Democracy in Jordan: An Authentic Aspiration or Imperialist Imposition? Open Access

Healy, Mary Kathryn (Spring 2020)

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The United States has had a long and complicated political history with the Middle East region spanning from the Barbary Wars to more recent democracy building efforts in the region. This project tackles the issue of democracy building in Jordan by the United States, questioning the real motives behind these efforts, whether they align with the goals of Jordanian political actors, and whether they have created any material change to Jordan’s political realities. Jordan has played a key role in American foreign policy in the Middle East because of its stability, relatively moderate stance to the state of Israel, and geographic positioning. Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, the U.S. has partnered with Jordan in anti-terrorism efforts and has diverted large sums of money to promote democracy in Jordan. This project examines the ways in which the United States has allocated these funds and the actual work that is being done by U.S.-based organizations. It studies how these projects are situated in the larger relationship between the United States and Jordan and the actual effects that they have on Jordanian democratic processes. It compares these efforts to those of the Jordanian government, political parties, civil society movements, and popular protests to promote democracy. By framing this comparison with an in-depth analysis of Jordan’s history, its relationship to Western powers, the nature of its civil society, and its relationship to the United States, this paper uses qualitative analysis to critically examine the utilitarian value of U.S. democracy building efforts in Jordan.

Table of Contents

Introduction                                                                                                                                   1

Chapter 1: Jordan: A Colonial Product and International Oddity                                       8

Chapter 2: The Tensions Between Government and Civil Society in Jordan                    25

Chapter 3: Democracy-Promotion in Jordan: An Introduction                                           38

Chapter 4: Democracy-Promotion in Jordan by the United States                                     49

Chapter 5: Democracy Promotion in Jordan by Jordanian Actors                                       68

Chapter 6: Conclusion: The State of Democracy Building in Jordan                                  91

Bibliography                                                                                                                              100

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