The Political Setting
In 1989 the Jordanian political system continued to revolve around Hussein, who ruled firmly and tolerated no opposition. He had acceded to the throne in 1953, and the longevity of his tenure has been almost unparalleled in the contemporary Middle East. His reign, however, has been marked by numerous political crises: abortive coups, assassination attempts, and the disastrous consequences of the June 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Undoubtedly the most serious threat to his rule was the civil war with the PLO guerrillas in 1970 and 1971. Hussein's ability to remain in power for nearly four decades can be attributed to his own political acumen and a fortuitous combination of domestic and external situations. Nevertheless, the continued absence of institutions through which citizens could participate in the political process raised questions about the ultimate stability of his regime.
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