Abdullah II of Jordan


Abdullah II of Jordan

Infobox Jordanian Royalty|king
name = Abdullah II
Arabic name = عبد الله الثاني بن الحسين
title = King of Jordan



caption = May 2008 at World Economic Forum
reign = 7 February 1999 – present
predecessor = Hussein
successor = Prince Hussein
suc-type = Heir-Apparent
spouse = Rania Al-Yassin
issue = Prince Hussein
Princess Iman
Princess Salma
Prince Hashem
titles ="HM" The King of Jordan
"HRH" The Crown Prince of Jordan
"HRH" Prince Abdullah of Jordan
royal house = Hashemite
royal anthem =
father = Hussein of Jordan
mother = Princess Muna
date of birth = birth date and age|1962|01|30|df=y
place of birth = Amman, Jordan

Abdullah II bin al-Hussein, King of Jordan ( _ar. الملك عبد الله الثاني بن الحسين, "al-Malik ʿAbdullāh aṯ-ṯānī bin al-Ḥusayn" born 30 January 1962) is the ruler of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. He became king of Jordan on 7 February 1999 after the death of his father King Hussein. King Abdullah is a member of the Hashemite family and is reportedly the 43rd-generation direct descendant of prophet MuhammadKingabdullah.jo {2006), [http://www.kingabdullah.jo/main.php?main_page=0&lang_hmka1=1 His Majesty King Abdullah II: King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan] . Royal Hashemite Court. Retrieved on 14 December 2007] . Abdullah's parents are King Hussein and Princess Muna al-Hussein.

Education and military career

Abdullah was schooled at St. Edmund's School in Surrey, England as well as Eaglebrook School and Deerfield Academy in the United States. His university training was at Pembroke College, Oxford. In 1980, Abdullah left Pembroke and entered the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in the United Kingdom as a cadet. He joined the 13th/18th Royal Hussars (Queen Mary's Own) upon commission as a Second Lieutenant the following year. King Abdullah retains close links with the British Army and is the Colonel-in-Chief of The Light Dragoons, a tank regiment and the successor to the 13th/18th Royal Hussars. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/norfolk/3528613.stm King of Jordan meets troops in UK] , "BBC News", 3 March 2004. Accessed 3 June 2008.] In 1987, he completed an advanced studies and research program at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. He took full command of the Jordanian special forces in November 1993, becoming a Major General. He instructed the special forces until 1996, when he was instructed to reorganize the special forces and other special units under the special operation command SOCOM. [ [http://www.special-operations-technology.com/article.cfm?DocID=1361 Exclusive Interview: Partner for Peace] .] Upon assuming his constitutional powers, he became the commander-in-chief. King Abdullah holds the ranks of Field Marshal in the Jordan Arab Army and Marshal of the Royal Jordanian Air Force. [Gilani.com.pk (2 May 2007), [http://www.gilani.com.pk/kings/kingsjordan.htm The Hashemite Kingdom Of Jordan] .]

Marriage and children

Abdullah is married to a Jordanian of Palestinian origin, Queen Rania al-Abdullah. They have four children:
* Prince Hussein (born 28 June 1994)
* Princess Iman (born 27 September 1996)
* Princess Salma (born 26 September 2000)
* Prince Hashem (born 30 January 2005)

King of Jordan

King Abdullah became king on 7 February 1999, upon the death of his father King Hussein. Hussein had recently named him Crown Prince on 24 January, replacing Hussein's brother Hassan who had served many years in the position. Since Abdullah's mother, Princess Muna al-Hussein was British by birth, [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/1634962.stm Jordan and the UK: A long and robust relationship] , "BBC News", 6 November 2001. Accessed 3 June 2008.] the decision was not universally popular.Fact|date=December 2007

Politics as King

King Abdullah is the head of a constitutional monarchy in which the King retains substantial power. Jordan's economy has improved under Abdullah, and he has been credited with increasing foreign investment, attending meetings between public and private sectors, and providing the foundation for Aqaba's free trade zone. As a result of these reforms, Jordan's economic growth has doubled to 6% annually under King Abdullah's rule compared to the latter half of the 1990s. [ [http://www.imf.org/external/np/ms/2006/112806.htm Jordan—Concluding Statement for the 2006 Article IV Consultation and Fourth Post-Program Monitoring Discussions] , "International Monetary Fund", 28 November 2006. Accessed 3 June 2008.] Healthcare is now easy to receive even in rural parts of Jordan. The adult literacy rate is 90%, [Unicef. " [http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/jordan_statistics.html At a glance: Jordan] ". Retrieved on 14 December 2007.] one of the highest in the Arab World. Foreign direct investment from the West as well as the countries of the Persian Gulf has continued to increase. [ [http://www.mop.gov.jo/pages.php?menu_id=241&local_type=0&local_id=0&local_details=0&local_details1=0 Trade and Investment] , "Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation". Accessed 22 July 2008.]

Abdullah's speech at The Catholic University of America's Columbus School of Law in September 2005 was entitled "Traditional Islam: The Path to Peace." While en route to the United States, King Abdullah met with Pope Benedict XVI to build on the relations that Jordan had established with Pope John Paul II to discuss ways in which Muslims and Christians can continue to work together for peace, tolerance, and coexistence. The King announced on 2 March 2007 municipal elections in Jordan and in 25 November 2006 in his parliament address, told the parliament to work on reforms of the press and publication law. [Hussein, Mohammad Ben. [http://www.jordanembassyus.org/11282006005.htm King opens Parliament today] , "Jordan Times", 28 November 2006. Accessed 3 June 2008.]

King Abdullah II has worked for the Middle East Peace Process, attending the Arab Summit in 2002, OIC conferences and having several summits with US, Israeli and Palestinian delegations to find a solution for the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. He tried to impose a cease-fire when the Israel-Hezbollah war broke out in the summer of 2006. While keeping strong ties to Israel, the King has invested money into the new Palestinian authority of Mahmoud Abbas, the current President of the PA. He has also helped increase foreign investment in the new Palestinian government.Fact|date=July 2007

Palestinians are given citizenship more easily than Iraqi refugees are. Crossing the border into Jordan from Iraq is not much more difficult than it had previously been before the 2005 Amman bombings by Iraqis working with al-Qaeda.Fact|date=July 2007 The king was expected to pay a lot of attention on domestic policy and domestic issues [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/inatl/daily/feb99/abdullah8.htm] , his cooperation with the United States gained Jordan better economic and military position.Fact|date=February 2008 His position with peace in the Middle East is met with criticism from Jordanians of Palestinian descent.

Jordan received criticism when Toujan al-Faisal, Jordan's first female member of Parliament and an outspoken advocate for freedom of expression and human rights, was jailed for slandering the government after she charged it with corruption in a letter to Abdullah. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/1990925.stm "Jordan jails outspoken dissident"] , "BBC News", 16 May 2002. Accessed 3 June 2008.]

Major General Yair Naveh, GOC of the Israel Defense Forces Homefront Command and former GOC of Israeli Central Command, said in a gathering with reporters that King Abdullah might fall and that he could be Jordan's last king. [Bannoura, Saed. [http://www.kibush.co.il/show_file.asp?num=12300 Naveh: “King Abdullah is liable to be the last king of Jordan”] , "Occupation Magazine", 23 February 2006. Accessed 3 June 2008.] The statement created tension between the two countries, and afterwards Naveh retracted his statement and apologized. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/low/middle_east/4743244.stm Israeli general in Jordan apology] , "BBC News", 23 February 2006. Accessed 3 June 2008.] Later, the Israeli prime minister expressed the disagreement of Israel with Naveh's statement, and referred to it as a personal and irrelevant view. [http://www.jordanembassyus.org/02242006001.htm] [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4743244.stm] In March 2007, Ehud Olmert commented on any American withdrawal from Iraq by saying that, "Israel is worried a hasty American withdrawal from Iraq could have negative impact on the Hashemite regime in Jordan..." Jordan's spokesman Nasser Jawdeh replied by saying, "The Israeli prime minister should worry about his political future before worrying about us." [ [http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticleNew.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2007/March/middleeast_March296.xml&section=middleeast&col= Jordan irked by Olmert remarks on Iraq pullout] , "Khaleej Times", 19 March 2007. Accessed 3 June 2008.]

Like his father, King Abdullah pushed forward a policy of reform. In a speech before the United States Congress, King Abdullah presented several political reform strategies to help Jordan become more democratic.The Washington Institute for Near East Policy [http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/templateC05.php?CID=2308 Reform and Development in Jordan: Toward an Arab Renaissance] . Retrieved on 2008-01-26.] The new economic policies have seen many results in Jordan. Abdullah's policies have attracted business to Jordan. He also negotiated a free trade agreement with the United States, which was the third free trade agreement for the U.S. and the first with an Arab country. [White House Office of the Press Secretary (28 September 2001), [http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/09/20010928-12.html Overview: U.S.-Jordan Free Trade Agreement (FTA)] ]

King Abdullah has a strong belief in a powerful military and has led Jordan into adopting a "quality over quantity" policy. This policy has led Jordan to acquire advanced weaponry and greatly increase and enhance its F-16 fighter jet fleet. [cite web|author= Defense Industry Daily |url=http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/jordan-buys-20-f16-mlu-from-holland-belgium-updated-02176/ |title=Jordan Buys 20 F-16 MLU from Holland, Belgium (updated)|date=2007-02-14|publisher=Watershed Publishing| accessdate=2008-01-26] The ground forces have acquired the Challenger 1 main battle tank. [ [http://www.inetres.com/gp/military/cv/tank/Challenger1.html FV4030/4 Challenger 1 Main Battle Tank ] ]

On 16 April 2008 a new Jordanian political party law went into effect. Parliament passed the law in 2007 but the government agreed to give parties a grace period to organize themselves. Local newspapers in Jordan have reported that only fourteen of Jordan’s thirty-six political parties have been able to comply with the new regulations, which include obtaining a certificate of government support and an increase in minimum party membership from 50 to 500. Parties unable to comply, including eight of the fourteen-party opposition coalition, were forced to dissolve and are calling the new law unconstitutional. The Islamic Action Front (IAF), the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood and Jordan’s largest opposition party, was able to comply with the new law. [http://www.carnegieendowment.org/publications/index.cfm?fa=view&id=20108&prog=zgp&proj=zdrl,zme#news]

Successor

On 28 November 2004, Abdullah removed the title of Crown Prince from his half-brother, Hamzah, whom he had appointed on 7 February 1999, in accordance with their late father's wishes. In a letter from Abdullah to Hamzah, read on Jordanian state television, he said, "Your holding this symbolic position has restrained your freedom and hindered our entrusting you with certain responsibilities that you are fully qualified to undertake." No successor to the title was named, but some analysts believe it probable that Abdullah intends to name his own son, Prince Hussein, to succeed him at some point in the future. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4050231.stm Jordan crown prince loses title] , "BBC News", 29 November 2004. Accessed 3 June 2008.]

Nuclear plans for Jordan

On 20 January 2007, King Abdullah revealed to "Haaretz" that Jordan has plans to develop nuclear power strictly for internal energy purposes. [Eldar, Akiva. [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/815304.html King Abdullah to Haaretz: Jordan aims to develop nuclear power] , "Haaretz", 20 January 2007. Accessed 3 June 2008.] According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs though, Jordan is one of the poorest countries in terms of access to drinking water, and thus some have raised questions about King Abdullah's plans for making it a powerful country capable of developing nuclear energy. [ [http://www.irinnews.org/InDepthMain.aspx?InDepthId=13&ReportId=61829&Country=Yes JORDAN: Water shortage remains a constant headache] ] Jordan is one of the few non-petroleum producing nations in the region and is strategically dependent on oil from its neighbor, Iraq. Continuing civil unrest in Iraq puts Jordanian national and energy security at risk.

Democracy in Jordan

BBC international published an article titled "Jordan edging towards democracy", where King Abdullah expressed his intentions of making Jordan a democratic country. According to the article, president George W. Bush "urged King Abdullah, a U.S. ally, to take steps towards democracy." [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4213699.stm Jordan edging towards democracy] , "BBC News", 27 January 2005. Accessed 3 June 2008.] Thus far, however, democratic development has been limited, with the monarchy maintaining most power and its allies dominating parliament.King Abdullah was commended on his political reform strategies.

Interests

King Abdullah has many interests. He is known to be adventurous and has a love and passion for sky diving, rally racing, and scuba diving. He actively promotes tourism in Jordan, and was the guide for the documentary by the travel channel in Jordan. The king is also an acknowledged fan of the science fiction saga "Star Trek". In 1995, while he was still a Prince, he appeared in the " "episode "Investigations". [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/277584.stm BBC News | Entertainment | The King of Star Trek ] ]

His interest in the film industry has also influenced his decision to create the Red Sea Institute of Cinematic Arts in the Red Sea coastal town of Aqaba, in partnership with the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts on 20 September 2006. [ [http://cinema.usc.edu/summer/resources/newsDetail.cfm?cid=6365 Jordan Signs Agreement With USC To Create Middle East Cinema Institute] .]

See also

*List of national leaders
*Hashemite
*King Hussein
*Jordan
*

References

External links

* [http://www.kingabdullah.jo/ Official website of his majesty King Abdullah II]
* [http://www.kingabdullah.jo/main.php?main_page=0&lang_hmka1=1 The Family Line of HIH King Abdullah]
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/norfolk/3528613.stm King of Jordan meets troops in UK]
* [http://www.meforum.org/article/688 "Middle East Quarterly" interview with King Abdullah II: "Iraq is the Battleground – the West against Iran"]
* [http://www.freearabvoice.org/cpjOpenLetter.htm A letter from the Committee to Protect Journalists directed to King Abdullah]
* [http://web.amnesty.org/library/index/engmde160012002 Amnesty International report on alleged violations of human rights in Jordan under King Abdullah]
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/723520.stm King sees shared Jerusalem]
* [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/13/AR2005091301810.html Jordan's King Abdullah Pushes for Moderation]
* [http://www.kingsacademy.edu.jo King's Academy]


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