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Critical Thinking

Activity 1


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Mostly desert plateau in east, highland area in west; Great Rift Valley separates East and West Banks of the Jordan River.


Mostly arid desert; rainy season in west (November to April).


Nationality: Jordanian. Population: 6,482,081 (July 2013 est.) Language: Arabic (official), English (widely understood among upper and middle classes).


Sunni Muslim 92% (official), Christian 6% (majority Greek Orthodox, but some Greek and Roman Catholics, Syrian Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, and Protestant denominations), other 2% (several small Shia Muslim and Druze populations).


Jordan's economy is among the smallest in the Middle East, with insufficient supplies of water, oil, and other natural resources, underlying the government's heavy reliance on foreign assistance. Other economic challenges for the government include chronic high rates of poverty, unemployment, inflation, and a large budget deficit.

Living Conditions

About 70 percent of Jordanians live in urban areas. Because of the difficulty in finding employment in Jordan, particularly for skilled workers, many Jordanians go abroad in search of work. Jordan is among the top ten countries of the world in reducing infant mortality, and life expectancies are fairly high: sixty-seven years for men and seventy-one for women.


Constitutional monarchy.

US Military Presence/Support

Since 1949, the U.S. has had a long history of cooperation and friendship with Jordan. Through economic, military assistance and close political cooperation, the U.S. has helped Jordan maintain its stability and prosperity. Assistance programs contribute to a stable, reform-oriented Jordan. Development assistance has been directed towards health programs, infrastructure, resource management, poverty elimination, workforce development and education.


Long Term Relationship with the U.S. (1:35)


Following WWI and the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, a semi-autonomous region of Transjordan from Palestine was created in the early 1920s. Independence was attained in 1946 and became The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Jordan administered the West Bank from 1949 until the 1967 Six Day War between Israel and several Arab states when Israel took control of the region. Jordan relinquished its claim to the West Bank in 1988 and later signed a peace with Israel in 1994.

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