A key U.S. ally in the region, Jordan has partnered with the Obama administration on initiatives ranging from counterterrorism operations to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process while also providing a staging ground for humanitarian relief since the start of the Syrian crisis. Abdullah has publicly denied published reports that his security services are providing military training for Syrian rebels.
Obama promised more U.S. support for Jordan and praised Abdullah for the country’s recent efforts at political reform, saying he believed Jordan “can be an extraordinary model for effective governance in the region.” Jordan, which was spared the kind of massive unrest that swept many of its neighbors during the Arab Spring uprisings, held historic parliamentary elections this year that drew nearly 60 per cent of the country’s eligible voters. The polls were judged fair by international observers, although political parties aligned with the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood movement boycotted the vote, arguing that election rules unfairly restricted their ability to contest seats.
U.S. officials fear that turbulence from Syria could complicate Abdullah’s efforts to implement economic and political reforms. Jordan was rocked by violent protests in November after the government lifted subsidies on gasoline and other fuels to comply with International Monetary Fund requirements. Economic pressures have fueled popular resentment against the refugees, who are competing with Jordanians for a limited pool of jobs and housing.
Source: The Washington Post