped the United States reach out to Sunni tribes and politicians in order to facilitate reconciliation, and still maintains a field hospital in Fallujah.

Jordan also regularly contributes peacekeeping forces to United Nations missions abroad. (39) In November 2006, a Jordanian United Nations peacekeeping patrol in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, was killed while on patrol. Jordan has about 1,500 troops in the Brazilian-led U.N. force, which includes more than 8,000 soldiers and police supported by some 1,000 civilian personnel. Two other Jordanian soldiers were killed in January 2006. In 2009, five more Jordanian peacekeepers were killed in a plane crash during border surveillance mission while serving in Haiti. Three more Jordanian soldiers were killed during the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

Jordan's Role in Libya

In April 2011, an estimated six Jordanian Air Force fighter jets were deployed to the Mediterranean to participate in Operation Unified Protector in order to provide logistical support for imposition of a no-fly zone over Libya and protect Jordanian military aircraft flying humanitarian aid to the Libyan people. In early April, Jordanian aircraft landed at Benghazi Airport with humanitarian supplies. Jordan did not participate militarily in the NATO-led enforcement mission in Libya.

Jordan's Role in Afghanistan

Although the Jordanian government had publicly acknowledged a limited humanitarian presence in Afghanistan since major NATO operations began there in 2001, the December 30, 2009, terrorist attack against a CIA base in Khost, in which a Jordanian intelligence agent and royal family member was killed, shed light on Jordan's deeper cooperation against Al Qaeda and their Taliban allies. (40) Officially, Jordan has not acknowledged its intelligence role in Afghanistan. Numerous reports of joint CIA-GID cooperation have illustrated Jordan's long-standing, but unacknowledged cooperation with U.S. global counterterrorism. According to one unnamed U.S. source, "we have a close partnership with the Jordanians on counterterrorism matters.... Having suffered serious losses from terrorist attacks on their own soil, they are keenly aware of the significant threat posed by extremists." Jordanian Prime Minister Samir al Rafa'i stated that "Being part of this world, we have to coordinate with other countries and exchange information about the location of terrorist groups.... We will be everywhere as long as this is necessary for our national security." Some Jordanian Islamists have expressed dismay at the degree of Jordanian cooperation with the United States, and there is some concern that the 2009 incident might temper future U.S.-Jordanian intelligence cooperation.

In March 2010, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen officially requested that Jordan play a role in training the Afghan Army. In response, Jordan has sent an unspecified number of instructors from its armed forces and security service to Afghanistan. Reportedly, Jordan has already trained 2,500 members of the Afghan special forces at the King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Centre. (41) Jordan also is helping to promote religious toleration by training Afghan imams.

In June 2011, a Jordanian Al Qaeda operative named Mahmoud Hamdan Nizal (aka Abu Dher al Urduni) was killed in a clash with U.S. troops in eastern Afghanistan. Nizal was from the city of Zarqa and was killed in a U.S. air or artillery strike.
Jordan in Brief

Population:      6,407,085 (July 2010 est.)

Area:            89,213 sq. km. (34,445 sq. mi.,
                 slightly smaller than Indiana)

Ethnic Groups:   Arabs 98%; Circassians 1%;
                 Armenians 1%

Religion:        Sunni Muslim 92%; Christian 6%;
                 small Muslim sects 2% (2001

Literacy:        89% (male 95%, female 84%)
                 (2003 est.)

GDP:             Per Capita $5,300 (2010 est.)

Inflation:       4.4% (2010 CIA est.) 5.5%
                 (December 2010 IMF est.)

Unemployment:    13.5% (official estimate); ca. 30%
                 according to some unofficial
                 estimates (2009 est.)

External Debt:   $5.52 billion (December 2010

Sources: U.S. Dept. of State; CIA World Factbook;
Central Bank of Jordan; International Monetary Fund,
other U.S. and Jordanian government departments;
The Economist Intelligence Unit (London)

November 21, 2011

(1) International Republican Institute, IRI Poll: More Than Half of Jordanians Believe Country is Heading in Right Direction, October 12, 2011.

(2) "Hundreds Gather to Mourn Jordanian Protester," Voice of America News, March 27, 2011.

(3) Throughout the political upheaval of 2011, some Jordanian activists have been demanding that the legal system be reformed and that Jordan's revised 1952 constitution be restored to its original form before it be amended further. Jordan's 1952 constitution has been amended multiple times (29 total amendments passed in the years 1954, 1958, 1960, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1984). After it was first approved, some Jordanians viewed it as a far more democratic document than its 1947 predecessor, perhaps reflecting both the liberal sensibilities of the then King of Jordan Talal Ibn Abdullah and the statesmen guiding the country in the interregnum between the late King Abdullah I and his grandson King Hussein (See, Robert B. Satloff, From Abdullah to Hussein: Jordan in Transition, Oxford U. Press; 1st edition 1994). The 1952 constitution declared that the Jordanian nation is the source of all powers. It placed some limited checks and balances on the monarch and the cabinet, such as enabling the lower house of parliament to issue a vote of no confidence in the government if approved by a two-thirds majority. The parliament also was given the right to approve, reject, or amend legislation proposed by the cabinet. It can override the king's veto of legislation if approved by two-thirds majorities in both houses. Under the constitution, the judiciary is independent. The constitution bars discrimination on the basis of race or religion; bans compulsory labor; and requires due process to be followed in the case of arrest, imprisonment, or confiscation of property. However, the king has the power to appoint a prime minister and is not legally obligated to appoint one from either the majority party or from among members of parliament (though in 1956, the late King Hussein asked the head of the majority party in parliament, Sulayman al Nabulsi, to serve as prime minister). Most of the amendments since 1952 were passed in periods of national "crisis," following Jordan's loss of the West Bank to Israel in 1967 when King Hussein declared martial law (which lasted until 1989).

(4) According to the amendments, "It will be an independent and separate judicial body, and shall consist of a minimum of nine members, including the president, appointed by the King. The term of membership in the Constitutional Court is six years and nonrenewable. The members of the Court shall not be dismissed during their membership."

(5) "Jordan's King Abdullah on Egypt, Syria and Israel," Washington Post, October 24, 2011.

(6) Op.cit., Washington Post, October 24, 2011

(7) "Jordan's PM Approved Controversial Casino," Al, September 13, 2011.

(8) Most experts suggest that the king's dismissal of the prime minister was a symbolic gesture designed to create the impression of government resolve to promote reform. According to one unnamed Western diplomat, "In Jordan, prime ministers are there to be sacked.... They're a buffer, a shock absorber--between the people and the king." See, "Caught in the Middle as Usual," The Economist, October 22, 2011.

(9) Though there was very little international recognition of Jordan's annexation of the West Bank, Jordan maintained control of it (including East Jerusalem) until Israel took military control of it during the June 1967 Arab-Israeli War, and maintained its claim to it until relinquishing the claim to the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1988.

(10) Speculation over the ratio of East Bankers to Palestinians (those who arrived as refugees and immigrants since 1948) in Jordanian society tends to be a sensitive domestic issue. Jordan last conducted a national census in 2004, and it is unclear whether or not the government maintains such statistics. Over time, intermarriage has made it more difficult to discern distinct differences between the two communities, though divisions do persist.

(11) In July 2009, King Abdullah II named his then 15-year-old son, Prince Hussein Bin Abdullah, as crown prince. The position had been vacant since 2004, when King Abdullah II removed the title from his half-brother, Prince Hamzah.

(12) During the late 1970s and early 1980s, the parliament was suspended and legislative powers reverted to the government.

(13) The king also is allowed to declare martial law and suspend the provisions of the constitution. See United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Programme on Governance in the Arab Region (POGAR), Historical Background of Jordan's Constitution, available online at

(14) New amendments to Article 94 in 2011 have put some restrictions on when the executive is allowed to issue temporary laws. See, "Constitutional Amendments"

(15) CRS interview with Jordanian lawmakers, May 2006.

(16) Jordan possesses substantial reserves of phosphates and potash. No significant oil and gas fields have been discovered. However, Jordan has one of world's largest reserves of oil shale. Officials estimate that the country contains the world's fourth-largest oil shale reserves. In 2006, Shell signed an oil shale exploration agreement with the Jordanian government. Estonia's Eesti Energia AS also has signed agreements on oil shale projects. See, "Amman Unlocks Energy Potential," Middle East Economic Digest, August 7, 2009.

(17) It is estimated that up to 20% of GDP comes from remittances. Nearly 10% of Jordan's population (600,000 est.) reside and work in Arab Gulf countries.

(18) One factor that exacerbates the unemployment situation in Jordan is the social stigma attached to menial labor jobs. Referred to as the "culture of shame," Jordanian tribal traditions look down on certain types of employment such as construction. In fact, the government estimates that there are approximately 300,000 to 400,000 foreign laborers in Jordan working as domestic laborers, bricklayers, and other tasks. According to the Jordanian Employment Ministry, Egyptians make up 68% of foreign workers in Jordan.

(19) Jordan was ranked 49 out of 180 countries surveyed in Transparency International's 2009 Corruption Perceptions Index.

(20) In 2006, the Jordanian parliament passed a law establishing an Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) which has taken on several high level investigations in recent years, specifically looking into accusations of graft in a public housing project (Decent Home for Decent Living) and a water works project (Disi Water Conveyance). However, some

(21) For example, in 2011 foreign tourist visits to Jordan are down 18% from the previous year.

(22) IHS Global Insight estimates that Jordan's total defense budget for 2011 is approximately $2.7 billion. See, "Jane's Defence Budgets," Jordan, April 14, 2011.

(23) In 1991, Congress suspended the delivery of U.S. economic and military aid to Jordan. See Section 502 of P.L. 102-27, the Dire Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for Consequences of Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Food Stamps, Unemployment Compensation Administration, Veterans Compensation and Pensions, and Urgent Needs for the Fiscal Year Ending September 30, 1991 and For Other Purposes.

(24) Jordan and Israel signed the peace treaty on October 26, 1994. Later, the two countries exchanged ambassadors; Israel returned approximately 131 square miles of territory near the Rift Valley to Jordan; the parliament repealed laws banning contacts with Israel; and the two countries signed a number of bilateral agreements between 1994 and 1996 to normalize economic and cultural links. Water sharing, a recurring problem, was partially resolved in May 1997 when the two countries reached an interim arrangement under which Israel began pumping 72,000 cubic meters of water from Lake Tiberias (the Sea of Galilee) to Jordan per day (equivalent to 26.3 million cubic meters per year--a little over half the target amount envisioned in an annex to the peace treaty).

(25) The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) maintains a large presence in Jordan. UNRWA has 7,000 staff in Jordan, comprising mostly teachers, doctors, and engineers. It operates 172 schools in Jordan (providing education through 10th grade, then the remainder provided by government). According to UNRWA officials, their budget is $104 million a year. At this point, 83% of all U.N.-registered refugees live outside of UNRWA camps.

(26) "Jordan's King Says Israel Blocks Peace," Wall Street Journal, September 20, 2011.

(27) "King Abdullah II warns of fresh Mideast conflict," Agence France Presse, May 22, 2011.

(28) "Jordan's king issues rebuke to Israel ," Wall Street Journal, April 6, 2010.

(29) "King Abdullah warns of Mideast war if no deal," Agence France Presse, May 11, 2009.

(30) In 1997, Israeli agents disguised as Canadian tourists attempted to assassinate Khaled Meshaal, head of the Hamas political bureau and one of its founding members, by poisoning him. The agents were captured by Jordanian authorities, and Israel was forced to release a number of high profile Hamas members in order to secure the return of their operatives. King Hussein had reportedly threatened to abrogate the Israel-Jordan 1994 peace treaty if Israel failed to provide an antidote and release other Hamas prisoners.

(31) In 1999, the Jordanian Government closed Hamas' offices and expelled four officials over alleged smuggling of arms through Jordan and Hamas interference in the country's internal politics through connections with the Islamic Action Front (IAF).

(32) In 2009, Jordan permitted Meshaal to visit the country to see his sick father.

(33) "Hamas' return to Amman 'not on agenda'," McClatchy--Tribune Business News, November 13, 2011.

(34) Under the terms of the MOU, annual foreign aid (non-supplemental) to Jordan will rise by nearly 50%, from an estimated $460 million per year to $660 million.

(35) When providing cash transfer assistance, the United States, though USAID, requires the Jordanian government to meet certain mutually-agreed upon benchmarks. According to USAID, these benchmarks include, among others, the Government of Jordan approving an Insolvency and Bankruptcy draft law, streamlining the consultation process required for registering property, approving a Medical Liability draft law, approving the Anti-Money Laundering Unit (AMLU) By-Laws, amending the Judicial Independence Law to allow for the formation of a Judges Association, and allowing Iraqis returning home to exit the Kingdom without paying overstay fees or incurring a bar to reentry. CRS Correspondence with USAID, March 3, 2011.

(36) "Industrial Zones Create Little Work for Jordanians," Financial Times, February 9, 2009.

(37) Riad Kahwaji, "Forging a New Iraqi Army--in Jordan," Defense News, February 9, 2004, p. 8.

(38) According to one description of the new U.S.-Jordanian facility, "If special forces have to conduct house-to-house searches, KASOTC provides that infrastructure in a training environment.... If they have to rescue hostages on an airplane, KASOTC provides the plane. If they have to rescue hostages from an embassy, KASOTC provides an embassy structure." See, Joan Kibler, "KASOTC," Special Operations Technology Online Edition, volume 6, issue 2, March 19, 2008.

(39) To date, the Jordanian Armed Forces (JAF) have contributed 57,000 troops to 18 different United Nations peacekeeping missions.

(40) On December 30, 2009, Humam Khalil Abu Mulal al Balawi, a Jordanian terrorist who had been serving as an informant for the Central Intelligence Agency and Jordan's General Intelligence Directorate, detonated a suicide vest bomb killing eight people outside CIA Forward Operating Base Chapman in Khost, Afghanistan. His Jordanian handler, Captain Sharif Ali bin Zeid, a member of the royal family, was killed as well. Al Balawi, a physician, held virulent anti-American and anti-Israeli views expressed in various Jihadist online forums. Prior to his attack, he had managed to convince U.S. and Jordanian intelligence officials that he knew the whereabouts of Ayman Al Zawahiri, who is Al Qaeda's second-in-command. In a video filmed before his death, Al Balawi swore revenge for the August 2009 killing of Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud and appeared with Mehsud's cousin and successor Hakimullah Mehsud. Months later, a second video emerged showing Al Balawi urging militants to target Jordan for terrorist attacks.

(41) "Jordan Trained 2,500 Afghan Special Forces: Minister," Agence France Presse, May 12, 2010.

Author Contact Information

Jeremy M. Sharp

Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs, 7-8687
Table 1. Recent Foreign Military Sales to Jordan

Year     Weapon System        $ Value of Sale   Prime Contractor

FY2006   National Command &   $450 million      Northrop
         Control System                         Grumman Corporation

FY2006   Black Hawk           $60 million       Sikorsky Co.
         Helicopters                            and General Electric

FY2006   Armored Personnel    $156 million      BAE Company

FY2008   Border Security      $390 million      DRS Technologies Corp

FY2009   AMRAAM Missiles      $131 million      Raytheon

FY2009   Artillery Rocket     $220 million      Multiple Companies

FY2010   Repair of F-16       $75 million       Pratt & Whitney

FY2010   JAVELIN Anti-        $388 million      Javelin Joint Venture
         Tank Guided

Source: Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA).

Table 2. Annual U.S. Aid to Jordan Since the 1991 Gulf Crisis
($ in millions)

Economic Assistance Military Assistance

(FY)                                  Peace-                   Totals
             EconSpt   Food   Devel   Cp       FMF      IMET

1991          35.0        0     0       0        20.0   1.3       56.30
               (a)                                (a)
1992          30.0     20.0     0       0        20.0    .6       70.60
               (b)                                (b)
1993 (c)       5.0     30.0     0       0         9.0    .5       44.50
1994 (d)       9.0     15.0   4.0       0         9.0    .8       37.80
1995           7.2     15.0   6.7       0         7.3   1.0       37.20
1996           7.2     21.0   7.9       0       200.0   1.2      237.30
1997 (f)     112.2      2.6   4.5     1.1        30.0   1.7      152.10
1998 (f)     150.0        0     0     1.2        75.0   1.6      227.80
1999         150.0        0     0     1.4        70.0   1.6      223.00
(Wye)         50.0        0     0       0        50.0     0      100.00
2000         150.0        0     0     1.7        75.0   1.6      228.30
(Wye)         50.0        0     0       0       150.0     0      200.00
2001         150.0        0     0     1.7        75.0   1.7      228.40
2002         150.0        0     0     1.6        75.0   2.0      228.60
(Suppl.)     100.0        0     0       0        25.0     0      125.00
2003         250.0        0     0     1.0       198.0   2.4      451.40
(Suppl.)     700.0        0     0       0       406.0     0    1,106.00
2004         250.0        0     0     2.3       206.0   2.9      461.20
(Suppl.)     100.0        0     0       0           0     0      100.00
2005         250.0        0     0     1.6       206.0   3.0      460.60
(Suppl.)     100.0        0     0       0       100.0     0      200.00
2006         247.5        0     0     1.6       207.9   3.0      460.00
(Suppl.)      50.0        0     0       0           0     0       50.00
2007         245.0        0     0       0       206.0   3.1      454.10
(Suppl.)      10.3        0     0       0        45.0     0       55.30
2008         361.4        0     0       0       298.3   2.9      662.60
(Suppl.)     200.0        0     0       0        50.0     0      250.00
2009         263.5        0     0       0       235.0   3.1      501.60
2009                                             fun-
(Suppl.)     150.0        0     0       0       ding)     0      150.00
2010         363.0        0     0       0       300.0   3.8      666.8
(Suppl.)     100.0        0     0       0        50.0     0      150.0
(Estimate)   360.0        0     0       0       300.0   3.7      663.7
(Request)    360.0        0     0       0       300.0   3.7      663.7

Note: These figures do not include debt relief subsidy
appropriations, food aid between 1999-2006, or amounts
for de-mining assistance and counter-terrorism assistance.

(a.) Suspended in April 1991 under P.L. 102-27; released
in early 1993.

(b.) Released in late July 1993.

(c.) Restrictions on FY1993 funds waived by Presidential
Determination (PD) 93-39, Sept. 17, 1993.

(d.) FY1994 funds released by PD 94-11, Jan. 13, 1994,
waiving restrictions under P.L. 103-87.

(e.) Three components: $30 million (Administration's
original request); $70 million in additional FMF under
FY1996 appropriation (P.L. 104-134) to cover balance of F-16
aircraft package; and $100 million in special
drawdown authority (P.L. 104-107).

(f.) These figures include $100 million in economic
assistance under the President's Middle East Peace and
Stability Fund ($100 million in FY1997, $116 million in

(g.) For each of these two years, FMF figure includes $25
million in drawdown authority.

(h.) Some of these funds were obligated in later years
(FY2001 or FY2002).

(i.) Total FY2007 supplemental aid to Jordan was $85.3
million. The above chart does not include $25 million in
NADR funds.
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Author:Sharp, Jeremy M.
Publication:Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports and Issue Briefs
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:7JORD
Date:Nov 1, 2011
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