"The death of King Hussein on February 7, 1999, removed a strong U.S. ally and force for stability; however, most observers believe his son and successor, King Abdullah, will continue the late King's moderate and prowestern policies. In recent years, Jordan has taken significant steps toward building democratic life. Relatively free elections to the 80- member parliament were held in 1989 and 1993. Much of the opposition, including the fundamentalist Islamic Action Group (IAF), boycotted the 1997 elections over press restrictions and alleged attempts by the government to by-pass parliament. The IAF did participate in municipal elections in July 1999, and parliament has eased restrictions in laws affecting the press. […] In each of the four fiscal years 1998 through 2001, Jordan has received approximately $225 million in annual U.S. assistance. The same amounts are contained in H.R. 2506, the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill for FY2002. The conference report for H.R. 2506 (H.Rept. 107-345, December 19, 2001) was agreed to by the House and Senate, respectively, on December 19 and 20, 2001, and signed by the President as P.L. 107-115 on January 10, 2001. The Administration is seeking to double U.S. assistance to Jordan in FY2003 in view of Jordanian support to the anti-terrorism campaign. Several alternative scenarios could develop in Jordan: a continuation of the current course toward democracy under the present regime; a return to a more autocratic political system; or fundamental changes in the character or configuration of the Jordanian state. Steady democratic growth under the present regime would probably offer the best prospects of supporting U.S. interests."
CRS Issue Brief for Congress, IB93085