Staff College Camberley (U.K.) 1990-1991. He also has several
attachments to the Special Forces and a year as a tactics
instructor with Jordan Army's Anti-Tank, Cobra Helicopter
The beginning of 1993 saw him
as Deputy Commander of Jordanian Special Forces till he took
full command in November 1993. He commanded these forces till
October 1996, when he was instructed to re-organize this and
other elite units into the Special Operations Command (SOCCOM).
In 1998, as SOCCOM Commander, he was promoted to the rank
of Major General and continued this command until the passing
away of His Majesty King Hussein in February 1999.
In addition to his career as
an army officer, King Abdullah II served Jordan many times
in the official capacity of Regent in the absence of the late
King Hussein, and regularly traveled on official missions.
He was proclaimed Crown Prince on the 24th of January 1999
by a Royal Decree. He had also assumed the position of Crown
Prince at birth by a Royal Decree until April 1st, 1965.
Since his ascension to the throne,
King Abdullah II has continued his late father's commitment
to creating a strong and positive moderating role for Jordan
within the Arab region and the world, and has worked towards
the establishment of a just and lasting comprehensive solution
to the Arab-Israeli conflict. King Abdullah II is committed
to building on the late King's legacy to further institutionalize
democratic and political pluralism in Jordan. He has exerted
extensive effort to ensuring sustainable levels of economic
growth and social development aimed at improving the standard
of living of all Jordanians. He is also working towards modernizing
Jordan's information technology and educational systems.
Under King Abdullah's reign,
Jordan was admitted to the World Trade Organization, and ratified
agreements for the establishment of a Free Trade Area with
the United States of America, the European Union, the European
Free Trade Association countries, and sixteen Arab countries.
King Abdullah II has also been involved in the drive for national
administrative reform, as well as governmental transparency
and accountability. He has been working on the advancement
of civil liberties making Jordan one of the most progressive
countries in the Middle East. Also, he has been involved in
enacting the necessary legislations that guarantee women a
full role in the Kingdom's socio-economic and political life.
King Abdullah II married Queen
Rania on June 10th, 1993. The Royal Couple have two sons,
Prince Hussein, born on June 28th, 1994, and Prince Hashem,
born on January 30th 2005, and two daughters, Princess Iman,
born on September 27th, 1996, and Princess Salma, born on
September 26th, 2000. The King has four brothers and six sisters.
King Abdullah II holds a number
of decorations from various countries. He is a qualified frogman,
pilot and a free-fall parachutist. His other interests include
automobile racing, water sports, scuba diving and collecting
ancient weapons and armaments.
King Hussien Bin Talal
Throughout his reign, King Hussein
led Jordan through strife and turmoil, creating an oasis of
moderation, in a region torn between different ideologies
and political strives. Jordanians remember him as the source
of inspiration, in the climate of openness, tolerance and
compassion, he created and which Jordan demonstrates and stands
for. His late Majesty laid the foundation of a prosperous
legacy that will gear Jordan in years to come.
When His Majesty King Hussein
(passed away on Feb. 7, 1999), he marked the longest period
of reign amongst world leaders. Moslems regarded him with
high reverence and respect, being the forty-second generation
of the descendants of the Hashemite Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).
Born in Amman, on 14 November
1935, the eldest son of Prince Talal Bin Abdullah and Queen
Zein al Sharaf Bint Jamil, King Hussein concluded his elementary
studies in Amman, then enrolled at Queen Victoria College
in Alexandria, Egypt. After that he went to England and enrolled
at Harrow, where he received his military training in the
Royal Academy of Sandhurst for Military Science, in England.
Ascending the throne on 11 August
1952, the young King Hussein was called to the throne. But
he was below age. A regency council was formed to manage the
country until he became of age, according to the Hijri calendar,
in line with the constitution. On 2 May 1953, an official
ceremony was held, to appoint His Majesty, to the throne.
His late Majesty focused on laying
an economic and industrial infrastructure, that would enhance
the lives of his fellow country people and provide them with
the quality life he aspired. Major Jordanian industries developed
and prospered in the sixties, which included phosphate, potash
and cement. A network of roads was also built to cover and
link the whole Kingdom.
King Hussein's achievements during
his rule were most on a human level. In 1950 water, sanitation
and electricity services were available to only 10% of the
population, but leapt to become 99% of the population. Literacy
rates rose in 1996 to reach 85.5% of the population, from
an original 33% in 1960. UNICEF statistics indicated that
Jordan achieved in the period 1981-1991, the fastest growing
mortality rate of children less than one year old, indicating
a level of 70 deaths per 1000 in 1981, that dropped to 27
deaths per 1000 in 1991, a decline of 47%. King Hussein believed
that Jordan's people are its biggest asset, and throughout
his reign he encouraged people, including the less fortunate,
the disabled and the orphaned, to achieve more for themselves
and their country.
King Hussein also struggled throughout
his 47-year reign to promote peace in the Middle East. After
the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, he was instrumental in drafting
UNSC Resolution 242, which calls on Israel to withdraw from
all the Arab lands it occupied in the 1967 war in exchange
for peace. This resolution has served as the benchmark for
all subsequent peace negotiations. In 1991, King Hussein played
a pivotal role in convening the Madrid Peace Conference, and
providing an "umbrella" for Palestinians to negotiate
their future as part of a joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation.
The 1994 Peace Treaty between Jordan and Israel is a major
step toward achieving a just, comprehensive and lasting peace
in the Middle East.
King Hussein also worked to resolve
disputes between Arab states. During the 1990-91 Gulf Crisis,
he exerted vigorous efforts to peacefully effect an Iraqi
withdrawal and restore the sovereignty of Kuwait. The Government
published 'the White book' which explains the real and rational
position of the Jordanian leadership on the Gulf Crisis.
This pursuit of genuine Arab
reconciliation, spurred his mediation in the Yemeni civil
war. Furthermore, in almost every speech or forum His Majesty
called for international humanitarian aid to relieve the people
of Iraq from their daily suffering.
King Hussein's commitment to
democracy, civil liberties and human rights has helped pave
the way in making Jordan a model state for the region. The
kingdom is internationally recognized as having the most exemplary
human rights record in the Middle East, while recent reforms
have allowed Jordan to resume its irreversible drive to democratization.
In 1990, King Hussein appointed a royal commission representing
the entire spectrum of Jordanian political thought to draft
a national charter. Today the National Charter, along with
the Jordanian Constitution, serves as a guideline for democratic
institutionalization and political pluralism in the country.
In 1989, 1993 and 1997, Jordan held parliamentary elections
which were accredited internationally as among the freest
and fairest ever held in the Middle East.
King Hussein married Queen Noor
on June 15, 1978. Towards the end of his life, King Hussein
became the proud grandfather of a growing number of grandchildren.
Over the course of his life,
His Majesty King Hussein was an avid sportsman. He was an
accomplished aviator, motorcyclist and race-car driver who
also enjoyed water sports, skiing and tennis. He was well-known
to amateur radio operators throughout the world as the friendly
voice of "JY1". In his final years, King Hussein
enjoyed surfing the Worldwide Web and developed a strong appreciation
for the power of the Internet as a force for progress and
understanding. King Hussein's directive to provide Internet
access for every Jordanian school highlights yet another aspect
of his enduring legacy.
The life of His Majesty has been
the subject of numerous books. He himself was the author of
three books: Uneasy Lies the Head (1962), about his childhood
and early years as king, My War With Israel (1969), and Mon
Métier de Roi.
King Talal assended the throne
upon the martyrdom of his father, King Abdullah I, on 20 July
1951. His health however forced him to give up the throne
in less than a year of his ascendance, on 11 August 1952.
King Talal's reign marked substantial improvement in relations
with Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
A liberal constitution was also
developed during his short reign. This constitution made the
government collectively, and ministers individually, responsible
to the Parliament. The constitution was passed in Parliament
on 1 January 1952.
King Abdullah I
History will never cease to refer
to King Abdullah Bin al Hussein, as the founder of the Hashemite
Kingdom of Jordan. He holds the unique character in contemporary
Arab history. King Abdullah engaged himself with the upbringing
and guidance role of his grandson, the late King Hussein I.
King Abdullah's personality was
a blend of the traditional and the modern. In his reign he
was a modernizer aiming to lead the path towards prosperity.
He was one of the earliest Arab leaders to adapt a constitutional
monarchy regime. The experience proved later to be a realistic
and sharing-based one.
King Abdullah led Arab forces
during the Great Arab Revolt. He was inspired and derived
his ideas from the struggle ethics of his father, Sharif Hussein,
and likewise, were his brothers Ali, Faisal and Zeid. Towards
the end of the First World War, Damascus, modern Jordan, and
most of the Arab peninsula became liberated from the Ottomans.
Faisal was crowned King of Syria, but after the battle of
Maysaloun, event accelerated, and Prince Abdullah moved to
Jordan, to establish a state, while Faisal was destined to
hold the Iraqi throne.
The Emirate of Trans-Jordan was
established by King Abdullah on 21 April 1921. Thus, the first
central government system was created, in a society dominated
by a tribal and bedioun order. The King concentrated in the
thirty coming years on building the State. He developed the
institutional governance base for his statehood. Driven by
an independent vision, he aimed for self rule and independence,
through democratic legitimacy. The first constitution for
Jordan was in place by 1928, dubbed as the Legislative Council
and elections for the first Parliament took place in 1929.
The King held during these three decades a number of treaties
between Trans-Jordan and England, which culminated in the
end of the British mandate on Trans-Jordan on 22 March 1946,
thus giving Jordan full independence, and identifying the
State on 25 May 1946 as the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
With independence, Jordan assumed
a progressive Arab and International role. It marked a presence
in conferences, the first of which was Anshas Summit in 1946,
days after the State's independence. Jordan assumed a staunch
defending and supporting position over the Palestinian cause
on the Arab and international arenas.
During the Arab Israeli war in
1948, the Jordan Arab Army defended Jerusalem and other parts
of Palestine. It's valour and courage became recognized, as
was its high professional level. The Jordan Arab Army defeated
the Jewish forces in Bab al Wad, Latroun, and East Jerusalem,
despite consequent Israeli attacks, the enemy faced one defeat
after the other. The Arab Israeli war finished in mid July
1948, whereby a number of truce treaties were signed, between
Arab countries and Israel, in the Rhodes Conference, and the
borders between East Jordan and Palestine were drawn.
On 20 July 1951, King Abdulla
I went to Jerusalem for Friday prayers, with his young grandson,
Hussein. But fate was lurking aside. The King was assassinated
at the foot of the stairs of Al-Aqsa Mosque, near the tomb
of his father, Sharif Hussein, who himself, forsaked his life
for all Arabs.
The young grandson, late King
Hussein, was beside his grandfather. A bullet hit a metal
medal on his chest and saved him from physical harm, but the
effect on the young prince then, were deeply engraved inside
him throughout his life. The young prince realized there and
then the importance and inevitability of death, and the grave
duties and responsibilities lying ahead.
In his biography, (Uneasy Lies
the Head), written in English, late King Hussein tells of
how his grandfather had told him three days before his assassination
while in Jerusalem: "Son, you have to realize that one
day, you will have to shoulder the responsibility. I aspire
that you will exert your utmost, to conclude what I have been
doing. I aspire for you to continue to save our people."
The young prince promised earnestly to render all there is,
to fulfill his duty. King Abdullah and his grandson did not
realize how soon this will be put into effect.