Middle East Studies

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The Political Legacy of King Hussein


Prof. Alexander Bligh is the Chief Scientist, Ministry of Science, Technology and Space, Israel. Formerly: Acting Dean, Faculty of Social Science and Humanities and Director, Middle East Research Center, Ariel University, and Advisor to the Prime Minister for Arab Affairs.

This book uncovers the true force behind most of the political processes in the Middle East over almost half a century. Through constant confrontations and negotiations with Israel and the Palestinians, under the watchful eye of the United States, the King managed to create a new Middle Eastern nation-state: the Jordanian country and its people. The focus of the book is Hussein’s deep concern for the future of the last Hashemite monarchy, together with his own set of personal and ideological convictions, as they impacted on many of his strategic decisions and their contribution to the formation of present-day Jordan.

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-902210-72-8
Hardback Price: £49.95 / $69.95
Release Date: 2002
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-84519-237-2
Paperback Price: £19.95 / $34.95
Release Date: March 2007
Page Extent / Format: 272 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: No


Foreword by Robert B. Satloff


1 The Hashemite–Palestinian Crisis of April 1963
2 The Israeli–Jordanian Military Confrontation of November 1966: A Prelude to the
1967 War
3 Jordan in the 1967 War: A Political Victory which Guaranteed the Survival of the
4 Jordanian Composite Nationalism
5 Is Peace Without the Territories Possible? Hussein's Reading of the Palestinian Issue
between the Six Day War and UN Resolution 242
6 The Israeli and Palestinian Challenge
7 The 1970s: From a Survival Struggle to the Consolidation of Political Success
8 The Palestinian Decade and the Final Closing of the West Bank Issue
9 From the Gulf War to Peace, and the Road to Democracy



This book, written by a former adviser on Arab affairs to the prime minister of Israel, is a detailed and highly laudatory account of the policies pursued by King Hussein of Jordan from 1963 until his death in 1999. Bligh argues that, contrary to conventional wisdom, Hussein ‘was one of the main figures shaping the fate of the Middle East since the 1960s’. Recommended.

The Political Legacy of King Hussein is probably the first serious book published after the untimely demise of the Jordanian monarch that sums up his political activity and heritage. In this richly documented and well written study, Dr. Bligh describes and analyses King Hussein’s survival strategy in the last four decades of the 20th century, i.e., the late king’s efforts to ensure the survival of both the Hashemite dynasty and Jordan itself.
Middle East Journal

Conventional wisdom holds that Hussein looked for political guidance to the legacy of his grandfather, the founder of modern Jordan, Emir (and later King) Abdullah. So often did Hussein cite the memory of his grandfather, Abdullah’s tireless efforts to achieve a noble peace, and the pain of standing beside Abdullah when the latter was murdered in Jerusalem in 1951, that it is natural to infer that Hussein’s world-view was a continuation of Abdullah’s. As Dr. Bligh correctly points out, that is not the case. Indeed, Hussein’s historic success and Jordan’s progress in recent decades is precisely due to the fact that Hussein understood the lessons for Jordan and the Hashemite family of Abdullah’s lifelong quest at territorial and political aggrandizement.
From the Foreword by Robert B. Satloff, Executive Director, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Washington, DC

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