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The new Jordan - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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If you followed news websites in Jordan closely, and monitored some social networking websites, you would definitely think that a civil war or a military coup was about to erupt in the country. In fact, this is just the direct consequence of deliberate exaggerations and attempts to make the state of affairs seem tenser than it actually is.

Jordan is a unique country, young in age but deeply rooted in history. It is an oasis of stability in the midst of an ocean of violent variables. Jordan is striving to grow, develop and improve its conditions; it is a state with limited potential and modest resources but endless ambitions. Yet Jordan’s neighbors are seeking to exploit it, and their greed is endless, changeable and renewable with the passing of time. Iraq has sought to exploit it, as has Syria, and of course there is also the ever-present enemy Israel, with its intention to seize control of Jordan and then expanding further beyond.

Given Israel’s constant provocations about Jordan becoming an alternative homeland for the Palestinians, the regional wars waged by Iraq under Saddam Hussein against Iran and Kuwait and their consequences, and likewise the covert Syrian war fought in Lebanon against the Lebanese and the Palestinians, it was expected that all this would have a massive impact on Jordan and its people. Yet, Jordan has continued to be an oasis of stability in a flammable part of the world. It has showed a keen interest in education at various levels, and now a graduate of a Jordanian university is a source of confidence and proficiency, with a solid “grounding” to effectively enter the labor market. It is not strange that now we see hundreds of students from across the world studying at the schools, institutes and universities of Jordan, in various fields and specialties.

Education is only one area in which Jordan has achieved distinction. The country has also gradually transformed into a prominent center for healthcare, medical research and advancement. Jordan has excelled in sensitive and complicated medical areas such as heart and kidney diseases, tumors and fertility, and is now a real hub for specialists, with international cooperation from world-class medical centers.

Most recently, Jordan has become a new center for the information, technology and software industry; the so-called “Arab Silicon Valley”. There are numerous success stories in this area, and Jordan now serves as the creative and electronic workshop for Arab and international companies seeking Arabic-language support for their products.

These results and achievements now reflect on the character of the new Jordanian citizen, who is self-confident, patriotic and proud (this has even been reflected in promising results achieved by the Jordanian national football team). The country can no longer be classified as a mere neighbor of Iraq, Israel and Syria.

Despite all this, there are still fluctuations in the Jordanian government’s stability. The state has a high rate of prime minister turnovers and a large number sit-ins and protests (with no deaths or injuries reported), and there is still a deep sense of anger among its citizens. There are radical extremists who have invaded Jordan and are now inciting the masses, and there are others who are promoting discontent under the pretext of fighting corruption, or for other reasons. Yet, generally speaking, the Jordanian state of affairs is better than the situation in other states. The true extent of the demands there is utterly reasonable, but exaggerations always cause tension.

I’m writing these lines from Jordan. I see it as a stable and a promising state that, like any other state, has problems. However, the people must reasonable and positive before making their demands. Jordan is a state with a historic past and a volatile present, yet it is gambling on its future. The sincere and honest are planning a new Jordan, and this is what everyone is waiting for.

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. Mr. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al-Takreer on Al-Arabiya, and in 1995 he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his BA in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa.

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