Conversations in Jordan:
The Rulers and the Ruled
JORDAN and Lebanon, which were the scenes of British and American troop landings last July, are now the quietest of the Arab states, as political attention focuses on Colonel Nasser’s Egypt and Colonel Kassem’s Iraq. Relative freedom prevails in Lebanon; both the pro-Iraqi Communists and the pro-Nasser Ba’athists publish newspapers, and political refugees of both camps crowd the houses of the local leaders from Basta to Ashrafieh to Junyeh. The Lebanese government hopes that the two groups of refugees will cancel each other out, and meanwhile spend their money in the country.
The authorities in the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan, from which I recently returned, take a different tack. Censorship and police repression make it a politically “closed” society. Its rebellious elements, moreover, prefer to lie low; they are quite aware, though they do not say so publicly, that a coup on their part might well lead to a chaotic situation in which there would be the possibility of Israeli intervention. Nevertheless, no society is hermetically sealed, and the visitor to Jordan is soon aware that political unrest continues despite the efforts of King Hussein’s government to achieve stability.
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