A U.S. ally for more than half a century, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is one of the pillars of American Middle East policy. But this longtime bulwark of stability in an otherwise dangerous and volatile region is now being buffeted by powerful—and unwelcome—winds of change. Two of its bordering neighbors, Syria and Iraq, are engulfed in civil wars featuring both active Iranian involvement and well-resourced Sunni extremists like the Islamic State. Moreover, the role of Hamas in West Bank politics remains an unsettled question. Domestically, Jordan has been suffering a severe refugee crisis for more than a decade, to which the Syrian conflict alone has recently added another million-plus civilian exiles. Can Jordan continue to manage the various emergencies on its doorstep? What can the American government do to help one of its key Middle East partners?
On August 26th, Senior Fellow Lee Smith hosted an expert panel featuring Faysal Itani, Salameh Nematt, and David Schenker for a discussion about the present state and future prospects of Jordan and its central role in American Middle East policy.
Faysal Itani is a resident fellow at the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East at the Atlantic Council.
Salameh Nematt is a Jordanian political analyst and longtime journalist who has worked as Washington Bureau Chief for Al-Hayat pan-Arab newspaper and international editor for The Daily Beast.
David Schenker is the Aufzien fellow and director of the Program on Arab Politics at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.