2.5.07

Jordan of Hussein Part 2

So why do I write about him right now? Eight years after he left us? He was missed by Jordanians and neighbors more than ever recently. This article, while a belated eulogy for him, it is not a belittlement of his son's accomplishments, but the situation in the region does need someone of a more "known face". That kind of familiarity was what helped Jordan take a firm position against US interference in Iraq in 1991 and still managed to maintain the United States empowerment of the Jordanian economy.

The President, Senators, Congressmen and people in almost all of the levels of the government had found the excuse for him, knowing he will never choose anything that will harm his country. Such familiarity would not have made Jordan a target for terrorists, and like he did in many previous occasions, he would have acted like an arbitrator, causing the situation in Iraq to defuse.

That was mainly because he knew how to deal with terrorists on negotiation tables, Yasser Arafat, the deceased leader of Palestinian guerilla group PLO was a longtime enemy of Hussein, and tried to topple his regime in 1970, but come late 1980s he was transformed into a Palestinian leader, an ally of Jordan, to die as President of Palestine earlier this year.

This is just what everyone expected of him, and he knew how to navigate all the seas to get to the shore of safety. All that being said, Hussein did have a few set backs in his history he could have lived without, and while the habit of not talking ill of the dead is practiced seriously in Jordan, it goes without saying that no one is perfect.

Hussein was taking his time in learning the lesson that the Arab world was not to be relied on for the well being of Jordan. After the 1967 war, he was called a traitor and a man who favored the west over his brethren in Palestine. He had just entered a war on behalf of the Arab world as Nasser was asking them to push Jordan, the country with the longest borders with Israel, push it into a war against Israel.

That did not gain Jordan any compassion in the west, but he was guaranteed by the Arab leaders, that no matter what happens, Jordan will be adequately compensated by petrol-rich countries. Lack of air cover by the Egyptian air-force caused for the war to be a tragic loss, Hussein lost the West Bank and Egypt lost Sinai. He was not compensated for his shattered army, his impoverished country or the influx of population caused by mass displacement of people from West Bank.

He again relied on them in the late 1980's after they promised to better the situation for refugees and went on to borrow billions of dollars, but he had to take it out of Jordan's pocket and devalue the Jordanian dinar. A third time happened just after the 1991 gulf war, with resentment for gulf countries for causing a situation in his country. He did not rely on them and did not support the allied mission led by the US, they decided that they will no longer keep the Jordanian laborers, a very valuable source of currency to Jordan. They also kicked them out of their homes, to Jordan and its already troubled social resources, and to our day some people still are waiting for their compensation in Jordan.

Hussein never admitted that he was a pragmatic ruler, looking for the interest of Jordan first, before any morals or ethics; it just happened that, more often than not, Jordan's benefit was in the moral way.

Whether you see more positive than me, or just don't agree that he was that righteous, no two people can argue that he was a true leader and a very good survivor. This Kid-made-King, Soldier, Peacemaker, Aviator, Educator and above all a true humanity-lover is one of the most remarkable leaders of the second half of the twentieth century.

On the weightloss, another 2 pounds lost this past week
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