Consolidation of Jordanian national identity: “rethinking internal unrest and external challenges in shaping Jordanian identity and foreign policy”

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2007
Köprülü, Nur
This thesis analyzes the impact of two external challenges, the Palestinian dimension and the outbreak of al-Aqsa intifada, and the US war in Iraq in transforming the politics of identity in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The Kingdom of Jordan, created as a part of post-war settlement in 1921, considered as the most ‘artifical’ among all the states in the Middle East that has been successfully consolidated. Since Jordan was not the ancestral land of Hashemite family, the establishment of the Kingdom of Jordan posited the country at the core of discussions on identity and nation-building. In addition, the identity formation in Jordan offers a case that can easily be found in most parts of the Middle East where multiple sub-state and supra-state identities demarcate and shape the formulation of popular loyalties. Given the historical and political linkage that has closely bound Jordanian and Palestinian entities, Jordanian political history as a separate entity has for the most part coincided with Palestinian national movement. The Palestinian issue has become central to Jordan’s politics of identity particularly with Jordan’s annexation of the West Bank in 1950 and the incorporation of the Palestinians into Jordanian society. The huge influx of Palestinian community led to the emergence of an ‘ethnic division’ between the East Bankers (native Jordanians) and the West Bankers (Palestinian origin Jordanians). Since the annexation of the West Bank territories, the Kingdom opted to build a hybrid Jordanian identity to integrate Palestinian descents into Jordan. Jordan has lately caught between two external challenges across its western and eastern borders. The outbreak of the al-Aqsa intifada in 2000 and the US war in Iraq in 2003 have devastatingly transformed Jordan’s identity formation. The ‘Jordan First, Arab Second’ Campaign constitutes regime’s primary response to cope with these regional crises. The ‘Jordan First’ initiative epitomizes a new era in the Kingdom, not only for re-building Jordanian norms and expectations, but also helps to notice the de-liberalizing efforts of the monarchy to contain and demolish any kind of opposition posed by domestic unrest. These two external disturbances will, therefore, help to illustrate that a causal relationship between identity and foreign policy can be drawn in the case of Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

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Citation Formats
N. Köprülü, “Consolidation of Jordanian national identity: “rethinking internal unrest and external challenges in shaping Jordanian identity and foreign policy”,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2007.