On Monday, King Abdullah of Jordan will become the first Arab head of state to be welcomed by President Biden to the White House. The optics and opportunity are no doubt welcomed by the king, coming at a challenging time for his country domestically and regionally. The White House visit follows on the heels of reports of a secret meeting between Abdullah and Israel’s new prime minister, Naftali Bennet, and the announcement of new Israeli-Jordanian water and trade agreements. The message is clear: Jordan is back as a central player and valued ally for the United States and Israel. But beyond the handshakes, the prospect of smooth sailing toward improved relations will be tested by the ever-turbulent waters of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has long been a cornerstone of Middle East stability, wielding significant political and strategic influence in the region. As a small country with a weak economy bordered by Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the occupied Palestinian territories, adroit diplomacy is one of its key national resources. Now, Jordan faces a fresh diplomatic challenge: the potential impact of President Trump’s plan for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on its strategic interests and very future. In the months ahead, Jordan—a crucial partner to the U.S., Israel, and the Palestinians—faces a critical juncture in its relations with both the U.S. and Israel coupled with unprecedented internal challenges.
The US diplomatic, defense, and development communities (known as the “3Ds”) increasingly find themselves working together to tackle complex crises. This collaboration has already proved its worth, but how can it be made even more effective? A recent USIP research project sought to...