- In-Country Power
- International Power
- Military Strength
- Special Skill: Consummating that Queen
- Official Title: King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
- Government: Monarchy
- Years Left in Office: Life
- Political Classification: Center-right
- Education: Hung out at Georgetown University & Oxford
- Age: 57 (born January 30, 1962)
King Abdullah II Facts and Information
- King Abdullah II of Jordan is a totally unrelated, different, younger dude than King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia
- King Abdullah II is western-schooled, western-trained, and most importantly, a huge ally of the US and Team West
- King Abdullah II is Arab, Islamic, and monarchic….but pretty progressive and open to change.
- King Abdullah II has his hands full right now: opening his political system, while trying to stave off more radical Islamic elements and fired up republican types
- Only active head of state anywhere in the world to have appeared on Star Trek
Stardate 49485.2. The USS Voyager, lost in space, counted amongst its crew a very familiar-looking science officer slash Middle East monarch and if you’re on this page, geniuses, than you know it must be this fella:
Yes, yes, yes….he is actually, and really, the King of Jordan, but, more importantly, he was on freakin’ Star Trek. Need we say more? No, we’re not making this up. The royal Trekkie is the real deal. Beam this shizzle up:
Some call him “the Little King Who Can.” Coming into power in 2000 (around the same time that other hereditary monarchs like Bashar al-Assad of Syria and Mohammed VI of Morocco assumed control of their states), Abdullah was also seen as dynamic young Middle Eastern leader succeeding his papy. And, to his credit, despite all the regional turmoil, he has managed to hold onto power and keep Jordan relatively chill. But this is hardly due to his being a young, dynamic ruler…it is more about his skillful game-play regionally and internationally: like a shrewd Vulcan with Romulan tenacity, Abdullah has maintained his hold on power and stayed in the American limelight as an ally to be trusted.
But this was almost not to be! Many originally assumed the heir-to-be to be either Abdullah’s brother or his uncle, but in 1999-2000 Abdullah somehow squeezed through the press and emerged as heir apparent. Abdullah was born in 1962 and, like other sons of monarchy in the region, was raised in affluence and largely educated abroad at American and British private schools: he went to the prestigious Sandhurst military academy in the UK and then joined the Jordanian Army. He later became the director of Jordan’s special forces. And he’s a motorcycle enthusiast. And he has a really hot wife. And you laugh at him for being a Trekkie. You fools! He will Jordanian mind-meld your asses!
The heir-unapparent Abdullah has done it all, apparently. And then he became king, just like Aragorn…oh wait, not quite that powerful, or quite that fictional. So what kind of king was he to be? Expectations were high, as they were for Bashar al-Assad (video game addict and also hot-wife-having), that Abdullah would be some sort of modernist reformer, changing the political nature of Jordan and democratizing what was seen as a largely backwards, paternalistic constitutional monarchy…though admittedly not nearly as bad as, say, Saudi Arabia.
But Jordan’s Abdullah had inherited an impressive political legacy from his father, Hussein: 1)a peace treaty with Israel, 2)the incorporation of Palestinians, a majority of Jordan’s population, into Jordanian society and government, and 3)a pleasant pro-Western stance. And a quick, reinforcing FYI: USA and Team West love Jordan, like BFF. And Abdullah, to his credit, has largely managed to sustain these trajectories despite the events of September 11, 2001, the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, Iran’s rise as regional powerhouse and the turmoil in neighboring Syria. A tough series of events to maneuver through. But all that Starfleet training was not to be for naught.
Jordan has seen a vastly improved economy during his rule too, especially foreign investment: over $818 million in American aid alone! This is particularly surprising considering Jordan—-the most inexplicable and illogical of the new, fake states created in the Middle East after World War I—-has virtually nothing of value resource-wise to export to the outside world! They may be in the heart of the Middle East, but they got nary a drop of oil! And not much else either!
Most people are employees of the state, meaning that there is an enormous, burgeoning bureaucracy at work in the country, and a significant portion of state revenue is generated by tourism, which is a fickle mistress. The Jordanian economy is probably the most challenging aspect of Abdullah’s rule: the global recession and devastation of tourism by regional conflicts led to numerous uprisings against his rule, especially after the Arab Spring began, but Abdullah managed to avoid making outrageous concessions to the opponents of his regime. The King has made some exceptional steps to right these grievances and has gone out of his way to initiate assistance programs for the underprivileged, including Palestinians. There are also plans to open a Star Trek theme park in the Jordanian desert. Fascinating…Captain, I think this may be a new life form…
Politically, he’s been pretty consistent in moving Jordan towards some kind of democratized state. His approach to the media, for instance, is one of openness and freedom of speech. Usually. That’s nice. But he’s still a king, Jordan is still a monarchy, and his supporters still control majorities in every single parliament following elections. The local branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists have emerged as mildly successful opposition voices to his rule, but it’s hard to argue against a dude who is a direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad, so…
Regionally, Jordan’s stability is constantly cited by every Israeli government as paramount to that state’s interests, so they’re usually both mum on each other’s internal issues. Deteriorating Syria is a big problem for Jordan, since Abdullah’s turf has always been seen as a traditional bastion for Western support in a region dominated by states that don’t really see eye-to-eye with Washington very much…so you gotta think that Jordan is likely being targeted for some serious Syrian-style shenanigans.
Abdullah has played into these calculations by criticizing the so-called “Shi’a Crescent” which he saw emerging from sinister ol’ Iran, to which he recently added a “Muslim Brotherhood Crescent” soon to be followed by a joint “Cardassian-Klingon Crescent” centered roughly on the Neutral Zone. The troubles in Syria, though, have many wondering if Islamist eyes would be turned to Jordan, which, as mentioned above, already has a sizeable Islamist opposition active there.
Given that his initial promises of reform have been stymied, often by forces out of his control, it remains to be seen if he will be able to hold onto power in the event that unrest does spill over the border. If anything, over its history, Jordan has been a rock and staunchly backed up the United States both economically and, more importantly, militarily. So it is doubtful whether any potential Arab Springiness towards Abdullah would be met with inaction by any American administration.
Can Abdullah boldly go where no Middle Eastern monarch has gone before and fully democratize his country? Or is it up to the next generation? Haha! Get it? We shall see if this King can hold onto his throne, or will he slip down the bowl…brought down by a Muslim Brotherhood swirly?