Jordan and the Arab Uprisings

Regime Survival and Politics Beyond the State

Curtis R. Ryan

Columbia University Press

Jordan and the Arab Uprisings

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Pub Date: June 2018

ISBN: 9780231186278

296 Pages

Format: Paperback

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Pub Date: June 2018

ISBN: 9780231186261

296 Pages

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Pub Date: June 2018

ISBN: 9780231546560

296 Pages

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Jordan and the Arab Uprisings

Regime Survival and Politics Beyond the State

Curtis R. Ryan

Columbia University Press

In 2011, as the Arab uprisings spread across the Middle East, Jordan remained more stable than any of its neighbors. Despite strife at its borders and an influx of refugees connected to the Syrian civil war and the rise of ISIS, as well as its own version of the Arab Spring with protests and popular mobilization demanding change, Jordan managed to avoid political upheaval. How did the regime survive in the face of the pressures unleashed by the Arab uprisings? What does its resilience tell us about the prospects for reform or revolutionary change?

In Jordan and the Arab Uprisings, Curtis R. Ryan explains how Jordan weathered the turmoil of the Arab Spring. Crossing divides between state and society, government and opposition, Ryan analyzes key features of Jordanian politics, including Islamist and leftist opposition parties, youth movements, and other forms of activism, as well as struggles over elections, reform, and identity. He details regime survival strategies, laying out how the monarchy has held out the possibility of reform while also seeking to coopt and contain its opponents. Ryan demonstrates how domestic politics were affected by both regional unrest and international support for the regime, and how regime survival and security concerns trumped hopes for greater change. While the Arab Spring may be over, Ryan shows that political activism in Jordan is not, and that struggles for reform and change will continue. Drawing on extensive fieldwork and interviews with a vast range of people, from grassroots activists to King Abdullah II, Jordan and the Arab Uprisings is a definitive analysis of Jordanian politics before, during, and beyond the Arab uprisings.
I know of few analysts who understand the Kingdom of Jordan better than Curtis Ryan. Here he has provided an invaluable look into how this small nation, nestled in one of the most tumultuous regions in the world, has managed not only to remain stable and thrive, but to rise as a major power in the Middle East. Reza Aslan, author of Zealot and God: A Human History
Jordan and the Arab Uprisings is a masterful analysis of Jordan’s domestic complexities—cultural, political, and economic—ever mindful of the impact of regional events. The description of identity politics is insightful, as is the description of issues that activate political movements. With discernment Ryan notes continuity and change as he unfolds the Jordan that exists today and provides wisdom for understanding what may follow. Edward "Skip" Gnehm, U.S. Ambassador to Jordan, 2001-2004
Ryan argues that Jordan did have an uprising beginning in 2011, and that fact that it took a different path from some of the other states does not mean that Jordan was exceptional. Jordan is often treated merely as a case of “regime survival,” but Ryan unpacks how the regime maneuvered on multiple fronts during its uprising. His expertise as a scholar of both international relations and comparative politics enables him to advance an innovative argument with theoretical import well beyond a case study. Jillian Schwedler, Hunter College, CUNY
Preface and Acknowledgments
List of Abbreviations
1. Continuity and Change Amid the Arab Uprisings
2. The Arab Spring Protests in Jordan
3. Political Parties and the “Traditional” Opposition
4. The Hirak and Changes in Political Activism
5. Identity Politics, Real and Imagined
6. Struggles Over Elections and Electoral Systems
7. Rebooting Reform
8. War, Refugees, and Regional Insecurity
9. Jordanian Politics Beyond the Arab Uprisings
Notes
Bibliography
Index

About the Author

Curtis R. Ryan is professor of political science at Appalachian State University in North Carolina. He is the author of Jordan in Transition: From Hussein to Abdullah (2002) and Inter-Arab Alliances: Regime Security and Jordanian Foreign Policy (2009).