Order Code RL33546 Jordan: U.S. Relations and Bilateral Issues Updated June 22, 2007 Alfred B. Prados Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division Jeremy M. Sharp Analyst in Middle Eastern Affairs Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division Jordan: U.S. Relations and Bilateral Issues Summary This report provides an overview of Jordanian politics and current issues in U.S.-Jordanian relations. It provides a brief overview of Jordan’s government and economy and of its cooperation in promoting Arab-Israeli peace and other U.S. policy objectives in the Middle East. This report will be updated regularly. Several issues in U.S.-Jordanian relations are likely to figure in decisions by Congress and the Administration on future aid to and cooperation with Jordan. These include the stability of the Jordanian regime, democratic reform under way in Jordan, the role of Jordan in the Arab-Israeli peace process, Jordan’s role in stabilizing Iraq, and U.S.-Jordanian military and intelligence cooperation. Although the United States and Jordan have never been linked by a formal treaty, they have cooperated on a number of regional and international issues over the years. The country’s small size and lack of major economic resources have made it dependent on aid from Western and friendly Arab sources. U.S. support, in particular, has helped Jordan deal with serious vulnerabilities, both internal and external. Jordan’s geographic position, wedged between Israel, Syria, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia, has made it vulnerable to the strategic designs of its more powerful neighbors, but has also given Jordan an important role as a buffer between these potential adversaries. In 1990, Jordan’s unwillingness to join the allied coalition against Iraq disrupted its relations with the United States and the Persian Gulf states; however, relations improved throughout the 1990s as Jordan played an increasing role in the Arab-Israeli peace process and distanced itself from Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. The United States has markedly increased aid to Jordan since the mid-1990s to help Jordan strengthen its economy, maintain domestic stability, and pursue normalization of its relations with Israel. For FY2008, the Bush Administration has requested $263.5 million in economic aid and $200 million in military aid to Jordan. H.R. 2764, the FY2008 State, Foreign operations, and related programs Appropriations bill would fully fund the President’s request for Jordan, in addition to providing $2.5 million ( $1,000,000 above the request) in International CounterNarcotics and Law Enforcement funds. In May 2007, Congress approved H.R. 2206, the FY2007 U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act, which contained $85.3 million in supplemental assistance to Jordan. Of that total, appropriators set aside $10 million to assist Jordanian communities which have experienced a large influx of Iraqi refugees. The rest of the assistance was designated for military and counter-terrorism aid. Contents Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Domestic Politics and the Economy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 The Hashemite Royal Family . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Parliament, Constitution, and Elections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 The 1993 Election Law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 The Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Professional Associations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 The Military and Security Establishment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Reform . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 The Economy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Water Shortages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Current Issues in U.S.-Jordanian Relations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Promoting Peace in the Middle East . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Opposition to Normalization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 The Arab Peace Initiative . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Countering the Influence of Hamas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Iraq . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Jordan’s Perspective and Influence in Iraq . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Jordan’s Role in Iraqi Reconstruction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Al Qaeda-Inspired Terrorism and the Sunni Insurgency . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Iraqi Refugees in Jordan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Terrorism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Allegations of Torture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 U.S. Aid, Trade, and Military Cooperation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 U.S. Foreign Assistance to Jordan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Economic Assistance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Military Assistance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 FY2007 Supplemental Assistance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Millennium Challenge Account . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Trade . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Free Trade Agreement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Qualifying Industrial Zones . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Sweat Shop Allegations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Military Cooperation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Military Sales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Joint Exercises and Training . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Other Activities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 List of Figures Figure 1. Country Map of Jordan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 List of Tables Table 1. Recent Foreign Military Sales to Jordan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Table 2. Annual U.S. Aid to Jordan Since the Gulf Crisis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Jordan: U.S. Relations and Bilateral Issues Overview Although the United States and Jordan have never been linked by a formal treaty, they have cooperated on a number of regional and international issues over the years. The country’s small size and lack of major economic resources have made it dependent on aid from Western and friendly Arab sources. U.S. support, in particular, has helped Jordan deal with serious vulnerabilities, both internal and external. Jordan’s geographic position, wedged between Israel, Syria, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia, has made it vulnerable to the strategic designs of its more powerful neighbors, but has also given Jordan an important role as a buffer between these potential adversaries. In 1990, Jordan’s unwillingness to join the allied coalition against Iraq disrupted its relations with the United States and the Persian Gulf states; however, relations improved throughout the 1990s as Jordan played an increasing role in the Arab-Israeli peace process and distanced itself from the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein. CRS-2 Figure 1. Country Map of Jordan Domestic Politics and the Economy Jordan, created by colonial powers after World War I, initially consisted of desert or semi-desert territory east of the Jordan River, inhabited largely by people of Bedouin tribal background. The establishment of the state of Israel brought large numbers of Palestinian refugees to Jordan, which subsequently annexed a small Palestinian enclave west of the Jordan River. The original “East Bank” Jordanians, though probably no longer a majority in Jordan, remain predominant in the country’s political and military establishments and form the bedrock of support for the Jordanian monarchy. Palestinians, who comprise an estimated 55% to 70% of the population, in some cases tend to regard their stay in Jordan as temporary, and others are at most lukewarm in their support for the Jordanian regime.1 1 A commentator recently estimated that 67% of the population is of Palestinian descent. Tom Pepper, “Building a Safe Haven,” Middle East Economic Digest, July 22-28, 2005. CRS-3 The Hashemite Royal Family Jordan is a hereditary constituJordan in Brief tional monarchy under the prestiPopulation gious Hashemite family, which 6,053,193 est. (July 2007): claims descent from the Prophet 89,213 sq. km. (34,445 sq. mi., Area: Muhammad. King Abdullah II has slightly smaller than Indiana) ruled the country since 1999, when Arabs 98%; Circassians 1%; Ethnic he succeeded to the throne upon the Groups: Armenians 1% death of his father, the late King Sunni Muslim 92%; Christian 6%; Religion: Hussein, upon the latter’s death small Muslim sects 2% (2001 after a 47-year reign. Educated est.) largely in Britain and the United Literacy 91% (male 96%, female 86%) (2003): States, King Abdullah had earlier GDP (2006): $12.5 billion; real growth 6.3% pursued a military career, ultimately serving as commander of Jordan’s Inflation 6.3% (2006): Special Operations Forces with the Unemploy- 15.4% (official estimate); ca. 30% rank of Major General. There is ment (2006): according to some unofficial currently no designated Crown estimates Prince; however, under Article 28 Armed of the Jordanian constitution, the personnel 100,500; tanks 952; Forces combat aircraft 101 King’s 11-year-old son Prince (2004): Hussein is next in line of succession External $7.3 billion to the throne. King Abdullah (age Debt (2006): 45) has won approval for his enerSources: U.S. Dept. of State; Central Bank of Jordan; other U.S. and Jordanian government departments; getic and hands-on style of governThe Economist Intelligence Unit (London) ing; however, some Jordanians, notably Palestinians and Islamic fundamentalists, are opposed to his policies of cooperating with the United States on issues such as Iraq and the ArabIsraeli peace process. In a recent Los Angeles Times article, one Jordanian cabinet official was quoted as saying that “He [King Abdullah] talks about information technology and foreign investment, but he doesn’t really know his own people.”2 The king appoints a prime minister to head the government and the Council of Ministers (cabinet). Typically, Jordanian governments last about 1.5 years before they are dissolved by royal decree. This is done in order to bolster the king’s reform credentials and to dispense patronage to various elites. The king also appoints all judges and is commander of the armed forces. Parliament, Constitution, and Elections Jordan’s bicameral legislature is composed of an elected 110-member lower house and an appointed 55-member upper house. Building on his father’s legacy, King Abdullah has supported a limited parliamentary democracy, while periodically curtailing dissent when it threatened economic reforms or normalization of relations with Israel. The most recent parliamentary elections, held on June 17, 2003, gave 62 2 “Jordan’s King Risks Shah’s Fate, Critics Warn,” Los Angeles Times, October 1, 2006. CRS-4 seats in the 110-member lower house to conservative, independent, and tribal allies of King Abdullah. However, the moderately fundamentalist Islamic Action Front (IAF), which had boycotted the previous elections in 1997, won 22% of the vote, thereby gaining 18 seats in the lower house, plus six sympathizers. Six seats in the lower house were reserved for women, one of whom is a member of the IAF. The IAF also participated in elections for the capital city of Amman, held on July 26-27, 2003, but boycotted elections in other municipalities in protest against what IAF spokesmen called undemocratic electoral procedures. The next parliamentary elections in Jordan are scheduled for November 2007. The Jordanian Parliament has limited power. In theory, it can override the veto authority of the king with a two-thirds majority in both the upper and lower houses. A two-thirds majority of the lower house can also dissolve the cabinet with a “no confidence” vote. However, since both houses have solid pro-government majorities, such actions are rarely attempted (once in April 1963). The Jordanian Constitution enables the king to dissolve parliament and postpone lower house elections for two years.3 Overall, political parties in Jordan are extremely weak, as the IAF is the only well organized movement. Most parties represent narrow parochial interests and are composed of prominent individuals representing a particular family or tribe. There are approximately 36 small parties in Jordan, consisting of a total of only 4,100 total members. A new political parties law raised from 50 to 500 the number of members necessary for officially registering a party and increased the number of districts from which parties must draw their members. According to Jordanian scholar Samer Abu Libdeh, the new law legally forces parties to reach out nationally rather than appeal to their local constituencies.4 The 1993 Election Law. Political opposition figures in Jordan routinely criticize the law governing Jordan’s election system. After Islamists made gains in the 1989 parliamentary elections, the government changed the election rules to a “one man, one vote” system that gives citizens one vote regardless of how many parliamentary seats represent their district. When forced to choose just one representative, voters have typically chosen candidates based on familial or tribal ties and not on ideology. The main Islamist opposition party, the Islamic Action Front (IAF), would like to see a mixed election system that provides for some proportional representation and allows parties to field lists of candidates. In addition, many reformers have called for changes to Jordan’s electoral map, asserting that the 3 The king also is allowed to declare martial law and suspend the provisions of the constitution. See United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Programme on Governance in the Arab Region (POGAR), Historical Background of Jordan’s Constitution, available online at [http://www.undp-pogar.org/countries/constitution.asp?cid=7]. 4 Samer Abu Libdeh, “Jordan Looks Inward: The Hashemite Kingdom in the Wake of Zarqawi and the Hamas-Israel Clash,” PolicyWatch #1120, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, July 7, 2006. CRS-5 government essentially gerrymandered districts in favor of rural-tribal areas over cities where Islamists typically have more support.5 The Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood The Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood has long been integrated into the political mainstream due to its acceptance of the legitimacy of Hashemite monarchy, although relations between the Brotherhood and the Palace have fluctuated over the years. The Brotherhood presence in Jordan dates back to the 1930s, as it has been tacitly recognized first as a charitable organization and later as a quasi-political organization, which has openly fielded candidates in parliamentary elections albeit under a different name (Islamic Action Front, IAF). The relationship between the Brotherhood and the Palace has been mutually beneficial over the years. Successive Jordanian monarchs have found that the Brotherhood has been more useful politically as an ally than as an opponent (as opposed to the Brotherhood in Egypt), as it secured Islamist support in countering Arab nationalist interference during the 1950’s and 1960’s and secular Palestinian nationalism in the 1970s. The Brotherhood’s educational, social, and health services have grown so extensive over the years that some experts believe that the Brotherhood’s budget for services rivals that of the Jordanian government. With violence unabated in neighboring Iraq and Hamas6 in control of the Gaza Strip, the Jordanian authorities have grown more cautious of the Brotherhood’s political and charitable activities. In June 2006, just days after the death of the terrorist mastermind Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi, four IAF parliamentarians were arrested after making statements praising the Al Qaeda leader. One IAF deputy reportedly remarked that Zarqawi was a “martyr” and a holy warrior. The government charged that such remarks were in violation of Article 150 of Jordan’s Penal Code, which bans all writing or speech that is “intended to, or results in, stirring up sectarian or racial tension or strife among different elements of the nation.”7 Several weeks later, the Jordanian government dissolved the administration of the Islamic Centre Charity Society, the Brotherhood’s main vehicle for dispensing social welfare to its supporters. Some estimate that the charity controls over $1 billion in assets. The Jordanian Ministry of Social Development (MoSD) appointed a seven-member ad hoc board to run the charity. 5 According to one study of Jordan’s election law, “It is no coincidence that underrepresented urban governorates have a large population of Palestinian origin, and that overrepresented largely rural governorates are considered mainstays of support for the regime. See, David M. DeBartolo, “Jordan: Attention Turns to Electoral Law,” Arab Reform Bulletin, Published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Volume 5, Issue 3, April 2007. 6 On April 20, 2006, the press reported that Jordan cancelled a planned visit by former Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud al-Zahar, who is also a high-level Hamas official, on the grounds that Hamas had hidden weapons and explosives in a cache in Jordan. Hamas had been expelled from Jordan in 1999, shortly after the ascension of King Abdullah II to the throne. 7 “Jordan: Rise in Arrests Restricting Free Speech,” Human Rights Watch, June 17, 2006. CRS-6 After the four Brotherhood parliamentarians were arrested, one was released and the remaining three stood trial before a state security court. During the trial, several journalists testified that two of the three parliamentarians called Zarqawi a martyr. At the sentencing, one member was acquitted for lack of evidence and the two others received sentences of two years and one and a half years respectively, though their sentences were reduced to 13 months shortly thereafter. The case did not draw a great deal of international attention. According to Sarah Leah Whitson, director of the Middle East and North Africa division at Human Rights Watch, “Expressing condolences to the family of a dead man, however murderous he might be, is not a crime.... And it shouldn’t be grounds for prosecution.” Professional Associations Jordan’s 14 professional associations, consisting of approximately 130,000 members, have traditionally been dominated by Islamist and nationalist groups opposed to normalizing relations with Israel or cooperating with U.S. policies on Iraq. The Jordanian government has periodically curtailed the activities of these associations, periodically arresting leaders and curtailing demonstrations. The Military and Security Establishment Many tribal east bank Jordanians or their descendants form the backbone of Jordan’s armed forces and internal security establishment. Most observers agree that with the possible exception of Syria, Jordan faces few conventional threats from its neighbors and that the greatest threats to its security are internal and asymmetrical. In general, counter-terrorism and homeland security policies are carried out by a number of institutions, most notably the security services under direct palace control, the military, and the Interior Ministry. The General Intelligence Directorate (GID) reports directly to King Abdullah II and is responsible for both covert operations abroad and internal security. The military’s elite special forces units also are directly involved in countering threats to internal security and were reportedly used to thwart a chemical weapons plot in April 2004. The Interior Ministry controls all civilian police forces and civil defense units through a branch agency known as the Public Security Directorate (PSD). Reform The reform process in Jordan largely comes from the top down, as King Abdullah II has worked hard at cultivating a progressive image for both himself and the government. Nevertheless, the pace of reforms, particularly democratic reform, remains slow by Western standards, as for every step forward on issues such as women’s rights, economic liberalization, and education, there are steps back on press freedoms and institutional reforms. Jordanian officials have been adamant in insisting that they be allowed to institute social changes at their own pace, asserting that Jordanian society has changed dramatically over the past century from a desert tribal society into a modern nation state. The Jordanian government believes that some portions of its population are suspicious of U.S. intentions in the region and that local leaders would consider some U.S. democratic reform proposals to be antithetical to Jordan’s conservative Islamic and tribal social culture. CRS-7 The Economy Jordan, with few natural resources and a small industrial base, has an economy which is heavily dependent on external aid from abroad, tourism, expatriate worker remittances, and the service sector. Among the longstanding problems Jordan faces are corruption, slow economic growth, and high levels of unemployment, nominally around 15% but thought by many analysts to be in the 25%-30% range.8 Corruption, common in most developing nations, is particularly pronounced in Jordan. Use of intermediaries, referred to in Arabic as “Wasta”(connections), is widespread, and many young Jordanians have grown frustrated by the lack of social and economic mobility that corruption engenders. Each year, thousands of Jordanians go abroad in search of better jobs and opportunities. In recent years, Jordan has experienced solid economic growth, though inflationary pressures (6.26% in 2006), budget deficits, and population growth have worked to minimize some of its benefits. The London-based Economic Intelligence Unit forecasts GDP growth to be close to 5.4% in 2007. High oil prices have impacted the Jordanian economy in different ways. On the one hand, oil booms benefit the families of Jordanians employed in oil-rich nations of the Persian Gulf, as these guest workers have more income to send back home or invest in Jordanian real estate. On the other hand, higher oil prices put enormous pressure on the national budget, since the government subsidizes gas and home heating oil. In 2005, the government enacted several cuts to the fuel subsidy, effectively raising the price of gas in increments ranging from 8% to 59%.9 Although in the past, deep cuts to certain subsidies have led to social unrest, there has been no such reaction from the public thus far. Nevertheless, the government is keenly aware of growing dissatisfaction from rising prices. The situation in Iraq has had a noticeable impact on Jordan’s economy. Since 2003, many observers have dubbed Jordan as the “gateway to Iraq,” as thousands of contractors, businessmen, and foreign officials have used Jordan as a base for their Iraq operations. An estimated 700,000 Iraqis have moved to Jordan since 2003, infusing its economy with new investment, particularly in the real estate sector. In the capital of Amman, new construction is evident and land prices have skyrocketed. 8 One factor that exacerbates the unemployment situation in Jordan is the social stigma attached to menial labor jobs. Referred to as the “culture of shame,” Jordanian tribal traditions look down on certain types of employment such as construction. In fact, the government estimates that there are approximately 300-400 thousand foreign laborers in Jordan working as domestic laborers, bricklayers, and other tasks. 9 Prior to the Iraq War in 2003, Jordan had received oil from Iraq at deeply reduced prices. After Iraqi oil shipments ceased during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Jordan received some oil from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on a temporary basis at discounted rates. In the spring of 2006, Jordan stopped receiving oil discounts from its neighbors forcing it to purchase all of its oil needs (100,000 barrels per day) at international market prices. CRS-8 Water Shortages. Jordan is one of the ten most water deprived countries in the world and is in constant search of new water resources. The Dead Sea, which abuts both Jordan and Israel, is losing water at an estimated three feet per year, and some scientists suggest that without significant action it will be gone by 2050. Jordan has been exploring new water development projects, including the feasibility of pumping water from the Red Sea, desalinating it, and then transferring it down to the Dead Sea. This project, referred to as the Red-Dead Canal, is being studied by the government and international lenders. Current Issues in U.S.-Jordanian Relations Promoting Peace in the Middle East Finding a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the utmost priority of the Jordanian government. Although Jordan joined other neighboring Arab states in a series of military conflicts against Israel between 1948 and 1973, the late King Hussein (ruled 1952-1999) ultimately concluded that peace with Israel was in Jordan’s strategic interests due to Israel’s conventional military superiority, the development of an independent Palestinian national movement that threatened both Jordanian and Israeli security, and Jordan’s support for Saddam Hussein in the first Gulf War which isolated it from the West. Consequently, in 1994 Jordan and Israel signed a peace treaty10, and King Abdullah II has used his country’s semi-cordial official relationship with Israel to improve Jordan’s standing with Western governments and international financial institutions, on which it relies heavily for external support and aid. Nevertheless, the continuation of conflict continues to be a major obstacle to Jordan’s development. The issue of Palestinian rights resonates with much of the population, as more than half of all Jordanian citizens originate from either the West Bank or the pre-1967 borders of Israel. There are an estimated 1.7 million United Nations-registered Palestinian refugees in Jordan, and, while many no longer regard their stay in Jordan as temporary, they have retained their refugee status both as a symbolic sign of support for Palestinians living under Israeli occupation and in hope of being included in any future settlement. Furthermore, for King Abdullah II and the royal Hashemite family, who are of Arab Bedouin descent and rely politically on the support of East Bank tribal families, finding a solution to the conflict is considered 10 Jordan and Israel signed a peace treaty on October 26, 1994. Later, the two countries exchanged ambassadors; Israel returned approximately 131 square miles of territory near the Rift Valley to Jordan; the Jordanian Parliament repealed laws banning contacts with Israel; and the two countries signed a number of bilateral agreements between 1994 and 1996 to normalize economic and cultural links. Water sharing, a recurring problem, was partially resolved in May 1997 when the two countries reached an interim arrangement under which Israel began pumping 72,000 cubic meters of water from Lake Tiberias (the Sea of Galilee) to Jordan per day (equivalent to 26.3 million cubic meters per year — a little over half the target amount envisioned in an annex to the peace treaty). CRS-9 a matter of political survival since the government cannot afford to ignore an issue of critical importance to a majority of its citizens. Opposition to Normalization. King Abdullah’s efforts to normalize relations with Israel have faced significant resistance within Jordan, particularly among Islamic fundamentalist groups, parts of the Palestinian community, and influential trade and professional organizations (see above). Among many mainstream Jordanians, there is some disappointment that peace with Israel has not brought more tangible economic benefits to them so far. Opponents of normalization have repeatedly called on Jordanians to boycott contacts with Israel, and activists among them have compiled two “black lists” of Jordanian individuals and companies that deal with Israel. The Jordanian government has arrested organizers of these lists, but courts have upheld their right to publish them. The Arab Peace Initiative. In 2007, King Abdullah II has revived his efforts to jumpstart negotiations and has attempted to convince U.S. policy makers and Congress to become more actively involved in mediating between Israelis and Palestinians. King Abdullah II is a strong supporter of a Saudi initiative, dubbed the “Arab Peace Initiative,” which calls for Israel's full withdrawal from all occupied territories and the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in exchange for full normalization of relations with all Arab states in the region. In a March 2007 address to a joint session of Congress, King Abdullah II pleaded for U.S. leadership in the peace process, which he called the “core issue in the Middle East.” He suggested that the Arab Peace Initiative is a path to achieve a collective peace treaty. Reportedly, King Abdullah II had planned to visit Israel to address the Knesset (parliament) on the importance of the Arab Peace Initiative, though no date was ever set. (Abdullah II first visited Israel in March 2004). Some analysts believe that the King has hinted in his conversations with Israeli and Western officials that the Arab plan, which officially endorses the repatriation of Palestinian refugees to Israel, is in fact more flexible and that many Arab leaders would support settling the refugee issue through compensation. In May 2007, King Abdullah II met with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in Aqaba, Jordan. The king reportedly reiterated the Arab League’s offer of peace, but also called on Israel to take meaningful measures to improve Palestinians’ livelihood, such as halting Israeli settlement construction. In late June 2007, King Abdullah II is scheduled to attend a “peace summit” in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt in order to expedite regional support for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas following the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip. Countering the Influence of Hamas.11 With the recent ouster of Fatah, the Palestinian faction loyal to moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, from the Gaza Strip, the Jordanian government is determined to stabilize Fatah forces in 11 On August 30, 1999, Jordanian security forces closed offices used by the fundamentalist Palestinian organization Hamas, which the late King Hussein had tolerated to some degree, on the grounds that the offices were registered as businesses but were conducting illegal political activity. In November 1999, authorities announced that the Hamas offices would be closed permanently. CRS-10 the West Bank and prevent Hamas12 from consolidating power there. Since the 2006 Hamas victory in Palestinian Authority legislative elections, the Jordanian government has been placed in a difficult position. Much of its citizenry (with perhaps more than half of Palestinian origin) sympathizes with Hamas, and Jordan's own Islamist party, the Islamic Action Front (IAF) reportedly maintains close ties to Hamas. The IAF has been careful to downplay these ties. According to one recent IAF statement, “Abbas is the legitimate Palestinian president and Hamas's battle should be with the Zionist enemy, not other Palestinians, so we ask them to return to a policy of dialogue and to restore the institutions in Gaza.”13 Iraq Jordan’s Perspective and Influence in Iraq. Jordan’s relations with Iraq during the Saddam Hussein era were strong. In 2003, Jordan publicly opposed military action against Iraq, but it informally and quietly provided logistical support to the U.S.-led campaign to oust Saddam Hussein. Since 2003, Jordanians have repeatedly criticized what they perceive to be the political marginalization of Iraq’s Sunni Arab population. Unlike Iraq’s other neighbors, Jordan has a limited ability to intervene in Iraq’s affairs at present, and, since 2003, Jordanian leaders have been far more concerned with Iraq’s influence on the kingdom’s own politics, trade, and internal security. In August 2006, Jordanian diplomat Ahmed al Lozi became the first accredited Arab ambassador to serve in Iraq since the 2003 U.S. invasion. Iraq reciprocated by announcing shortly thereafter its intention to re-establish direct oil shipments to oil-deprived Jordan at preferential market prices.14 Some of Iraq’s new Shiite leaders view with suspicion Jordan’s former close ties to the Saddam Hussein regime and continuing strong relations with Iraq’s Sunni Arabs. Frictions between Jordan and Iraq continue over the future status of Saddam Hussein’s relatives and former Baath Party officials residing in Jordan as guests of the government.15 Jordan has hosted 12 Some U.S.-Jordanian tension arose in early 2005 over restrictions imposed by the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency on the New York offices of the Jordan-based Arab Bank, which allegedly allowed diversion of funds to families of Palestinians involved in attacks against Israelis. See, Glenn R. Simpson, “U.S. Crackdown On Arab Bank Tangles Policy,” Wall Street Journal, February 28, 2005. Jordanian officials have stressed that in 2006, banks in Jordan are complying with U.S. regulations to ban all financial transactions with Hamas-controlled accounts. 13 “Egypt and Jordan quietly back Abbas, too,” Christian Science Monitor, June 20, 2007. 14 Reportedly, Jordan will receive approximately 10,000-30,000 barrels of oil per day (roughly 10%-30% of their daily consumption) from Iraq, at a price of $10 per barrel. This quantity would increase to 50,000 barrels at a later stage, based on the memorandum of understanding signed between the two countries. 15 King Abdullah granted Saddam’s eldest daughter, Raghdad, and her sister, Rana, asylum on humanitarian grounds after the start of U.S. military operations in 2003. The Iraqi government has placed Raghdad on a list of its 41 most wanted persons and demanded that Raghad be extradited to Iraq to stand trial. Iraqi officials have alleged that members of Saddam Hussein’s family and inner circle currently in Jordan are providing financial and (continued...) CRS-11 and facilitated meetings between U.S. officials and Iraqi leaders aimed at resolving these and other political disputes, including the highly publicized summit in Amman between President Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki in December 2006. Recent reports also suggest that Jordan has facilitated meetings between members of the Sunni Arab-led insurgency and U.S. representatives at the Iraqi Embassy in Amman.16 Looking forward, Jordan would prefer the emergence of a stable Iraq under Sunni Arab control. As this scenario appears unlikely given current circumstances, Jordan seems committed both to supporting the continued presence of U.S. troops in Iraq and the fledgling Iraqi government so long as the latter makes an effort to reintegrate Sunni Arab Iraqis into the military and government and does not become a vehicle for destabilizing Iranian initiatives. Over the long term, the Jordanian government has serious concerns regarding Iraq’s future and the potential deleterious consequences that may arise from wider sectarian warfare within Iraq. As a country with a limited ability to project political or military power in Iraq, it is doubtful that Jordan alone could bring about a compromise solution to Iraq’s sectarian violence and insurgency. Nevertheless, should the Administration heed the main recommendations of the Iraq Study Group (ISG) report and pursue an all out push for Iraqi national reconciliation, Jordan could be useful in serving as one of several symbolic bridges to Iraq’s Sunni community. The ISG report argues that Jordan has the professional capability to train and equip Iraqi military and security forces, and Iraqi-Jordanian tribal ties may facilitate this process should more Sunni Iraqis join Iraq’s army. Under the more grave scenario of a nationwide civil war that draws Iraq’s neighbors into the ongoing conflict, it is extremely unlikely that the Jordanian government would provide support to Sunni militias with possible ties to Al Qaeda. On the other hand, it is plausible that Jordan, along with neighboring Saudi Arabia and other states, could provide financing and materiel support to other elements of Iraq’s Sunni Arab population, including tribally-led and -organized groups or, more controversially, to Iraqis formerly associated with the military, intelligence, or security services of the Saddam Hussein regime. In the event of continuing or widened conflict in Iraq, Jordan also could move to seal its border with Iraq or establish a security zone inside western Iraq in order to insulate itself from any spillover of violence or destabilizing refugee flows. Jordan’s Role in Iraqi Reconstruction. Since mid-2003, Jordan has made modest contributions to Iraq’s stability that have been widely interpreted as symbolic 15 (...continued) media support to the insurgency in Iraq in an effort to revitalize the Baath Party in Iraq. 16 According to Saad al Hayani, Iraq’s Ambassador to Jordan, “Two large meetings happened here in the embassy.... They included leaders from the last government, the Baathists, and the old Army. They were offered the opportunity to participate in the political situation if their hands were clean. The meetings were successful and necessary and beneficial.” See “Quiet U.S. Bid to Talk to Iraqi Insurgents,”Christian Science Monitor, December 7, 2006. CRS-12 attempts to cooperate with U.S. rebuilding efforts and to minimize the negative consequences for Jordan of instability in Iraq. The centerpiece of Jordan’s stabilization efforts remains the Jordan International Police Training Center (JIPTC) located outside of the capital city of Amman, which has prepared more than 50,000 Iraqi cadets since 2003 with the support of approximately $100 million in annual U.S. funding. According to allied coalition officials, Jordan also has donated military and police equipment to support the new Iraqi security forces.17 Jordan also operates a field hospital in Fallujah, in Anbar province. Al Qaeda-Inspired Terrorism and the Sunni Insurgency. As violence continues unabated in Iraq, Jordan continues to be both a source of foreign fighters joining the Sunni insurgency and a target of Al Qaeda-inspired terrorist groups. The industrial town of Zarqa, several miles northeast of Amman, has been well documented as a source of Sunni militancy, as dozens of its young men have traveled to Iraq to die as suicide bombers. According to one Islamist community leader in Zarqa, “Most of the young people here in Zarqa are very religious.... And when they see the news and what is going on in the Islamic countries, they themselves feel that they have to go to fight jihad. Today, you don’t need anyone to tell the young men that they should go to jihad. They themselves want to be martyrs.”18 Potential threats from transnational terrorism also dominates Jordan’s Iraq policy agenda. Despite the killing of Jordanian terrorist mastermind Abu Musab al Zarqawi in June 2006 by U.S. and Iraqi forces (reportedly with assistance from Jordanian intelligence), the threat of Al Qaeda-affiliated or inspired terrorists using Iraq’s predominately Sunni Al Anbar Province as a launching pad to destabilize Jordan remains high. On November 9, 2005, near simultaneous explosions at three Western-owned hotels in Amman killed 58 persons and seriously wounded approximately 100 others. Al Qaeda in Iraq claimed responsibility for the attacks. In late 2006, Jordanian intelligence authorities thwarted a potential bomb attack against foreign tourists traveling through Queen Alia Airport in Amman. Several of the convicted conspirators were Iraqis, and one of the ringleaders of the plot reportedly had sought to place a bomb in a sports bag using the explosive PE-4A which is used by insurgents in Iraq.19 Iraqi Refugees in Jordan. Iraqis have perceived Jordan as an escape from violence, as some foreign officials estimate that 800,000 Iraqis have fled to Jordan over the last three years.20 For a small, relatively poor country such as Jordan, this population influx is creating profound changes in Jordan’s economy and society. Jordan’s banking and real estate sectors are soaring with the increased demand for housing and the influx of capital from middle class expatriate Iraqis. On the other 17 Jordanian supplied equipment reportedly includes 250 Ukranian-built BTR-94 armored personnel carriers (APCs), 100 British Spartan APCs, and U.S. M113A1 APCs, along with 2 C-130BHercules transport aircraft and 16 UH-1H utility helicopters. 18 “In Jihadist Haven, a Goal: To Kill and Die in Iraq,” New York Times, May 4, 2007. 19 “Militants Widen Reach as Terror Seeps Out of Iraq,” New York Times, May 28, 2007. 20 The Jordanian government contracted with a Norwegian organization (the Applied Science Institute) to carry out a census of Iraqis living in Jordan. CRS-13 hand, inflation is rapidly rising, and there have been anecdotal reports of increased tension between Jordanian citizens and Iraqi refugees due to the strains placed on social services by a near 20% increase in the country’s population in a short period of time. Some reports indicate that Sunni-Shiite tensions may be simmering below the surface in Jordan, an overwhelming Sunni Arab state whose East Bank inhabitants have strong tribal ties to Sunni Iraqis. At this time, it is unclear whether displaced Iraqis will become a permanent fixture in Jordan or will return to Iraq if, or when, violence subsides. According to a U.S. State Department-conducted survey of Iraqi refugees in Jordan, “Nearly all [Iraqi] participants say they would return to Iraq if the security situation alone improved — even with continued problems in basic services or lack of job opportunities.”21 Other Iraqis may be using Jordan as a gateway for obtaining residency/asylum in the West. The Jordanian government classifies displaced Iraqis living in Jordan as “visitors” or “guests,” not refugees, as Jordan does not have a domestic refugee law, nor is it a party to the 1951 UN refugees’ convention.22 Iraqis who are able to deposit $150,000 in Amman banks are granted residency almost instantly,23 while the vast majority of Iraqis in Jordan have become illegal aliens due to the expiration of their visitor visas.24 According to a recent Human Rights Watch report on Iraqi refugees in Jordan, “Jordan has not enforced immigration laws against overstayers in a consistent manner. Yet, none of the Iraqis interviewed complained of police irregularities, and many Iraqis even praised the police as treating them humanely and without discrimination even though they are working and residing illegally.”25 In February 2007, Jordan tightened its immigration laws, requiring that all Iraqis entering Jordan possess the newly-issued G-Series passports, a costly and difficult item to obtain from the Iraqi government. Most Iraqis possess older passports and many entered Jordan after obtaining forged documents. In May 2007, Jordanian government officials said that border authorities will continue to accept old Iraqi Sseries passports until the end of 2007. 21 “Iraqi Refugees in Jordan Await Stability before Returning,” Office of Research, Opinion Analysis, U.S. Department of State, February 28, 2007. 22 According to the UNHCR’s representative in Jordan, Robert Breen, “The term ‘refugee’ has political implications for the government and Iraqis because of the Palestinian question.... Most Iraqis, who represent a very diverse group here, don’t view themselves as refugees.” See, “Uncertain Future for Jordan’s ‘Guests,’” Financial Times, March 12, 2007. 23 One foreign official noted that, “The impression of many Jordanians is that the Iraqis here are all wealthy ... and that they are the cause of the inflation and the rising cost of prices in Jordan.” See “Iraqi Refugees Spill into Jordan, Driving Up Prices,” Christian Science Monitor, November 29, 2006. 24 Many Iraqis in Jordan lack valid residency permits or visas altogether. “Uneasy Havens Await Those Who Flee Iraq,” New York Times, December 8, 2006. 25 “‘The Silent Treatment,’ Fleeing Iraq, Surviving in Jordan,” Human Rights Watch, Volume 18, No.10 (E), November 2006. CRS-14 Terrorism Jordan is a key partner in fighting international Islamic terrorist groups, as its main intelligence organization, the General Intelligence Directorate (GID), is considered one of the most effective organizations in the region at infiltrating Jihadist networks. Jordanian intelligence reportedly played a role in assisting U.S. forces in killing Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the fugitive Jordanian terrorist mastermind who headed the Al Qaeda in Iraq organization until his death in June 2006. Jordan’s cooperative relationship with the United States has made it vulnerable to terrorist attacks, particularly from organizations operating from Iraq. On November 9, 2005, near simultaneous explosions at three western-owned hotels in Amman (the Radisson, Grand Hyatt, and Days Inn) killed 58 persons and seriously wounded approximately 100 others. The terrorist organization Al-Qaeda in Iraq, formerly headed by Zarqawi, claimed responsibility for the act. Many Jordanians, even some who disagree with their government’s support for U.S. Middle East policies, have condemned the hotel bombings, which killed many Jordanians, and denounced Zarqawi’s actions. King Abdullah has said the attacks were aimed at ordinary Jordanians, not foreigners, noting that the hotels, though western owned, were frequented by local citizens. On November 15, 2005, Jordan’s Minister of the Interior announced new security regulations designed to keep foreign militants from operating covertly in Jordan, including a requirement for Jordanians to notify authorities within 48 hours of renting an apartment or a house to foreigners. An official of the Interior Ministry also said Jordan had already begun drafting new and tougher anti-terrorism laws which are currently under debate in parliament. Other recent terrorist activity in Jordan include the following: ! On October 28, 2002, Lawrence Foley, a U.S. diplomat assigned to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) program in Jordan, was shot and killed by an unknown assailant as Foley was leaving for work. A Jordanian military court convicted and sentenced to death eight Islamic militants linked to Al Qaeda and presumably involved in the Foley murder; the court sentenced two others to jail terms and acquitted one defendant. Six of the eight sentenced to death were tried in absentia, including Zarqawi, and two more were executed on March 11, 2006. ! In April 2004, Jordanian authorities reportedly uncovered a plot by a terrorist cell linked to Zarqawi which planned to launch a chemical attack in the Jordanian capital of Amman. According to press reports, in January 2004, one of the would-be perpetrators visited Iraq, where he obtained $170,000, which Zarqawi had collected from Syrian donors to pay for the attack. The plot was reportedly foiled by Jordanian police and elite special forces units in a series of operations in Amman. ! On August 19, 2005, rockets apparently aimed at two U.S. amphibious warfare ships visiting the Jordanian port of Aqaba narrowly missed their targets, one hitting a nearby warehouse and CRS-15 another landing near a hospital; a third rocket struck near the airport at the neighboring Israeli port of Eilat. A Jordanian soldier was killed and another injured in the attack. There were two claims of responsibility, both from groups believed to be affiliated with bin Laden or his (now deceased) associate, Zarqawi. ! On September 4, 2006, a lone gunman opened fire on a group of Western tourists visiting the historic Roman amphitheater in downtown Amman, killing a British man and wounding six others, including a Jordanian policeman. The assailant was a 38-year old Jordanian named Nabeel Jaoura, who claimed his attack was in retaliation for the murder of his two brothers in 1982 at the hands of Israeli soldiers during the war in southern Lebanon. According to the New York Times, Jaoura had worked in Israel, where he was arrested two years ago for overstaying his visa. Jordanian security officials believe his incarceration may have further radicalized him.26 Allegations of Torture. In July 2006, the human rights group Amnesty International accused the Jordanian security establishment of torturing terrorist suspects on behalf of the United States government. Amnesty International identified 10 suspected cases of men subjected to rendition from U.S. custody to interrogation centers in Jordan.27 A second report, released by Human Rights Watch in September 2006, claimed that Jordan’s General Intelligence Department (GID) carries out arbitrary arrests and abuses suspects in its own detention facility. The report studied the cases of 16 men whom the GID had arrested and found that in 14 of the 16 cases, detainees were tortured or ill-treated. In response, the GID denied any wrongdoing. Finally, in a January 2007 report, Manfred Nowak, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment concluded that “the practice of torture persists in Jordan because of a lack of awareness of the problem, and because of institutionalized impunity.” U.S. Aid, Trade, and Military Cooperation U.S. Foreign Assistance to Jordan The United States has provided economic and military aid, respectively, to Jordan since 1951 and 1957. Total U.S. aid to Jordan through 2006 amounted to approximately $9.5 billion. Levels of aid have fluctuated, increasing in response to threats faced by Jordan and decreasing during periods of political differences or worldwide curbs on aid funding. The United States has markedly increased its aid to Jordan since the mid-1990s to help Jordan strengthen its economy, maintain domestic stability, and pursue normalization with Israel. Between FY1998 and FY2002, annual U.S. economic and military aid levels to Jordan were approximately 26 “Typical of a New Terror Threat: Anger of a Gunman in Jordan,” New York Times, September 6, 2006. 27 “Group: Jordan Tortures Suspects for U.S.,” Associated Press, July 24, 2006. CRS-16 $150 million and $75 million, respectively. However, after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, aid to Jordan increased significantly. Further increases in U.S. aid to Jordan began in FY2003, in view of Jordan’s support for the war against terrorism and U.S. operations in Iraq. Since FY2003, Jordan’s total assistance package has averaged over $762 million per fiscal year. This higher figure is due in part to large allocations for Jordan in subsequent supplemental appropriations acts (a total of $1.4 billion since FY2003). In addition to the preceding funds specifically earmarked for Jordan, three recent emergency supplemental bills have contained funds to reimburse Pakistan, Jordan, and other key cooperation states for logistical expenses in support of U.S. military operations. Table 2 shows U.S. levels of U.S. assistance to Jordan since 1990. H.R. 2764, the FY2008 State, Foreign operations, and related programs Appropriations bill would fully fund the President’s request for Jordan, in addition to providing $2.5 million ( $1,000,000 above the request) in International CounterNarcotics and Law Enforcement funds. Economic Assistance. For FY2008, the Administration has requested $263 million in ESF for Jordan, a slight increase from previous levels. The United States provides economic aid to Jordan as both a cash transfer and for USAID programs in Jordan. The Jordanian government uses cash transfers to service its foreign debt. Approximately 45% of Jordan’s ESF allotment each year goes towards the cash transfer. USAID programs in Jordan focus on a variety of sectors including democracy assistance, water preservation, and education. In 2007, U.S. democracy funds are being expended on technical assistance programs for upcoming municipal and national parliamentary elections. In the water sector, the bulk of U.S. economic assistance is devoted to optimizing the management of scarce water resources, as Jordan is one of the most water-deprived countries in the world. USAID is currently subsidizing several waste treatment and water distribution projects in the Jordanian cities of Amman, Aqaba, and Irbid. In the education sector, USAID is proposing to spend $45 million in ESF in FY2008, up from $12 million in FY2006. Military Assistance. The FY2008 budget request includes $200 million for the Jordanian military, close to the same amount it has received over the past several fiscal years. U.S. military assistance is primarily directed toward upgrading Jordan’s air force, as recent purchases include upgrades to U.S.-made F-16 fighters, air-to-air missiles, and radar systems. FMF grants also provide financing for Jordan’s purchase of U.S. Blackhawk helicopters in order to enhance Jordan’s border monitoring and counter-terror capability. Jordan is eligible in FY2008 to receive U.S. Excess Defense Articles (EDA) under section 516 of the Foreign Assistance Act. FY2007 Supplemental Assistance. In May 2007, Congress approved H.R. 2206, the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act, 2007. This bill mirrored an earlier supplemental package which was vetoed by the President (H.R. 1591). It contained $80 million in supplemental assistance to Jordan. Of that total, appropriators set aside $10 million to assist Jordanian communities which have experienced a large influx of Iraqi refugees. The rest of the assistance was designated for military and counter-terrorism aid. CRS-17 Millennium Challenge Account. In FY2006, Jordan was listed by the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) as a threshold country in the lower middle-income bracket. Although this designation does not qualify Jordan for immediate assistance, as a threshold country, Jordan could receive small grants to help it improve underperforming areas so that Jordan would be more competitive for Millenium Challenge Account (MCA) funding in future years. The MCC evaluated the Jordanian government’s reform efforts before deciding whether it qualifies for MCC threshold assistance. If the MCC were to conclude that Jordanian democratic reforms have been sufficient, Jordan could then receive threshold assistance in FY2007. These funds may be used to accelerate domestic reforms to allow Jordan to qualify for the MCC’s larger Compact funding program. MCC Compact grants may be as large as several hundred million dollars. On September 12, 2006, the MCC’s Board of Directors approved up to $25 million in Threshold Program assistance for Jordan. The MCC funds will be used to support Jordan’s reform efforts in increasing government transparency and accountability and enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of customs administration. According to the MCC, the Jordan Threshold Program will, among other things, provide technical assistance and training to increase participation in local elections and institute programs to improve relations and collaboration among municipalities, citizens, and the private sector in 9 of Jordan’s 99 municipalities.28 USAID is the main U.S. government agency charged with implementing the Jordan Threshold Program. Trade Jordan ranked 70th among U.S. trading partners in volume of trade with the United States in 2005, about the same as its ranking of 69th in 2004. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Jordan’s imports from the United States increased from $317 million to $643 million between 2000 and 2005, and Jordan’s exports to the United States increased even more notably from $73 million to $1,267 million during the same period. Principal U.S. commodities imported by Jordan consisted of aircraft parts, machinery and appliances, vehicles, and cereals, while Jordan’s main exports to the United States included clothing and accessories, precious stones, and precious metals. Two recent measures, in particular, have helped expand U.S.Jordanian trade ties and could create more opportunities for U.S. investment in Jordan. Free Trade Agreement. On October 24, 2000, then President Clinton and King Abdullah witnessed the signing of a U.S.-Jordanian Free Trade Agreement, which eliminated duties and commercial barriers to bilateral trade in goods and services originating in the two countries. Earlier, in a report released on September 26, 2000, the U.S. International Trade Commission concluded that a U.S.-Jordan Free Trade Agreement would have no measurable impact on total U.S. imports or exports, U.S. production, or U.S. employment. Under the agreement, the two 28 See MCC Jordan Fact Sheet, “Jordan and Millennium Challenge Corporation: Strengthening Democratic Institutions,” September 12, 2006. Available at [http://www.mca.gov/public_affairs/fact_sheets/Jordan_tp_fact_sheet.shtml]. CRS-18 countries agreed to enforce existing laws concerning worker rights and environmental protection. On January 6, 2001, then-President Clinton transmitted to the 107th Congress a proposal to implement the Free Trade Agreement. On July 23, then-U.S. Trade Representative Zoellick and then-Jordanian Ambassador Marwan Muasher exchanged letters pledging that the two sides would “make every effort” to resolve disputes without recourse to sanctions and other formal procedures. These letters were designed to allay concerns on the part of some Republican Members over the possible use of sanctions to enforce labor and environmental provisions of the treaty. President Bush signed H.R. 2603, which implemented the FTA as P.L. 107-43 on September 28, 2001, during King Abdullah’s visit to Washington following the September 11, 2001, attacks. For additional information, see CRS Report RL30652, U.S.-Jordan Free Trade Agreement, by Mary Jane Bolle. Qualifying Industrial Zones. An outgrowth of the Jordanian-Israeli peace treaty was the establishment of “Qualifying Industrial Zones” (QIZs), under which goods produced with specified levels of Jordanian and Israeli input can enter the United States duty free, under the provisions of P.L. 104-234. This act amended previous legislation so as to grant the President authority to extend the U.S.-Israel free trade area to cover products from QIZs between Israel and Jordan or between Israel and Egypt. QIZs were designed both to help the Jordanian economy and to serve as a vehicle for expanding commercial ties between Jordan and Israel. Although QIZs have succeeded in boosting U.S.-Jordanian trade, there has been only a modest increase in Jordanian-Israeli trade. Currently there are 11-13 QIZs in Jordan employing approximately 55,000 people (working 8 hour days/6 days a week), 69% of whom are foreign workers from South East Asian nations like Pakistan, India, Banghladesh, and Sri Lanka. In general, foreign laborers are generally viewed as more skilled and productive than local Jordanians. In addition, it is difficult for employers to recruit local Jordanians since workers typically live on site, and many are hesitant to separate from their families, though in some areas local Jordanians are provided with free transportation to the QIZs. Sweat Shop Allegations. On May 3, 2006, the National Labor Committee (NLC), a New York-based human rights advocacy group, issued a 161-page report alleging sweatshop-like conditions in 28 out of 100 Qualified Industrial Zone (QIZ) plants in Jordan. Jordan’s trade minister Sharif Zu’bi subsequently acknowledged that the government had failed in some instances to enforce its own labor laws and has taken action since to close down factories in violation of the law. The NLC has recognized the government’s recent actions, though it has suggested that violations of worker rights may continue in smaller factories. Foreign companies with operations inside QIZs must provide food and housing for workers. Conditions in worker dormitories are reportedly inspected by retail garment buyers, and the Jordanian government provides medical clinics and security for the zones. For additional information, see CRS Report RS22002, Qualifying Industrial Zones in Jordan: A Model for Promoting Peace and Stability in the Middle East?, by Mary Jane Bolle, Alfred Prados, and Jeremy Sharp. CRS-19 Military Cooperation Military Sales. The United States is helping Jordan modernize its armed forces, which have been the traditional mainstay of the regime. The Jordanian military forces, though well trained and disciplined, are outnumbered and outgunned by each of Jordan’s neighboring forces. In recent years, Jordan has used U.S. military assistance grants to purchase Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles, upgrades for its fleet of F-16 fighters (approximately 70-80), and BlackHawk helicopters. The United States also delivered three Patriot anti-missile batteries to Jordan in early 2003 prior to the start of U.S. military operations in Iraq. Table 1. Recent Foreign Military Sales to Jordan Fiscal Year Weapon System $ Value of Sale Prime Contractor FY2006 National Command & Control System $450 million Northrop Grumman Corporation FY2006 Black Hawk Helicopters $60 million Sikorsky Co. and General Electric FY2006 Armored Personnel Carriers $156 million Source: Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) BAE Company Joint Exercises and Training. A U.S.-Jordanian Joint Military Commission has functioned since 1974. More than 300 Jordanian military personnel study in the United States each year.Combined training exercises by U.S. and Jordanian military units continue to take place in Jordan ( dubbed “Early Victor”), at least on an annual basis and sometimes more often. The above-mentioned courses conducted by Jordan for Iraqi military personnel are reportedly being funded by the United States under a program called the New Iraqi Army Training Project.29 In addition, the United Stas has supported the construction of the King Abdullah II Center for Special Operations Training. The Center, which has been partially financed by the United States including with $99 million in appropriations from the FY2005 Emergency Supplemental Act (P.L. 109-13), will serve as a regional headquarters for counter-terrorism training. In 2003, Jordan built a Special Operations Command and the Anti-Terrorism Center in order to boost counterterrorism capabilities within the military. Other Activities. Under the provisions of Section 517 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 as amended, then President Clinton designated Jordan as a major non-NATO ally of the United States, effective on November 13, 1996. According to a State Department spokesman, this status “makes Jordan eligible for priority consideration for transfer of excess defense articles, the use of already appropriated military assistance funds for procurement through commercial leases, the stockpiling of U.S. military material, and the purchase of depleted uranium munitions.” 29 Riad Kahwaji, “Forging a New Iraqi Army — in Jordan,” Defense News, February 9, 2004, p.8. CRS-20 According to U.S. and Jordanian officials, Jordan has deployed two military hospitals to Afghanistan and Iraq, respectively, and has committed almost 600 health care professionals to the two facilities. Both facilities provide critical health care to numerous patients, including civilians. The hospital in Afghanistan cares for more than 650 patients a day, having treated more than 500,000 since it was first deployed in December 2001. The one in Iraq has treated more than four million people, and surgeons have performed 1,638 operations. Jordan also regularly contributes peacekeeping forces to United Nations missions abroad. In November 2006, a Jordanian United Nations peacekeeping patrol in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, was killed while on patrol. Jordan has about 1,500 troops in the Brazilian-led U.N. force, which includes more than 8,000 soldiers and police supported by some 1,000 civilian personnel. Two other Jordanian soldiers were killed in January 2006. Section 574(a) of P.L. 108-447, the Foreign Operations Appropriations Act, FY2005, bans ESF funds to governments that are party to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and have not concluded an agreement with the United States preventing the ICC from proceeding against U.S. personnel present in the country concerned. This act contains waiver authority in the case of NATO or major non-NATO allies of the United States. A similar provision is contained in Section 574(a) of P.L. 109102, the Foreign Operations Appropriations Act, FY2006. Jordan signed such an agreement with the United States on December 16, 2004; however, the Jordanian lower house of parliament rejected the agreement during a special session of parliament on July 14, 2005. Subsequently, on August 29, 2005, President Bush issued Presidential Determination (PD) 2005-33 waiving the ban with respect to Jordan for six months. (The President had issued an earlier six-month waiver on February 10, 2005, though PD-2005-20.) On January 8, 2006, however, the lower house reversed its July 2005 vote and endorsed the measure granting immunity from ICC prosecution to U.S. personnel and U.S. employees working in Jordan. The bill had already been endorsed by the upper house, paving the way for the King’s signature. CRS-21 Table 2. Annual U.S. Aid to Jordan Since the Gulf Crisis ($ in millions) Fiscal Year (FY) 1991 1992 1993c 1994d 1995 1996 1997f 1998f 1999 1999 (Wye) 2000 2000 (Wye) 2001 2002 2002 (Suppl.) 2003 2003 (Suppl.) 2004 2004 (Suppl.) 2005 2005 (Suppl.) 2006 2006 (Suppl.) 2007i 2007 (Suppl.) Economic Assistance EconSpt 35.0a 30.0b 5.0 9.0 7.2 7.2 112.2 150.0 150.0 50.0 150.0 50.0 150.0 150.0 100.0 250.0 700.0 250.0 100.0 250.0 100.0 247.5 50.0 245.0 10.3 Food 0 20.0 30.0 15.0 15.0 21.0 2.6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Devel 0 0 0 4.0 6.7 7.9 4.5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Military Assistance PeaceCp 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.1 1.2 1.4 0 1.7 0 1.7 1.6 0 1.0 0 2.3 0 1.6 0 1.6 0 0 0 FMF* 20.0a 20.0b 9.0 9.0 7.3 200.0e 30.0 75.0g 70.0g 50.0 75.0 150.0 75.0 75.0 25.0 198.0 406.0 206.0 0 206.0 100.0 207.9 0 206.0 45.0 IMET** 1.3 .6 .5 .8 1.0 1.2 1.7 1.6 1.6 0 1.6 0 1.7 2.0 0 2.4 0 2.9 0 3.0 0 3.0 0 3.1 0 Totals 56.30 70.60 44.50 37.80 37.20 237.30 152.10 227.80 223.00 100.00 228.30 200.00h 228.40 228.60 125.00 451.40 1,106.00 461.20 100.00 460.60 200.00 460.00 50.00 454.10 55.3j Note: These figures do not include debt relief subsidy appropriations or small amounts for de-mining assistance. Nor do they include supplemental funding requested by the Clinton Administration in FY2001 (never acted upon by Congress). *Foreign Military Financing **International Military Education and Training Program a. Suspended in April 1991 under P.L. 102-27; released in early 1993. b. Released in late July 1993. c. Restrictions on FY1993 funds waived by Presidential Determination (PD) 93-39, Sept. 17, 1993. d. FY1994 funds released by PD 94-11, Jan. 13, 1994, waiving restrictions under P.L. 103-87. e. Three components: $30 million (Administration’s original request); $70 million in additional FMF under FY1996 appropriation (P.L. 104-134) to cover balance of F-16 aircraft package; and $100 million in special drawdown authority (P.L. 104-107). f. These figures include $100 million in economic assistance under the President’s Middle East Peace and Stability Fund ($100 million in FY1997, $116 million in FY1998). g. For each of these two years, FMF figure includes $25 million in drawdown authority. h. Some of these funds were obligated in later years (FY2001 or FY2002). i. Administration’s request. j. Total FY2007 supplemental aid to Jordan was $85.3 million. The above chart does not include $25 million in NADR funds crsphpgw