The Amirate of Transjordan is established under British patronage on the East Bank by the Hashimite prince Abdullah ibn Hussein Al Hashimi. The amirate's treasury operates on British financial aid established on the basis of an annual subsidy. A native civil service is gradually trained with British assistance, but government is simple, and Abdullah rules directly with a small executive council, much in the manner of a tribal shaykh. British officials handle the problems of defense, finance, and foreign policy, leaving internal political affairs to Abdullah. The population at this point is less than 400,000 people. [5]


Britain recognizes Transjordan as a national state preparing for independence. [5]


A new treaty relaxes British controls while still providing for Britain to oversee financial matters and foreign policy. [5]


With British help, Jordan launches a campaign to stamp out tribal raiding among the beduins. [5]


A new agreement with Britain allows Abdullah to set up consular representation in Arab countries. [5]


Units of Jordan's Arab Legion serve with distinction alongside British forces in 1941 overthrowing the pro-Nazi Rashid Ali regime that had seized power in Iraq and defeating the Vichy French in Syria. Later, elements of the Arab Legion are used in guarding British installations in Egypt. [5]


Abdullah takes part in the inter-Arab preliminary discussions that result in the formation of the League of Arab States (Arab League) in Cairo in March. The original members of the League of Arab States are Transjordan, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Yemen. [5]


Transjordan and Britain conclude the Treaty of London. Transjordan is proclaimed a kingdom, and a new constitution replaces the obsolete 1928 Organic Law. [5]


March - A further treaty with Britain removes all restrictions on sovereignty, although limited British base and transit rights in Transjordan continue, as does the British subsidy that pays for the Arab Legion. [5]

May - State of Israel created in British-mandate Palestine. Egypt, Transjordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq join the Arab guerillas in fighting against the Jews. About 500,000 Palestinians flee Arab-Israeli fighting to the West Bank and Jordan. Before this the population of Transjordan was about 340,000 and that of the West Bank about 500,000. [1] [5]


The end of the war with Israel leaves Transjordan in control of the West Bank and the Old City of Jerusalem. Abdullah changes the name of the country to Jordan. [5]


Jordan annexes the West Bank to make it part of Jordan, this is recognized only by Britain and Pakistan. Within the Arab League, the annexation is not generally approved, and traditionalists and modernists alike condemn the move as a furtherance of Hashimite dynastic ambitions. [1] [5]

United States military assistance to Jordan begins on a small scale. [5]


March - Jordan enters into an economic developmental aid agreement with the United States, under President Harry S Truman's Point Four program. [5]

20 July - King Abdullah assassinated in Jerusalem by a Palestinian assassin reportedly hired by relatives of Hajj Amin al Husayni, a former mufti of Jerusalem and a bitter enemy of Abdullah, who had spent World War II in Germany as a proNazi Arab spokesman. Many radical Palestinians blamed Abdullah for the reverses of 1948. Abdullah's son Talal succeeded his as king. [1] [5]


11 August - Hussein is proclaimed king after his father, Talal, who suffered from periods of mental illness, was persuaded because of this to abdicate in favour of Hussein. As Hussein was not yet 18 years old a regency council act on his behalf. [1] [5]


Hussein reaches eighteen years old and returns from Britain, where he was attending the British Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, to be crowned as king. [5]


Three days of demonstrations and rioting ensue after the new government of Hazza al Majali announces its intention that Jordan will join the Baghdad Pact. The Baghdad Pact was a Western creation and Arab nationalists want no part of it. The government resigns and Jordan does not join the Pact. [5]


Hussein, responding to the public reaction against joining the British-sponsored Baghdad Pact, attempts to show his independence from Britain by dismissing John Bagot Glubb as commander of the Arab Legion. Glubb's dismissal precipitates a diplomatic crisis that threatens to isolate Hussein from Britain. Relations are strained for many years although the British subsidy is not withdrawn. The Legion is renamed the Jordan Arab Army and British are phased out of the service. [5]

October - An Israeli task force, supported by aircraft and artillery, attacks the West Bank village of Qalqilyah, killing forty-eight persons in reprisal for a guerrilla attack in Israel. Palestinians clamour for war, and nationalist parties make gains in the parlimentary elections. [5]

After the British and French try, with the collusion of Israel, to seize control of the Suez Canal in Egypt, Hussein proposes that Jordan attack Israel at once but Nasser discourages him from wasting Jordan's forces in a war that by then was already lost. British participation in the attack on Egypt makes it politically imperative that Jordan end its special relationship with Britain. [5]


Under the Arab Solidarity Agreement that results from the Arab summit meeting in Cairo in January, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Syria undertake to pay Jordan the equivalent of US$35.8 million annually for ten years, with Saudi Arabia paying an amount equivalent to that paid by Egypt and Syria together. The money would effectively free Jordan from the British subsidy. Saudi Arabia, however, made only one quarterly payment; Egypt and Syria made no payments. The Anglo-Jordanian Agreement of March 1957 abrogates the basic Anglo-Jordanian Treaty of 1948, terminates the British subsidy, and initiates the turnover of British installations and the withdrawal of all British troops still in Jordan. [5]

January - The US sets up a covert working group in Beirut to plan to overthrow Nasser of Egypt. The group consists of representatives of the British, Iraqi, Jordanian and Lebanese intelligence services. [6]

April - Jordan's internal political scene was shaping up as a power struggle between the monarchy and the Nasserist Nabulsi government. Hussein and the conservatives suspect that Nabulsi is maneuvering to abolish the monarchy. Nabulsi begins negotiations to open diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union and obtain Soviet arms aid. As political tension increase, Hussein, exercising his constitutional prerogative, demands the resignation of the Nabulsi government. After some unrest Ibrahim Hashim, a Hussein loyalist, succeeds in forming a government and outlaws all political party activity. [5]

The U.S. rushes its 6th fleet to the eastern Mediterranean and lands a battalion of Marines in Lebanon to "prepare for possible future intervention in Jordan." Hussein declines such assistance. Later in the year, the CIA begins making secret payments of millions of dollars a year to Jordan's King Hussein. This continues for 20 years. The CIA also provides Hussein with female companions. In return Hussein supplies intelligence to the CIA. [4] [5] [6]

The United States becomes Jordan's principal source of military equipment following the termination of the British subsidy. [5]

Hussein has won a remarkable political victory. What matters most is the loyalty of the combat units of the army, and that loyalty clearly belongs to the king. But Jordan is beleaguered--Nasserites are arrayed against the king, the British subsidy is gone, the Arab Solidarity Agreement has evaporated, and the rift is wider than ever between the East Bank and the West Bank. To counteract these disabilities, Hussein unequivocally places his country in the Western camp and seeks a new source of aid--the United States. [5]

September - In response to the Syrian government's more nationalist and pro-Soviet policies, the U.S. rushes arms to allies Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. This was despite the fact that 3 months earlier the US Department of Defence had concluded that "The USSR has shown no intention of direct intervention in any of the previous Mid-Eastern crises and we believe it is unlikely that they would intervene, directly, to assure the success of a leftist coup in Syria." [4] [6]


February - In response to Syria and Egypt uniting to form the United Arab Republic, Iraq and Jordan form an alliance called the Arab Union, with the US acting as midwife to the process. [5] [6]

July - 14th - A coup in Iraq overthrows the regime there and under its new leadership Iraq withdraws from the Arab Union and the Baghdad Pact. [5] [6]

Britain conducts military intervention in Jordan, flying troops into Amman, ostensibly to protect regime from alleged Egyptian-backed coup. Declassified documents suggest, however, that British planners fabricated the coup scenario to justify intervention. [2] [3] [5]


August - the pro-Western prime minister Hazza al Majali is killed by a bomb planted in his desk. But order is maintained and a new prime minister, Bahjat al Talhuni is appointed. The attack is traced to Syria and Egypt and four people are convicted and hanged. [5]


June - Talhuni is replaced by Wasfi al Tal to improve relations with Egypt. [5]


January - Alarmed by Israeli plans to take water from Lake Tiberias to irrigate the Negev Desert, Arab heads of state meet in Egypt to address the issue. Three courses of action are approved: the diversion of the tributary sources of the Jordan River north of Lake Tiberias in Lebanon and Syria; the establishment of the United Arab Command under an Egyptian commander; and the recognition of the new Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), headed by a former Jerusalem lawyer, Ahmad Shuqayri (also cited as Shukairi), as the representative of Palestinian resistance against Israel. [5]


Trouble develops between Hussein's government and the PLO because the PLO attempts to assume quasi-governmental functions, such as taxing Palestinians and distributing arms to villagers in the West Bank and among the refugees, acts that infringed on Jordanian sovereignty. Jordanian policy since 1949 had been to avoid border incidents and terrorism that would generate Israeli reprisals. Al Fatah and the PLO, however, carry out raids and sabotage against Israel without clearance from either the United Arab Command or Jordan. These attacks, although planned in Syria, most often are launched into Israel by infiltration through Lebanon or Jordan. Israeli reprisals against selected West Bank targets become harsher and more frequent from May 1965 onward. [5]

Jordan buys a large amount of military ground force equipment from the US. [5]

May - Jordan and nine other Arab states break relations with the Federal Republic of Germany because of its recognition of Israel. [5]

August - Jordan and Saudi Arabia sign an agreement defining for the first time the boundary between the two countries. Under this agreement, Jordan gives up some territory in the southeast but is able to gain an extension of about eighteen kilometers down the gulf from the crowded port of Al Aqabah. [5]


July - when Hussein severs official endorsement and support for the PLO, both that organization and the Syrian government turn against him. In reprisal for the terrorist attacks by the fedayeen (Palestinian guerrillas), in November Israel assaults the West Bank village of As Samu. Israel is censured by the UN, but public rioting against the Jordanian government breaks out among the inhabitants of the West Bank. The levels of rioting exceeded any previous experience. As in the past, Hussein uses the army to restore public order. Political pressure against Hussein mounts, however, along with armed clashes on the Syria-Jordan border. [5]


April - 7th - A land and air battle takes place between Syria and Israel. Syria and Jordan criticise Egypt for not sending support. [5]

May - Egypt commences an extensive military build-up in Sinai in response to Syrian allegations that Syria is in imminent danger of invasion by Israel. Nasser declares a state of emergency on May 16 and two days later demands removal of the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) from Sinai, where it has served as a peacekeeping force since 1957. The UN secretary general acceded to Nasser's demand. [5]

23rd-24th - Nasser announces the closure to Israeli shipping of the Strait of Tiran at the entrance to the Gulf of Aqaba, a measure that Israel immediately declares to be an act of war. Hussein quickly decides that this time it would be impossible for Jordan to stay out of the impending conflict. He hurriedly proceeds to Cairo and on May 30 signs a military alliance with Egypt. Hussein's move represents a response to political pressures at home and the fulfillment of basic pan-Arab commitments. The alliance puts the Jordanian army under the field command of an Egyptian general officer. [5]

June - 5th - Israel launches an attack against Egyptian forces deployed in Sinai. The Israeli prime minister, Levi Eshkol, attempts in vain to contact Hussein through UN channels to keep him out of the war. The Egyptian field marshal in overall command of Arab forces orders Jordanian artillery to open fire on Israeli positions, and Jordan's small air force conducts a bombing raid in the Tel Aviv area. Within hours, however, Israeli warplanes effectively eliminate the Arab air forces on the ground. After only two days of combat, Jordan's main armored unit is defeated. Hard fighting continues, as Hussein is determined to hold as much ground as possible in the event that a cease-fire is arranged. By the time he agrees to a truce on June 7th, Israeli forces have seized the West Bank and the Old City of Jerusalem. [5]

Of all the Arab nations involved, Jordan, which could least afford it, loses most in the war. Government figures list over 6,000 troops killed or missing. During the short war, about 224,000 refugees--many of whom had first been refugees from the 1948-49 war--flee from the West Bank to the East Bank. One third to one half of the country's best agricultural land and its main tourist attractions are lost to Israel. On June 27, the Israeli parliament (Knesset) formally annexes the Old City of Jerusalem, an act that the United States and many other nations refuse to recognize. [1] [5]

August - In the wake of the War, Hussein's government faces the critical problems of repairing a shattered economy, providing for the welfare of the refugees, obtaining external aid, readjusting foreign policy, and rebuilding the armed forces. Internally, however, the major problem is the continuing confrontation with the several Palestinian guerrilla organizations. [5]

The Arab League heads of state meet in Khartoum at the end of August. The conference reaches four major decisions generally considered to represent the views of Arab moderates: resumption of oil production, which some oil-producing states had suspended during the war; continued nonrecognition of and nonnegotiation with Israel, individually and collectively; continued closure of the Suez Canal and the elimination of all foreign military bases in Arab territory; and provision of financial subsidies aid to Egypt and Jordan by Saudi Arabia, Libya, and Kuwait. The total annual subsidy promised for the indefinite future amounts to the equivalent of US$378 million, of which Jordan is to receive about US$112 million. Donor states at first regularly pay their shares in quarterly installments, but Libya and Kuwait withdraw their support to Jordan during the 1970-71 war between the Jordanian government and the fedayeen. [5]

In addition to the Khartoum subsidies, Jordan also receives grants from Qatar, and the shaykhdom of Abu Dhabi, and a special grant of US$42 million from Saudi Arabia for arms purchases. Aid also comes from Britain and West Germany, with whom Jordan has resumed relations. Although direct United States aid has been terminated, substantial long-term government loans are extended to Jordan for emergency relief, development, and military assistance. [5]

Jordan orders F-104 Starfighter aircraft and support gear from the US. After the disastrous losses of military equipment during the June War, United States military aid, most of which had been supplied on a credit basis, is shifted to grant form. Additional purchases of American hardware are made possible by massive postwar financing from friendly Arab states. [5]

November - The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 242 as a guideline for a Middle East settlement. The principal provisions of the resolution proclaim the inadmissibility of territorial acquisition by war; withdrawal of Israeli forces from areas occupied in the June 1967 War; termination of all states of belligerency; acknowledgment of the sovereignty of all states in the area--including Israel--within secure and recognized boundaries; freedom of navigation on all international waterways in the area; and a just settlement of the refugee problem. Whilst Jordan, Egypt, and Israel all accepted this resolution in principle Israel does not actually comply, and never relinquishes the territories it has seized. [5]

At first by conviction and then by political necessity, Hussein seeks accommodation with the fedayeen and provides training sites and assistance. In Jordan's internal politics, however, the main issue between 1967 and 1971 is the struggle between the government and the guerrilla organizations for political control of the country. Based in the refugee camps, the fedayeen virtually develop a state within a state, easily obtaining funds and arms from both the Arab states and Eastern Europe and openly flouting Jordanian law. [5]


February - The United States resumes arms shipments to Jordan. [5]

March - An Israeli brigade attacks the Jordanian village of Al Karamah, said to be the guerrilla capital. Although the brigade inflicts damage, it is driven back and in the process suffers substantial losses. The incident boosts Palestinian morale and gives the PLO instant prestige within the Arab community. [5]

June - Israel launches a heavy attack on Irbid. [5]

August - Israel launches aheavy attacks on As Salt. [5]

November - By late 1968, the main fedayeen activities in Jordan seem to shift from fighting Israel to attempts to overthrow Hussein. A major guerrilla-government confrontation occurrs when the government seeks to disarm the refugee camps, but civil war was averted by a compromise that favours the Palestinians. The threat to Hussein's authority and the heavy Israeli reprisals that follow each guerrilla attack become a matter of grave concern to the King. [5]


February - Arafat (who remains the leader of Al Fatah) becomes head of the PLO. [5]


By early 1970, at least seven guerrilla organizations are identified in Jordan. One of the most important organizations is the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) led by George Habash. Although the PLO trys to integrate these various groups and announces from time to time that this process has occurred, they are never effectively united. [5]

Hussein's loyal beduin army attempts to suppress guerrilla activity, which leads to sporadic outbursts of fighting between the fedayeen and the army during the first half of 1970. [5]

June - An Arab mediation committee intervenes to halt two weeks of serious fighting between the two sides. Hussein then designates Abd al Munim Rifai to head a "reconciliation" cabinet. Rifai and Arafat sign an agreement conciliatory to the fedayeen. According to its provisions, the government allows the commandos freedom of movement within Jordan, agrees to refrain from antiguerrilla action, and expresses its support for the fedayeen in the battle against Israel. In return, the commandos pledge to remove their bases from Amman and other major cities, to withdraw armed personnel from the Jordanian capital, and to show respect for law and order. [5]

September - Small-scale clashes with the fedayeen continue throughout the summer and by early September, the guerrilla groups control several strategic positions in Jordan, including the oil refinery near Az Zarqa. Meanwhile, the fedayeen are also calling for a general strike of the Jordanian population and are organizing a civil disobedience campaign. The situation becomes explosive when, as part of a guerrilla campaign to undermine the Jarring peace talks to which Egypt, Israel, and Jordan have agreed, the PFLP launched an airplane hijacking campaign. [5]

Within the space of two hours on September 6, PFLP gangs hijack a TWA jet, a Swissair jet, and make an unsuccessful attempt to seize control of an El Al airplane. About two hours later, another PFLP group hijacks a Pan Am jet and forces the crew to fly to Beirut airport, where the airplane lands almost out of fuel. The next day the airliner is flown to the Cairo airport, where it is blown up seconds after the 176 passengers and crew have completed their three-minute forced evacuation. [5]

In response, on September 16 Hussein reaffirms martial law and names Brigadier Muhammad Daud to head a cabinet composed of army officers. At the same time, the king appoints Field Marshal Habis al Majali, a fiercely proroyalist beduin, commander in chief of the armed forces and military governor of Jordan. Hussein gives Majali full powers to implement the martial law regulations and to quell the fedayeen. The new government immediately orders the fedayeen to lay down their arms and to evacuate the cities. On the same day, Arafat becomes supreme commander of the Palestine Liberation Army (PLA), the regular military force of the PLO. [5]

During a bitterly fought ten-day civil war, primarily between the PLA and Jordan Arab Army, Syria sends about 200 tanks to aid the fedayeen. On September 17, however, Iraq begins a rapid withdrawal of its 12,000-man force stationed near Az Zarqa. The United States Navy dispatches the Sixth Fleet to the eastern Mediterranean, and Israel undertakes "precautionary military deployments" to aid Hussein, if necessary, against the guerrilla forces. [5]

With U.S. and Israeli backing, Jordanian troops attack Palestinian guerrilla camps, while Jordan's U.S.-supplied air force drops napalm from above. U.S. deploys the aircraft carrier Independence and six destroyers off the coast of Lebanon and readies troops in Turkey to support the assault. The U.S. threatens to use nuclear weapons against the Soviet Union if it intervenes. 5,000 Palestinians are killed and 20,000 wounded. This massacre comes to be known as "Black September." [1] [4] [5]

Under attack from the Jordanian army and in response to outside pressures, the Syrian forces begin to withdraw from Jordan on September 24, having lost more than half their armour in fighting with the Jordanians. The fedayeen find themselves on the defensive throughout Jordan and agree on September 25 to a cease-fire. At the urging of the Arab heads of state, Hussein and Arafat sign the cease-fire agreement in Cairo on September 27. The agreement calls for rapid withdrawal of the guerrilla forces from Jordanian cities and towns to positions "appropriate" for continuing the battle with Israel and for the release of prisoners by both sides. [5]

October - 13th - Hussein and Arafat sign a further agreement in Amman, under which the fedayeen are to recognize Jordanian sovereignty and the king's authority, to withdraw their armed forces from towns and villages, and to refrain from carrying arms outside their camps. In return the government agrees to grant amnesty to the fedayeen for incidents that occurred during the civil war. [5]

In spite of the September and October agreements, fighting continues, particularly in Amman, Irbid, and Jarash, where guerrilla forces have their main bases. [5]


April - Persistent pressure by the army compels the fedayeen to withdraw from Amman. Feeling its existence threatened, Al Fatah abandons its earlier posture of noninvolvement in the internal affairs of an Arab state and issues a statement demanding the overthrow of the Jordanian "puppet separatist authority." In a subsequent early May statement, it calls for "national rule" in Jordan. Against this background of threats to his authority, Hussein strikes at the remaining guerrilla forces in Jordan. [5]

June - In response to rumours that the PLO is planning to form a government-in-exile, Hussein in early June directed Tal, the prime minister, to "deal conclusively and without hesitation with the plotters who want to establish a separate Palestinian state and destroy the unity of the Jordanian and Palestinian people." [5]

July - 13th - The Jordanian army undertakes an offensive against fedayeen bases about fifty kilometers northwest of Amman in the Ajlun area--the fedayeen's last stronghold. Tal announces that the Cairo and Amman agreements, which have regulated relations between the fedayeen and the Jordanian governments, are no longer operative. On 19th the government announces that the remainder of the bases in northern Jordan have been destroyed and that 2,300 of the 2,500 fedayeen have been arrested. A few days later, many of the captured Palestinians are released either to leave for other Arab countries or to return to a peaceful life in Jordan. Hussein becomes virtually isolated from the rest of the Arab world, which accuses him of harsh treatment of the fedayeen and denounces him as being responsible for the deaths of so many of his fellow Arabs. [5]

November - Members of the Black September terrorist group--who took their name from the civil war of September 1970--avenge the deaths of fellow fedayeen by assassinating Prime Minister Tal in Cairo. [5]

December - The Black September group again strike out against Hussein in an unsuccessful attempt on the life of the Jordanian ambassador to Britain. Hussein alleges that Libya's Colonel Muammar al Qadhafi is involved in a plot to overthrow the monarchy. [5]


Attempted military coup thwarted. [1]


February - Hussein pays a state visit to the United States during which President Richard M. Nixon assures him of his "firm. . . support for Jordan" and promised increased economic and military aid. During interviews Hussein, who earlier had called for United States intervention to bring about a comprehensive Middle East settlement, reaffirms that he contemplates no partial or separate agreements with Israel that would be prejudicial to Arab unity, but he leaves the door open for bilateral talks and condemned the PLO for its divisive influence. On his return to Amman, Hussein reemphasizes that all of East Jerusalem must be returned but offers to put the holy places there under international supervision. [5]

March - Jordanian courts convict seventeen Black September fedayeen charged with plotting to kidnap the prime minister and other cabinet ministers and to hold them hostage in exchange for the release of a few hundred fedayeen captured during the civil war. Hussein subsequently commutes the death sentences to life imprisonment "for humanitarian reasons" and, in response to outside Arab pressures, in September releases the prisoners, including their leader Muhammad Daud Auda (also known as Abu Daud), under a general amnesty. [5]

September - At the Arab summit in Cairo a reconciliation mediated by King Faisal of Saudi Arabia takes place between Egypt, Syria, and Jordan, the "front-line" or confrontation states against Israel. [5]

October - 6th - Egyptian and Syrian armies launch simultaneous attacks across the Suez Canal and the Golan Heights that catch the Israelis by surprise. After initially threatening to break through Israel's inner defenses, the Syrians are checked and then thrown back by an Israeli counteroffensive that drives to within thirty kilometers of the strong defense emplacements surrounding Damascus. By October 10, Jordan mobilizes nearly 70,000 men, forcing Israeli troops to deploy in the West Bank. Hussein does not open a third front against Israel but he sends 3,000 Jordanian troops in two armoured brigades to the Golan front on October 13, and they see limited action under Syrian command in fighting near Lake Tiberias. More than 25,000 regular Palestinian troops also are engaged under separate command. [5]

21st - With the Arab armies in retreat, the Soviet Union calls a special session of the UN Security Council to impose an immediate cease-fire. Although accepted by Israel and Egypt, the cease-fire does not become effective for another three days. On the northern front, Israeli troops retain control of the Golan Heights, and in the southwest they have opened bridgeheads across the Suez Canal and occupied more than 1,500 square kilometers of territory in Egypt. UN Security Council Resolution 338, submitted on October 22, reiterates the Security Council's position on Israeli-occupied territory, first expressed in Resolution 242 in 1967. [5]

November - At a postmortem on the fourth Arab-Israeli war held in Algiers, the Jordanian representative stresses that the ceasefire does not mean peace and calls again for Israel to evacuate the occupied territories that combined Arab forces have failed to win back in battle. Over Jordanian protests, the summit conference votes to recognize the PLO as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. Hussein, who concedes in Amman that he does not claim to speak for the Palestinians, supports their right to self determination --"but," he adds, "only after the occupied territories are liberated." [5]


October - The Rabat Summit conference brings together the leaders of twenty Arab states, including Hussein. The conference formally acknowledges the right of the Palestinian people to a separate homeland, but without specifying that its territory is restricted to the West Bank. Most importantly, the PLO is for the first time officially recognized by all the Arab states as the "sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people." The Arab heads of state also call for close cooperation between the front-line states and the PLO but prohibit interference by other Arab states in Palestinian affairs. Hussein agrees to this under intense Arab pressure and after the Arab oil-producing states promise to provide Jordan with an annual subsidy of $US300 million. The PLO, along with the rest of the Arab world, views Hussein's consent at Rabat as a renunciation of Jordanian claims to the West Bank. Hussein nonetheless continues to have aspirations concerning Jordanian control of the occupied territories. The wide gulf separating the two views is the major source of tension between the PLO and Jordan throughout the late 1970s and early 1980s. [5]

The tone of Hussein's approach to the Palestinians in the East Bank changes markedly following the Rabat Summit. He advises that the resident Palestinians, estimated at 900,000 or more, must choose between Jordanian citizenship or Palestinian identity. No attempt will be made to oust those who chose the latter, he says, and they will be permitted to remain in Jordan as "guests." He also insists that any Palestinian choosing to keep his Jordanian citizenship must be allowed to do so without endangering his rights in the West Bank; he further promises that any Palestinian living in the East Bank who chooses to identify his interests with those of the "Palestinian people" can do so without jeopardizing his rights as a Jordanian citizen. [5]

November - The UN recognizes PLO representation of the Palestinian people. President Gerald R. Ford of the United States and General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Leonid Brezhnev acknowledge the "legitimate interests" of the Palestinians in accordance with the UN resolutions. [5]

Hussein amends the constitution to give the king authority to dissolve the House of Representatives and to delay elections as he sees fit. He dissolves the lower house of the National Assembly, the elected House of Representatives, when it has completed its work on November 23. The House of Representatives, half of whose sixty members represented West Bank constituencies, can no longer function without undermining the newly recognized representative status of the PLO. The Constitution is amended to provide for the indefinite postponement of elections for a new House of Representatives so as to avoid elections on the East Bank alone, which if held would symbolize the final separation of the West Bank from Jordan. In addition to dissolving the House of Representatives, Hussein directs Prime Minister Zaid ar Rifai to form a new government that does not include Palestinians from the West Bank. No move is made, however, to relieve Palestinians in the Jordanian army, where they compose one-third of the officer corps, albeit mostly in noncombatant functions. The government also continues to pay the salaries of 6,000 civil servants and teachers in the West Bank, which amounts to about US$40 million a year. [5]


As a result of Hussein's partial reversal from the commitments made at Rabat, Jordanian-PLO relations deteriorate throughout much of 1975. At the year's end, however, the Palestine National Council, meeting in Damascus, backs an effort to reconcile its differences with Hussein. The broadcast of antiregime propaganda is temporarily suspended and, although PLA units remain stationed in Jordan in military camps, the PLO accepts restrictions on its political and military presence there. [5]

During 1975 Jordan and Syria agree to coordinate their defense, foreign policy, economic, information, education, and cultural activities. They establish a joint military command to provide a single defensive line against Israel. Syria halts anti-Hussein propaganda and imposes restrictions on Syrian-based Palestinian activities that might be considered prejudicial to Jordan's sovereignty. [5]

In the spring, after a number of skirmishes with Lebanese Christian militias, the Palestinians in Lebanon allied with an array of leftist Lebanese forces and begin an offensive in Lebanon. [5]


January - At the Arab summit conference held at Cairo, Jordan and the PLO are once again embroiled in a dispute over Jordan's role in negotiating an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank. Jordan declares that it has no responsibility for negotiating such a withdrawal. In response, the PLO resumes its hostile propaganda shortly after the meeting. [5]

February - Hussein summons an extraordinary session of the National Assembly, attended by about half of the representatives elected from the West Bank, to enact legislation enabling the king to postpone indefinitely the general elections scheduled for later in the month. The king's spokespersons explain that the action is necessary because of "compelling circumstances" that prevail in the country. Hussein also abolishes the Jordanian National Union. [5]

Spring - President Assad of Syria, fearing a radical Palestinian force in Lebanon on Syria's southern border, enters the Lebanese civil war on the side of the Christians and tilts the military balance in their favour. Jordan supports the Syrian intervention, fearing that a Palestinian victory will give the PLO a base of operations from which to destabilize the region. [5]

July - Zaid ar Rifai, who has led the government since 1973, steps down as prime minister. Hussein replaces him with Mudar Badran, chief of the royal court. The Badran government sets up the Bureau of Occupied Homeland Affairs, headed by former members of parliament from West Bank constituencies, ostensibly to coordinate and advise on relations with Palestinians in Israeli-occupied territory. The government also conducts discussions on the renewed possibility of some form of federation between the West Bank and the East Bank. The PLO charges that the newly created Bureau of Occupied Homeland Affairs has been formed to channel support to pro-Jordanian candidates in municipal elections to be held in the West Bank in April 1977. Badran denies these allegations and reaffirms Jordan's commitment to the concept that the Palestinians themselves must decide the future of the West Bank. [5]

A UN draft resolution proposing to reaffirm the right of the Palestinians to self-determination, and including the right to establish an independent state, is vetoed in the Security Council by the United States, which calls instead for a "reasonable and acceptable definition of Palestinian interests." [5]

Since the early 1970s, Jordan had negotiated for the purchase of a US$540 million air defense system from the United States to be financed by Saudi Arabia. When the United States Congress objects to the arms sale after strong pressure from the Israeli Embassy in Washington and American Jewish organizations, Hussein comments that relations with his one-time sponsor have reached "a sad crossroads." With Syrian encouragement, he travels to Moscow to sound out the Soviet Union on its willingness to provide a similar system. In the face of persuasive American and Saudi lobbying, Hussein eventually opts to purchase the American Improved Hawk air defense system. His trip to Moscow, however, marks a significant improvement in Jordanian-Soviet relations and is a factor in his decision to support the concept of a Middle East peace conference attended by both the Soviet Union and the United States. [5]


April - In municipal elections in the West Bank, PLO-backed candidates win an overwhelming victory. [5]


September - President Carter announces that the Camp David Accords have been reached. They consist of two parts, the Framework for Peace in the Middle East and the Framework for the Conclusion of a Peace Treaty between Israel and Egypt. [5]

The final version of the Camp David Accords signed by Egyptian president Sadat, Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin, and United States president Carter separate the issues of the future of the West Bank and the return of Sinai. Whereas the sections dealing with the return of Sinai are very explicit, the sections on the West Bank are vague and open to various interpretations. They called for Egypt, Israel, and "the representatives of the Palestinian people to negotiate about the future of the West Bank and Gaza." A five-year period of "transitional autonomy" is called for "to ensure a peaceful and orderly transfer of authority." The agreement also calls for peace talks between Israel and its other Arab neighbors, particularly Syria. [5]

The Camp David Accords fall far short of meeting even Jordan's minimal demands. Hussein expresses anger that Jordan is included in the Camp David framework without his prior knowledge or approval. He views the division of the accords into two agreements with no linkage between Israel's withdrawal from Sinai and progress on the Palestinian issue as a sign that Sadat is more interested in regaining Sinai than in brokering a viable peace settlement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Hussein is further alienated from the Camp David peace process because Israel refuses to negotiate over East Jerusalem, insists on its rights to establish settlements in the occupied territories, and reserves the right to demand sovereignty over those areas at the end of the transition period. [5]

November - Following the signing of the Camp David Accords, Jordan accepts an Iraqi invitation, accompanied by a US$30 million Iraqi grant, to attend the Baghdad Conference. The summit conference's decision to allot to Jordan the relatively large sum of US$1.25 billion per year helps keep Jordan in the Arab fold. At the Conference the Arab states unequivocally reject the Camp David Accords and officially ostracised Egypt from the Arab League. [5]

Hussein, although fully backing the Baghdad accords, seeks a very different objective than Arab states such as Syria and Iraq. His goal is not to punish Egypt or overthrow Sadat, but rather to set up an alternative strategy to the Camp David framework supported by an Arab consensus that would provide a more equitable and viable solution to the Middle East conflict. The essence of the Jordanian alternative is to return the Palestinian problem either to the UN Security Council or to the Geneva Conference where all the relevant parties, including the United States, the Soviet Union, and the European Economic Community, could work together in reaching a comprehensive Middle East peace plan. [5]


Jordan seeks to acquire F-16 fighter aircraft and approximately 300 M-60 tanks from the US. A much reduced shipment of 100 M-60 tanks is eventually made available to Jordan but without important modern features such as night sights and advanced fire control. Hussein accordingly turns to Britain for Chieftain tanks and modernization kits for Jordan's existing Centurion tanks, and to France for Mirage aircraft as substitutes for the F-16s. [5]

February - The overthrow of the shah of Iran causes grave concern in Amman. Not only is Hussein a monarch allied with the West, but he also has been a close ally of the shah for many years. [5]

March - The Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty is signed. [5]

April - The Israeli government's limited view of Palestinian autonomy becomes apparent. The Begin government approves two new settlements between Ram Allah and Nabulus, establishes civilian regional councils for the Jewish settlements in the territories, and prepares autonomy plans in which Israel will keep exclusive control over the West Bank's water, communications, roads, public order, and immigration into the territories. The acceleration of settlements, the growth of an increasingly militaristic Jewish settler movement, and Israel's stated desire to retain complete control over resources in the territories precludes the participation in the peace process of either moderate Palestinians, such as the newly formed National Guidance Committee composed of West Bank mayors, or of Hussein. The PLO refused from the beginning to participate in the peace process. [5]

In response to the Egypt-Israel peace treaty Jordan severs diplomatic relations with Egypt. The Jordanian media and public officials intensify anti-Israel rhetoric, showing particular hostility toward the United States for supporting the accords. [5]

November - Hussein's attempt to develop a united Arab stand does not succeed. At the Tunis Summit, in the face of strong Syrian objections, Hussein is unable to mobilize an Arab consensus behind an alternative to the Camp David Accords. Syrian president Assad's strong objections to Hussein's proposal mark the beginning of rapid deterioration in Syrian-Jordanian relations. Hussein is further rebuffed when Assad revives the Steadfastness and Confrontation Front consisting of Syria, Libya, Algeria, the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (South Yemen), and the PLO. The Syrian leader accuses Jordan of supporting Syrian elements of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been involved in a series of attacks against his regime. Although Syria continues to be a major Soviet ally in the Middle East, Jordan joins nearly the entire Arab world in condemning the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Finally, Syria, unlike Jordan, is unwilling to participate in any alternative to the Camp David Accords. [5]


Hussein alters Jordan's Arab alignments in response to the new regional balance of power caused by the Islamic Revolution in Iran, the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, and the growing rift with Syria. The focus of Jordan's new regional outlook is improved relations with Iraq. With Egypt no longer in the Arab fold, Jordan seeks an Arab military alliance capable of deterring a more militaristic regime in Israel from meddling in Jordanian affairs. Hussein also needs Iraqi support to stave off the Syrian threat, which has grown significantly during 1980. Finally, Baghdad and Amman fear the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and its implications for the regional balance of power. [5]

After a series of high-level meetings in the early 1980s, a wide range of exchanges take place. Iraq greatly increases economic assistance to Jordan and discusses a possible project for supplying Jordan with water from the Euphrates. The start of the Iran-Iraq War in September 1980 further tightens relations. From the beginning of the war, Jordan is the most outspoken of the Arab states supporting Iraq. The Iraqi connection becomes increasingly important as tensions mount between Jordan and Syria. Between September 1980 and late 1981, Jordan reportedly receives US$400 million in economic aid from Iraq. [5]

The crucial event for the Jordanian economy, as it was for the Arab world as a whole, was the quadrupling of world oil prices that followed the October 1973 War. Possessing little oil of its own, Jordan nonetheless became inexorably linked to the volatile world oil market. Between 1973 and 1981, direct Arab budget support rose more than sixteen-fold, from US$71.8 million to US$1.179 billion. In the same period, the value of Jordanian exports jumped almost thirteen-fold, from US$57.6 million to US$734.9 million. In addition, Jordan sent to the Persian Gulf states an estimated 350,000 doctors, engineers, teachers, and construction workers who by 1981 had sent back home more than US$1 billion. Even after deducting the outward flow of dinars from the 125,000 foreign workers inside Jordan holding agricultural and unskilled jobs, net worker remittances rose from US$15 million in 1970 to US$900 million in 1981 [5]

When world oil prices begin spiraling downward in the early 1980s, the government halts many large-scale construction projects, slashes food and other subsidies, and significantly reduces public employment. These actions stir public dissatisfaction. [5]

Hussein's response to the rise in public discontent is to ease restrictions on the political process. Two political parties are formed: the Arab Constitutional Alignment and the Arab National Party. Both parties call for greater public participation in the affairs of state. [5]


Syrian-Jordanian relations deteriorate and nearly erupt in military conflict during the 1981 Arab summit conference in Amman, when Syrian president Hafiz al Assad accuses Hussein of aiding the antigovernment Muslim Brotherhood in Syria. [5]

October - An Iraqi-Jordanian Joint Committee for Economic and Technical Cooperation is set up. [5]

November - Jordan's improved status in the Arab world results in Amman hosting its first Arab summit. Hussein reportedly hopes to obtain a breakthrough on the Palestinian question and to mobilize support for the Iraqi war effort. The summit, however, is boycotted by members of the Steadfastness and Confrontation Front led by Syria. In addition, Syria masses troops on the Jordanian border. Hussein counters by mobilizing a force of equal strength on the Syrian border. Although the situation is eventually diffused through Saudi mediation efforts, the potential for future Syrian-Jordanian conflict remains. [5]


January - Jordan's most demonstrative act of support for the Iraqi war effort occurs when Hussein announces the formation of the Yarmuk Brigade, a Jordanian force of volunteers that pledge to fight for Iraq. [5]

Throughout 1982, as Iran scores significant victories in the Iran-Iraq War, Jordan substantially increases its support to Iraq. Al Aqabah replaces the besieged Iraqi port of Basra as Iraq's major marine transportation point. [5]

June - Israel invades Lebanon, destroying the PLO bases there. Hussein views the Lebanon invasion as part of a pattern of more aggressive Israeli policies that include the 1981 bombing of the Iraqi nuclear reactor, confrontations with Syria, and an ambitious settlement policy in the occupied territories. The government of Menachem Begin is willing to use force to attain its territorial objectives. This leads to concerns that Israel might have designs on Jordan, or that the PLO, after having its major base of operations in Lebanon destroyed, might attempt to reestablish itself in Jordan. Hussein also fears that Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank is rapidly reducing the chances of an acceptable settlement there. [5]

September - President Reagan launches the Reagan Plan. Hussein applauds the new American proposal, seeing in it a clear break from the Camp David framework. In announcing the new plan, Reagan states that "it is the firm view of the United States that self-government by the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza in association with Jordan offers the best chance for a durable and lasting peace," specifying that the United States will not support the establishment of a Palestinian state. The Reagan Plan also stresses UN Resolution 242, stating that the resolution applies to all fronts, including the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and that the final status of Jerusalem should be decided through negotiation. [5]

October-November - Hussein and Arafat begin a series of meetings designed to formulate a joint response to the Reagan Plan. These negotiations center around the formation of a Jordanian-Palestinian delegation to future peace talks and, because neither Israel nor the United States recognized the PLO, on the extent to which the PLO will be directly associated with this delegation. Jordan proposes that the PLO appoint West Bank residents who are not members of the PLO to represent the Palestinians. In November, agreement is reached on the formation of a Higher Jordanian-Palestinian Committee headed by Prime Minister Mudar Badran and Arafat. [5]

Because of conflicting objectives sought by Arafat and Hussein, the joint Palestinian-Jordanian committee never materializes. Whereas Hussein sees the proposed confederation as a means to reestablish Jordanian control over the West Bank, Arafat views the negotiations as a means to gain PLO sovereignty over the occupied territories. In addition, Hussein and Arafat require evidence that Washington is willing to pressure Israel to make significant territorial concessions. Meanwhile, Israeli troops still occupy part of southern Lebanon, and the Israeli government has not made any commitments on the settlement issue. Moreover, given Iran's recent victories in its war with Iraq, tensions with Syria, and a depressed world oil market, Hussein can not isolate Jordan by unilaterally participating in the Reagan Plan without some show of Israeli flexibility. [5]


Syria has emerged from the war in Lebanon as a pivotal regional power, able and willing to play a role in the affairs of neighbouring Arab states. Whereas Syrian power is on the rise, Jordan's most powerful Arab ally, Iraq, seems to be losing the costly war with Iran. Hussein tries to counterbalance the Syrian threat by making overtures to President Husni Mubarak of Egypt. High-level talks between Egypt and Jordan occur regularly throughout 1983 and 1984. [5]

April - Following Hussein's decision in not to join the Reagan Plan, Jordan increasingly criticizes Washington's failure to apply pressure on Israel to halt settlements in the West Bank. [5]

May - United States-Jordanian relations are further strained when the Reagan administration lifts a ban on the sale of F-16 aircraft to Israel. The ban had been imposed to pressure Israel to withdraw its forces from Lebanon. [5]

July - The United States opposes a Jordanian draft resolution submitted to the UN Security Council asserting the illegality of Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank. [5]

November - Relations between Jordan and the USA are further soured by the signing of a new agreement on strategic cooperation between Israel and the United States. [5]

December - Jordan and Egypt signed a trade protocol and discus the expansion of scientific and agricultural cooperation. [5]


Early in the year Ronald Reagan proposes selling 315 Stinger launchers and 1,600 missiles to Jordan but is forced to withdraw the proposal because of continued congressional opposition. [5]

September - Jordan officially announces the resumption of diplomatic relations with Egypt. [5]


The Reagan administration puts before Congress a new package valued at US$1.9 billion, which would include 40 F-16s or F-20 aircraft, 300 advanced air-to-air missiles, 72 Stingers, and 32 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles. The most controversial feature of the package is a proposal to upgrade the existing fixed Hawk batteries by converting them to mobile units and adding six new mobile Hawk batteries. Congress effectively blocks this transaction by setting conditions on the Jordanian-Israeli peace process that Hussein is unprepared to meet. [5]


Early in the year the US administration suspends indefinitely its efforts to supply major military systems to Jordan. Military assistance carries on at a pace adequate to sustain existing readiness levels by providing selective upgrading of equipment, together with training, spare parts, and service, and help in building up ammunition stocks. Close relationships continue to be maintained with the Jordanian military in spite of differences over new equipment items. The United States and Jordan go on to expand senior officer exchanges. The United States supplies technical assistance teams and instructor training programs, and develops specialized training courses tailored to Jordanian needs. Joint military exercises are also held annually on Jordanian territory. [5]

Hussein severs political links with the PLO and orders its main offices to shut. [1]


Hussein publicly backs the Palestinian uprising, or intifada, against Israeli rule. [1]

From 1950 through 1988, the United States furnished a total of about US$1.5 billion in military aid, US$878 million in loans and US$631 million in grants. The grant program amounted to US$26.5 million in FY 1988. [5]


Rioting in several cities over price increases. [1]

First general election since 1967, contested only by independent candidates because of the ban on political parties in 1963. [1]


Jordan comes under severe economic and diplomatic strain as a result of the Gulf crisis following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. [1]


Jordan signs peace treaty with Israel, ending 46-year official state of war. [1]


Food price riots after subsidies removed under economic plan supervised by the International Monetary Fund. [1]


Parliamentary elections boycotted by several parties, associations and leading figures. [1]


King Hussein treated for lymphatic cancer in United States. [1]


January - After six months of treatment King Hussein returns home to a rousing welcome, but flies back to the US soon after for further treatment. [1]

February - King Hussein returns home and is put on a life support machine. He is pronounced dead on 7 February. More than 50 heads of state attend his funeral. [1]

7 February - Hussein's, son Crown Prince Abdullah ibn al-Hussein is sworn in as king. [1]


The CIA starts to use the headquarters of the General Intelligence Department in Amman as a secret prison. Here, at the CIA's behest, suspects, usually non-Jordanians, are held and tortured. They are then most often moved on to Guantanamo Bay or CIA prisons elsewhere in the world. [7]

September - A military court sentences six men to death for plotting attacks against Israeli and US targets. [1]


March - King Abdullah and presidents Bashar al-Assad of Syria and Hosni Mubarak of Egypt inaugurate a $300m (£207m) electricity line linking the grids of the three countries. [1]


January - Riots erupt in the southern town of Maan, the worst public disturbances in more than three years, following the death of a youth in custody. [1]

August - Spat with Qatar over a programme on Qatar-based Al-Jazeera TV which Jordan says insulted its royal family. Jordan shuts down Al-Jazeera's office in Amman and recalls its ambassador in Qatar. [1]

September - Jordan and Israel agree on a plan to pipe water from the Red Sea to the shrinking Dead Sea. The project, costing $800m, is the two nations' biggest joint venture to date. [1]

October - Senior US diplomat Laurence Foley is gunned down outside his home in Amman, in the first assassination of a Western diplomat in Jordan. Scores of political activists are rounded up. [1]


June - First parliamentary elections under King Abdullah II. Independent candidates loyal to the king win two-thirds of the seats. [1]

September - Jordan's Central Bank retracts its decision to freeze accounts belonging to leaders of Hamas. [1]

October - A new cabinet is appointed following the resignation of Prime Minister Ali Abu al-Ragheb. Faisal al-Fayez is appointed prime minister. The king also appoints the three female ministers. [1]


February - Jordan's King Abdullah and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad launch the Wahdah Dam project at a ceremony on the River Yarmuk. [1]

March - Israel and Jordan agree a joint project to build a desert science centre on their shared border. [1]

April - Eight Islamic militants are sentenced to death for killing a US government official in 2002. [1]

Authorities seize cars filled with explosives and arrest several suspects said to be linked to al-Qaeda and planning chemical bomb attack on intelligence services HQ in Amman. [1]