Jordan. King J Hussein died in cancer on February 7. A
few weeks earlier, by decree, he had appointed his eldest
son Abdullah as his successor instead of his brother Hasan,
whom he accused of trying to politicize the country's armed
forces and defile Queen Nur during his absence. Hasan
accepted the decision. King Hussein's funeral Feb. 8 in
Amman was described as a milestone in the history of the
Middle East. Hundreds of thousands of Jordanians, many in
tears, gathered on the streets of the city, where over 50
heads of state and government have come. Among the guests
were Syrian President Hafiz al-Asad, to whom King Hussein
had had a close relationship since J. concluded a peace
treaty with Israel in 1994. Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat,
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli
President Ezer Weizman were also present. the Swedish royal
Countryaah official website, Abdullah appointed his half-brother, Hamza bin Hussein, a
new crown prince in accordance with his father's wishes. In
March, Abdullah replaced the country's government and
dismissed all followers of the former Crown Prince Hasan.
New Prime Minister became the reform-friendly former Deputy
Prime Minister Abd ar-Rauf Rawabda. The king also by decree
appointed his wife Ranya Yasin a new queen.
During the rest of the year, Abdullah devoted a great
deal to building good relationships with the outside world.
In April, he made a round trip to Syria, Saudi Arabia,
Libya, Egypt, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait.
In May he made a similar tour to the United States as well
as the United Kingdom and several other European countries.
Kuwait and J. reestablished their diplomatic relations,
which had been totally or partially interrupted since 1990,
when J. did not take a stand against Iraq's occupation of
Kuwait. In September, Abdullah visited Lebanon, where his
father had not been since the 1960s. Even more drastically,
J's relations with Syria improved. In May, Syria agreed to
supply J. with 70,000 cubic meters of water per day for four
months ahead. It was of great help to J. during this drought
year in the Middle East. In August, Syria and J.
In late August, Jordanian authorities closed the Islamist
organization Hamas (Islamic Resistance Movement) office in
Amman. During the year, the US and the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) granted loans and assistance worth
several hundred million dollars to help the country
implement its reform program.