Kings of Jordan:

His Majesty King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein
King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

 

His Majesty King Abdullah II Ibn Al Hussein is the 43rd generation direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). He assumed his constitutional powers as Monarch of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan on February 7th, 1999, the day his father, the late King Hussein, passed away.

Born in Amman on January 30th, 1962, King Abdullah II is the eldest son of His Majesty the late King Hussein and Her Royal Highness Princess Muna Al Hussein. He began his primary education at the Islamic Educational College in Amman, and later attended St. Edmund's School in Surrey, England. For his secondary education, he attended Eaglebrook School and Deerfield Academy in the United States of America.

He entered the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (U.K.) in 1980 and was commissioned as second Lieutenant in spring of 81. He then served as a Reconnaissance Troop Leader in the 13/18th Royal Hussars Regiment (British Army) in the U.K. (and West Germany).

From 1985 to 1993 he served mainly in the Armoured Corps (3rd Division) in all related command appointments at platoon, company and as battalion second in command positions, until finally commanding the Second Armoured Battalion, 40th Armoured Brigade with the rank of lieutenant Colonel from January 1992 to January 1993. During this period he attended several military courses in the U.S. and the U.K.

 

including 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 Wing.

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

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.