Jordan


Jordan (Arabic: , transliterated Al-?Urdunn), officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (Arabic: ), is an Arab country in the Middle East. It is bordered by Syria to the north, Iraq to the north-east, Saudi Arabia to the east and south, and Israel and the Palestinian Territories / Israeli-occupied territories to the west. It shares with Israel and the Palestinian Territories the coastlines of the Dead Sea, and the Gulf of Aqaba with Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.

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History


The land that became Jordan forms part of the history-rich Fertile Crescent region. Its known history began around 2000 B.C., when Semitic Amorites settled around the Jordan River in the area called Canaan. Subsequent invaders and settlers included Hittites, Egyptians, Israelites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arab Muslims, Christian Crusaders, Mameluks, Ottoman Turks, and, finally, the British. At the end of World War I, the territory now comprising Israel, Jordan, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and Jerusalem was awarded to the United Kingdom by the League of Nations as the mandate for Palestine. In 1922, in an attempt to assuage Arab anger resulting from the Balfour Declaration, with the approval of the League of Nations, the British created the semi-autonomous Arab Emirate of Transjordan in all Palestinian territory east of the Jordan river. The British installed the Hashemite Prince Abdullah I of Jordan, while continuing the administration of Palestine and Transjordan under a single British High Commissioner. The mandate over Transjordan ended on 22 May 1946; on 25 May, the country became the independent Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan. It ended its special defense treaty relationship with the United Kingdom in 1957. Back to top




Political


Jordan is a constitutional monarchy based on the constitution promulgated on January 8, 1952. Executive authority is vested in the king and his council of ministers. The king signs and executes all laws. His veto power may be overridden by a two-thirds vote of both houses of the National Assembly. He appoints and may dismiss all judges by decree, approves amendments to the constitution, declares war, and commands the armed forces. Cabinet decisions, court judgments, and the national currency are issued in his name. The council of ministers, led by a prime minister, is appointed by the king, who may dismiss other cabinet members at the prime minister's request. The cabinet is responsible to the Chamber of Deputies on matters of general policy and can be forced to resign by a two-thirds vote of "no confidence" by that body. The constitution provides for three categories of courts civil, religious, and special. Administratively, Jordan is divided into twelve governorates, each headed by a governor appointed by the king. They are the sole authorities for all government departments and development projects in their respective areas. The Royal Armed Forces and General Intelligence Department of Jordan are under the control of the king. Back to top





Administratively, Jordan is divided into 12 governorates, each headed by a governor appointed by the king. They are the sole authorities for all government departments and development projects in their respective areas. The governorates are subdivided into approximately 52 nahias. The governorates include: Back to top




economy

Jordan is a small country with limited natural resources. The country is currently exploring ways to expand its limited water supply and use its existing water resources more efficiently, including through regional cooperation. Jordan also depends on external sources for the majority of its energy requirements. During the 1990s, its crude petroleum needs were met through imports from Iraq and neighboring countries. Since early 2003, oil has been provided by some Gulf Cooperation Council member countries. In addition, a natural gas pipeline from Egypt to the southern port city of Aqaba was completed in 2003. The government plans to extend this pipeline north to the Amman area and beyond. Since 2000, exports of light manufactured products, principally textiles and garments manufactured in the Qualifying Industrial Zones (QIZ) that enter the United States tariff and quota free, have been driving economic growth. Jordan exported 5.6 million ($6.9 million) in goods to the U.S. in 1997, when two-way trade was 321 million ($395 million); it exported 538 million ($661 million) in 2002 with two-way trade at 855 million ($1.05 billion). Similar growth in exports to the United States under the bilateral US-Jordan Free Trade Agreement that went into effect in December 2001, to the European Union under the bilateral Association Agreement, and to countries in the region, holds considerable promise for diversifying Jordan's economy away from its traditional reliance on exports of phosphates and potash, overseas remittances, and foreign aid. The government has emphasized the information technology (IT) and tourism sectors as other promising growth sectors. The low tax and low regulation Aqaba Special Economic Zone (ASEZ) is considered a model of a government-provided framework for private sector-led economic growth. The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States that went into effect in December 2001 will phase out duties on nearly all goods and services by 2010. The agreement also provides for more open markets in communications, construction, finance, health, transportation, and services, as well as strict application of international standards for the protection of intellectual property. In 1996, Jordan and the United States signed a civil aviation agreement that provides for "open skies" between the two countries, and a U.S.-Jordan treaty for the protection and encouragement of bilateral investment entered into force in 2003. Jordan has been a member of the World Trade Organization since 2000. More information on the FTA is available on [1]. Textile and apparel exports from Jordan to the United States shot up 2,000 percent from 2000 to 2005, following introduction of the FTA. According to the National Labor Committee, a U.S.-based NGO, Jordan has experienced sharp increases in sweatshop conditions in its export-oriented manufacturing sector.[2] Jordan is classified by the World Bank as a "lower middle income country." The per capita GDP was approximately $1,817 (1,479) for 2003 and 14.5% of the economically active population, on average, was unemployed in 2003. The GDP per Capita in 2005 is at $USD 4,200. Education and literacy rates and measures of social well-being are relatively high compared to other countries with similar incomes. Jordan's population growth rate is high, but has declined in recent years, to approximately 2.8% currently. One of the most important factors in the governments efforts to improve the well-being of its citizens is the macroeconomic stability that has been achieved since the 1990s. Rates of price inflation are low, at 2.3% in 2003, and the currency has been stable with an exchange rate fixed to the U.S. dollar since 1995. While pursuing economic reform and increased trade, Jordan's economy will continue to be vulnerable to external shocks and regional unrest. Without calm in the region, economic growth seems destined to stay below potential. On the positive side, however, there is huge potential in the solar energy falling on Jordan's deserts, not only for the generation of pollution-free electricity but also for such spin-offs as desalination of sea water (see Trans-Mediterranean Renewable Energy Cooperation (TREC)).

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foreign relation

Jordan has consistently followed a pro-Western foreign policy and traditionally has had close relations with the United States and the United Kingdom. These relations were damaged by Jordan's neutrality and maintaining relations with Iraq during the first Gulf War. Although the Government of Jordan stated its opposition to the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait, popular support for Iraq was driven by Jordan's Palestinian community, which favored Saddam as a champion against Western supporters of Israel. Following the Gulf war, Jordan largely restored its relations with Western countries through its participation in the Middle East peace process and enforcement of UN sanctions against Iraq. Relations between Jordan and the Gulf countries improved substantially after King Hussein's death. Following the fall of the Iraqi regime, Jordan has played a pivotal role in supporting the restoration of stability and security to Iraq. The Government of Jordan signed a memorandum of understanding with the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq to facilitate the training of up to 30,000 Iraqi police cadets at a Jordanian facility. Jordan signed a nonbelligerency agreement with Israel (the Washington Declaration) in Washington, DC, on 25 July 1994. King Hussein and Yitzhak Rabin negotiated this treaty. Jordan and Israel signed a historic peace treaty on 26 October 1994, witnessed by President Bill Clinton, accompanied by US Secretary, Warren Christopher. The U.S. has participated with Jordan and Israel in trilateral development discussions in which key issues have been water-sharing and security; cooperation on Jordan Rift Valley development; infrastructure projects; and trade, finance, and banking issues. Jordan also participates in the multilateral peace talks. Jordan belongs to the UN and several of its specialized and related agencies, including the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Meteorological Organization (IMO), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and World Health Organization (WHO). Jordan also is a member of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), Nonaligned Movement (NAM), and Arab League. Since the outbreak of the Al-Aqsa Intifada in September 2000, Jordan has worked hard, in a variety of forums, to maintain lines of communication between the Israelis and the Palestinians to counsel moderation and to return the parties to negotiations of outstanding permanent status issues. Following the Al-Aqsa Intifada, though, Jordan along with Egypt withdrew its ambassadors from Israel. Following the Sharm-al-Sheik Summit in Egypt on 8 February 2005, both countries announced plans to return ambassadors to the country.

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Geography


Jordan is a Middle Eastern country, bordered by Syria to the north, Iraq to the northeast, Saudi Arabia to the east and south and Israel and West Bank to the west. All these border lines add up to 1,619 kilometres (1,006 mi). The Gulf of Aqaba and the Dead Sea also touch the country, and thus Jordan has a coastline of 26 kilometres (16 mi). Jordan consists mostly of arid desert plateau in the east, with Highland area in the west. The Great Rift Valley of the Jordan River separates Jordan and Israel. The highest point in the country is Jabal Ram (1,734 m; 5,689 ft), while the lowest is the Dead Sea (-486 m; -1,594 ft). Jordan is part of a region considered to be "the cradle of civilization". Major cities include the capital Amman in the northwest, Irbid and Az Zarqa, both in the north. The climate in Jordan is dry and hot, since the country is mainly desert. However, the western part of the country receives greater precipitation during the rainy season from November to April.

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Irbed

Irbid (Arabic: ) is one of the governorates of Jordan. It is located north of Amman, Jordan's capital. Its capital is Irbid. Irbid, the bride of the north, is considered as one of the most beautiful Jordanian cities. Its population amounts to 650,000 and situated on a plain land, 65 k.m. to the north of the capital, Amman. It is situated in the north west of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, surrounded by fertile agricultural lands from north, east and south, Irbid was named The Daisy after the daisy flower, which grows in its plains. Irbid witnessed human settlements 5000 B.C., such as settlements of the Adomites ,Ghassenids and Southern Arab civilizations. It was distinguished by the Greek, Roman and Islamic civilizations leaving behind them historical and archaeological sites. Roman and Greek cities such as, Arabella (Irbid), Capitolias (Beit Ras), Dion (Al-Husin), Gadara (Umm Qais), Pella (Tabeqt Fahel) and Abello (Qwailbeh) were established. They were members of the Decapolis: a pact that consists of the ten Roman cities in the area. Ghassenids had established their country in the north of Jordan covering Irbid, Golan and and Horan plains. It was described as the most beautiful Syrian countries. Also it had the Islamic soldiers supplies. Christianity spread out there in the second and the third century A.D. Irbid witnessed the Adomites and Ammonits civilizations. Its significance was reflected in the Helesnic age. With the missionary work of Islam, the Islamic opening armies achieved an advance. As a result, Sharhabeel Bin Hasnaa made a glorious Islamic victory in 13 A.H (634 A.D.). He opened Irbid, Beit-Ras and Umm Qais. The Islamic leader Abu Obideh Amer Bin Al-Jarrah was able to open Pella. In 15 A.H. (636 A.D.) and in the prime of these victories, Khalid Bin Al-Walid managed to crush out the Roman armies in the everlasting Yarmouk Battle. Consequently, he managed to put an end to the Roman existence. In 583 A.H (1187 A.D.) Saladins armies advanced to Hittin in which the most ferocious battle in the history of the Crusading war took place, This battle was followed by liberating Jerusalem and returning it back to the Islam sovereignty. During this time, Irbid played an essential role as a strategic area during the Mamluke age especially in the field of serving the pilgrims caravans coming from Turkey, the north of Iraq and the south of Rassia. It was an important center for the communication net, which the Mamluke and a passageway to Egypt, Hijas and Palestine coast founded, especially during the time in which Irbid was linked with Damascus. This link has a positive effect on the cultural and scientific movement of Irbid, which was, as referred by the historical writings, connected with Damascus and Jerusalem. In addition to the spread of a number of scientists and Islamic Jurisprudence. The Islamic opening left many graves of the companions of the prophet Mohammed, many mosques and Islamic buildings such as Dar Assaraya (the former prison) which has been converted into antiquity museum, Hibras Mamluke Mosque, Irbid Mamluke Mosque and Saham Umayyed Mosque. Irbid governorate plays a significant role as it is part of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, which was founded by late King Abedullah Bin Al-Hussein whose banner was carried by late King Talal Bin Abedullah and late King Hussein Bin Talal. King Abedulla Bin Al-Hussein, the second, has kept on constructing the modern Jordan, Jordan of freedom and democracy, Jordan of Arab pride and Jordan of the Arab greater revolution. Irbid governorate is characterized by its strategic site, its historical and archaeological significance and the economic role that it plays. Irbid is at the top of the Jordanian agricultural regions especially in the production of citrus, olives, wheat and bee-honey.

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Amman

Officially known as Muhafazat al-Asima (Arabic , English translation: The Capital Governorate), Amman Governorate is one of the governorates - locally known as muhafazat - in Jordan. This governorate's capital is the City of Amman, which is Jordan's capital as well.

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Zaraka

Zarqa (Arabic az-Zarqā, local dialects ez-Zergā or ez-Zer'a, "The Blue One") is one of the governorates of Jordan, located east of Amman, the capital of Jordan. Its capital is Zarqa, which is the largest city in the governorate. The second lagest city in the governorate is Russaifa.

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Mafraq

Mafraq (Arabic Al-Mafraq, local dialects Mafrag or Mafra' ) is one of the governorates of Jordan, located in the north-east of Amman, capital of Jordan. It has a population of 253,219 (2000) with a percentage of 4.5% of Jordan's population. Its capital is Mafraq.

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Ajlon

Ajlun (alternative spelling Ajloun) (Arabic: ) is one of the governorates of Jordan, located north of Amman the capital of Jordan. Its capital is Ajlun.

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Jerash

Jerash (Arabic: ) is one of the governorates of Jordan, it is located North of Amman, Jordan's capital. Its capital is Jerash. In the 1. after-Christian century only insignificant city experienced a fast ascent under Roman rule and under the Roman peace. It became part of the Dekapolis and made increasing as commercial town for the older Petra competition. Their inhabitants won ore in the close Ajlun mountains. Starting from the center of the first century this upswing led to active building activity and a rich, also today still impressing abundance of architectural monuments. In 2. The Roman expansion wars led century in Asia to a further meaning gain, well removed roads developed after Pella, Philadelphia, Dion and to the province capital Bos(t)ra. Emperor Hadrian the city in the winter 129/130 an attendance off. In the following centuries the political situation in this region changed fundamentally and the city lost in meaning. Into this time also the ascent of the Christianity and the building of many churches fall. Gerasa had its own bishop - still today it is a Titularbistum - bishop Placcus (or Plancus) participated 451 in the council of Chalcedon. Nikomachos of Gerasa originates from Gerasa.

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Taffileh

Tafilah (Arabic: ) is one of the governorates of Jordan, located south-west of Amman, Jordan's capital. Its capital is Tafilah.

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Madaba

Madaba, (Arabic ) is one of the governorates of Jordan, it is located west of Amman, capital of Jordan. Its capital is Madaba. [edit] Interesting sites The city of Madaba is best known for its Byzantine and Umayyad mosaics, especially the Madaba Map, a large Byzantine-era mosaic map of Palestine and the Nile delta. Mount Nebo, according to the Bible, is the site where Moses viewed the Promised Land. Mount Nebo, just west of Madaba town, formed part of the Madaba Diocese during Byzantine times. Here the mosaics discovered at the Moses Memorial together with those in the churches in the village of Nebo, in the 'Uyun Musa valley and at 'Ayn al-Kanisah carry inscriptions which date them to the times of the Bishops of Madaba from the late Fifth century to the middle of the eighth century AD. Umm al-Rasas - Kastron Mefaa, on the southeastern steppes, also formed part of the diocese, laying as it is close to the Wadi Mujib-Arnon, a natural boundary of the Province. Here were brought to light the splendid mosaics of the Saint Stephen Complex together with the Church of the Lions (sixth-eighth centuries AD), which complement the eighth-century mosaic discovered in the village of Ma'in. Ma'in is a village in Madaba that is the site of a beautiful natural thermal waterfall. Its theraputic effects are utilized by those with aching joints and skin irritations. a new tourist industry is growing around the site with the building of a new hotel and spa. Mukawer, 15 km south of Madaba city, is where the Body of Saint John the Baptist supposedly lies after he was beheaded at the request of King Herod Antipas' niece. The site is located on top of a big mountain rising from the shores of the Dead Sea and overlooking most of the Dead Sea and ancient Palestine. Many archeological excavations with pre-Biblical and Biblical emphases take part during the summer months in Madaba Governorate; new discoveries are being made each year.

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Maan

Ma'an (Arabic: ) is one of the governorates of Jordan, it is located south of Amman, Jordan's capital. Its capital is the city of Ma'an. This governorate is the largest in the kingdom.

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Karak

Karak (also Kerak) (Arabic: ) is one of the governorates of Jordan, located south-west of Amman, Jordan's capital. Its capital is Al Karak.

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Aqaba

Aqaba (Arabic: al-ʻAqabah) is one of the governorates of Jordan, located south of Amman, capital of Jordan. Its capital is Aqaba. Aqaba, the port at the Red Sea, plays an important role in the economic life of Jordan and has many attractions to offer the vacationer. The Jordanian-Saudi border originally ran a few kilometers south of Aqaba. In 1965 the late King Hussein exchanged 12km of the valuable coastal strip for 6.000km desert. The port is Jordan's most important import/export hub. The industrial port lies well away from the beaches and the hotels, so that tourist activities are not affected.

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Balqa

'Balqa (Arabic Al Balqā) is one of the governorates of Jordan. It is located northwest of Amman, Jordan's capital. Salt is the capital of Balqa' Governorate (Arabic Muhāfazat Al-Balqaā). It has 330,570 inhabitants (2000), 6.5% percent of Jordan's total population. It is located on a mountain close to the Jordan River valley. The ancient Romans called this city Saltous.

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