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Jordan and the Gulf Crisis
By
Stanley Reed

Winter 1990/91
Courtesy Reuters
Jordan has carefully nurtured a reputation as the most consistently pro-Western Arab state. Thus, it came as a shock to many to find most Jordanians taking the side of President Saddam Hussein in the gulf crisis, and Western leaders are disturbed by King Hussein's reluctance to join forces against the Iraqi ruler. Given Amman's growing dependence upon Baghdad, however, neither surprise nor irritation is warranted; the gulf crisis has simply thrown into stark relief the extent to which the futures of these two countries have become intertwined, as well as the precariousness of the king's position in his desert land.
Public support for the Iraqi leader is extensive across Jordan and encompasses a wide spectrum of society. Pro-Saddam demonstrations, of which there are often several a day, are even advertised in the once-tame local newspapers. The sponsors of these gatherings run the gamut from the leftist Jordan People's Democratic Party to the extremist Islamic Jihad, but the rallies themselves do not vary much. Speakers vilify the deposed Kuwaiti ruling family, the al-Sabahs, for squandering Arab wealth on gambling and prostitutes; Kuwait's supporters, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, are jeered as traitors; American flags are burned; the crowd chants, "Oh Saddam, we
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Stanley Reed is Business Week's Middle East specialist. He recently returned from a month in Jordan and Iraq.
MORE BY STANLEY REED
More:Iraq Jordan Kuwait War & Military Strategy Civil Society
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