Illustration: King Abdullah II of Jordan by Marcello Casal Jr./ABr [CC BY 3.0 br] via Wikimedia
Jordan is facing an economic crisis that began forming over 20 years ago, since Abdullah II was crowned king of Jordan.
The most important factors that led to this crisis are mismanagement, rampant corruption, and lack of control and accountability. Jordan's foreign debt is currently close to $50 billion and the unemployment rate is over 20% — a record in the country.
Jordan faced a crisis similar in the days of late King Hussein bin Talal. This crisis ended with the signing of the Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty, which led then U.S. President Bill Clinton to erase part of Jordan's foreign debt to America and increase U.S. assistance to Jordan, forming a strategic Jordanian alliance with America.
Now Jordan again needs to address its problems, which have come to the fore as many Jordanian voices have begun to raise demands for change and holding the corrupt accountable.
There are several steps that Jordan must implement if it is to recover from its crisis, return to a debt free situation, and not repeat the same crisis again a few decades from now.
First, Jordan needs to follow the example of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who cracked down on corrupt officials in Saudi Arabia by holding them at the Ritz Carlton Hotel. This can only be done in coordination with the Jordanian General Intelligence Department. Jordan also needs to re-establish the Anti-Corruption Commission for effective monitoring in coordination with the Intelligence Department.
Secondly, Jordan must appoint the right person with the right qualifications to the position of prime minister, in order to eventually establish a constitutional monarchy in Jordan. This will implement a full democracy in Jordan, in which the Jordanian citizens elect their prime minister. At the same time, Jordan must ban the Muslim Brotherhood in order to ensure that Jordan will remain peaceful.
Thirdly, the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation must be restructured, because a large part of Jordan's economic crisis has been due to poor planning in the country. Likewise, appropriate appointments must be made in putting the right person in the right job to manage administrative matters in all ministries and agencies.
Fourthly, let us recall an important point mentioned above — when Jordan signed its peace treaty with Israel in 1994, Clinton deleted part of Jordan's foreign debt to the U.S. What Jordan needs now is to intervene to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — the main conflict in the Middle East — in coordination with the Palestinian Authority.
Jordan should become a homeland for all the Arabs, both Jordanians and Palestinians, in this way ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by creating a home for the Palestinians. Jordan is Palestine and Palestine is Jordan — this is what the late King Hussein bin Talal said.
In return, there must be a guarantee of American and Israeli mediation that should result in the complete elimination of Jordan's foreign debt. This is part of the price the international community will pay Jordan for solving one of the oldest conflicts in the world. The international community also must increase international aid and financial support from the Arab Gulf states for Jordan, in order to make sure Jordan will not collapse. In order to ensure the security of the Middle East in the future, we also must ensure the survival of the Hashemites on the throne of Jordan, who have played a role in establishing regional and international peace.
All of these steps must be taken in order to get Jordan out of its stifling and deadly crisis on the one hand, and guarantee that it will not return to a new suffocating economic crisis in the future on the other. This will also solve one of the oldest and most complicated conflicts in the world, and will mark Jordan as one of the countries that has contributed the most to world peace. Considering this, the king of Jordan could also be given a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts.
Rami Dabbas is a Jordanian freelance writer and analyst based in Amman, who stands for peace in the Middle East and is a pro-Israel advocate. Click here to read more of this author’s work in The Jerusalem Herald.