Author(s)Prados, Alfred B.
KeywordsGovernment and Political Science
IAF(ISLAMIC ACTION GROUP)
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AbstractThe death of King Hussein on February 7, 1999, removed a strong U.S. ally and force for stability; however, most observers believe his son and successor, King Abdullah, will continue the late King's moderate and prowestern policies. In recent years, Jordan has taken significant steps toward building democratic life. Relatively free elections to the 80-member parliament were held in 1989 and 1993. Much of the opposition, including the fundamentalist Islamic Action Group (IAF), boycotted the 1997 elections over press restrictions and alleged attempts by the government to by-pass parliament. The IAF did participate in municipal elections in July 1999, and parliament has eased restrictions in laws affecting the press. 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, democratic reform under way in Jordan, the role of Jordan in the Arab-Israeli peace process, Jordan's cooler but fluctuating relations with Iraq, and its relations with other regional states. King Abdullah expressed Jordan's "absolute condemnation" of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States and was the first Arab head of state to visit President Bush after the attacks. In December, Jordan sent military medical personnel to Afghanistan to support the U.S.-led campaign against terrorism.
CRS Issue Brief for Congress