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  • In 2015, a video surfaced of the Islamic State burning a Jordanian pilot alive. Since then,

  • Jordan has effectively declared war on the terrorist organization, joining a US-backed

  • anti-ISIS coalition and ramping up airstrikes on ISIS camps in neighboring Syria. This has

  • been quite an undertaking for Jordan, as the country is already housing more than 600 thousand

  • Syrian refugees and has struggled with a fragile economy. So, just how powerful is Jordan?

  • Well, Jordan is a relatively small country in the Middle East. At nearly 35 thousand

  • square miles, the country is about the size of the US state of Maine. Jordan is also home

  • to just above eight million people, considerably less than its populous neighbors, Iraq and

  • Saudi Arabia. Although their ruler, King Abdullah the second, has limited power under the country’s

  • constitutional monarchy, he directly or indirectly controls much of the judicial and executive

  • branches, leaving the country far from democratic.

  • In spite of his sweeping powers, King Abdullah has contributed to Jordan’s relatively stable

  • and well diversified economy. In the early 2000s, Abdullah spearheaded a series of economic

  • reforms, including expanding international trade and privatizing state-owned enterprises.

  • This has resulted in a steadily growing GDP, which today amounts to roughly $36 billion

  • dollars.

  • Unlike much of the Middle East, Jordan is lacking in lucrative natural resources, like

  • oil and natural gas. That leaves its economy heavily reliant on imports and remittances.

  • However, Jordan does produce an array of goods, including potassium fertilizer, tomatoes and

  • knit sweaters. Tourism has also been one of Jordan’s selling points, as the country

  • is known to be among the safest in the Middle East. However the industry has taken a plunge

  • in recent years due to political turmoil in the region. Jordan’s economy also suffers

  • from chronically high rates of poverty, unemployment, public debt and corruption. As a result, much

  • of the country’s youth grow to be frustrated and disillusioned, and, seeing little opportunity,

  • join radical militant groups. According to a report by Mercy Corps, ISIS alone has recruited

  • an estimated 25 hundred Jordanians.

  • Considering their small population and fragile economy, Jordan’s military is actually quite

  • impressive. The country boasts a military of roughly 175 thousand and a defense budget

  • of one-and-a-half billion dollars, or about four percent of its GDP. Jordan’s army is

  • reportedly well-trained, professional and modern, and the country enjoys military support

  • from the US, the United Kingdom and France, who likely have an interest in Jordan’s

  • proximity to war-torn regions. Jordan’s military has relied on subsidies from these

  • alliances for decades The US alone has contributed nearly $16 billion dollars in military and

  • economic aid to Jordan since the 1950s. Jordan also benefits from its membership in the Arab

  • League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

  • Jordan’s relative stability and strong military is likely why countries like the US, Israel

  • and Saudi Arabia have teamed up with the country to fight extremist groups in the region. Although

  • the country is not without problems, Jordan’s growing economy and efficient military makes

  • it an attractive ally to neighboring countries in the Middle East and elsewhere.

  • King Abdullah has had a huge role in shaping Jordan into the country it is today. Learn

  • more about how powerful the King is by watching the video at the top. But while King Abdullah

  • is in power, ISIS is proving to be a huge problem for the Middle Eastern nation. Can

  • Jordan defeat the terrorist group? Find out in the video at the bottom. Thanks for watching

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  • day.

In 2015, a video surfaced of the Islamic State burning a Jordanian pilot alive. Since then,

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How Powerful Is Jordan?

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