The Heshemite Kingdom of Jordan
Following the conclusion of the Paris peace talks, in 1921 the United Kingdom formed the semi-autonmous Kingdom of Transjordan out of lands mostly east of the Jordan River known as the British Mandate of Palestine.
Transjordan was ruled by the Heshemite Family under the leadership of King Abdullah I who was assassinated in 1951.
In 1946 British officials received a mandate from the United Nations establishing the independent Heshemite Kingdom of Jordan following the end of hostilities in the Second World War.
Following his murder in 1951, Abdullah I's brother, Talal, ruled briefly until 1952. Under King Talal, Jordan adopted a constitution establishing the political framework of the modern Jordanian constitutional monarchy.
Upon Talal's removal in 1952 due to mental illness, the country was ruled by committee during the minority of his son and heir, King Hussein of Jordan. King Hussein ruled Jordan from 1953 until his death in 1999.
King Hussein ended martial law in 1991, and held free and fair parliamentary elections in 1989 and 1993. The 1997 national elections were boycotted by Islamist leaders in protest of the liberalization of voting laws that already included the one-person, one-vote mandate.
The Jordanian parliament, called the National Assembly of Jordan, or Al Majlis al-Umma, is bicameral consisting of an elected lower house (Chamber of Deputies), or Al Majlis Al Nuwaab, and an upper house (Royal Council), or Al Majlis Al Aayan, appointed by the monarch.
The Chamber of Deputies consists of a total of 110 seats of which nine are reserved for Christians, six for women, and three each from ethnic groups living in diaspora from the Caucasus region: Cherkess (Circassians) and Chechana (Chechnens).
King Abdullah II of Jordan has presided over Jordan since the death of his father, King Hussein, in 1999. He is marriad to Queen Rania; his mother is Queen Noor.
King Abdullah II is a moderate Arab with strong pro-Western leanings. His tenure has been marked by a program of economic development, including joining the World Trade Organization (WTO), and establishing free trade policies with the United States, the European Union, and other Arab nations. In addition, Abdullah II has been committed to resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict through a negotiated comprehensive peace settlement in the Mideast.
Of especial concern to Jordan is development of energy and water resources, global marketing of tourism to the country, and lowering a relatively high unemployment rate bolstered by Middle Eastern political instability.
The West Bank, annexed by Jordan in 1950 following the Arab-Israeli Conflict of 1948, and East Jerusalem, originally part of the British Mandate of Transjordan, were captured by the State of Israel during the 1967 War.
Russia Expels British Diplomats
Vladimir Putin of Russia has expelled four British diplomats in protest of the United Kingdom's expulsion of Russian diplomats following the failure of the Putin government to extradite a suspect in the poisoning death of former KGB agent Alexander Litvenenko in London.
Putin refuses to extradite former KGB agent Andrei Lugovoi who is the sole suspect in the murder of Litvenenko, a critic of Putin's return to Soviet-style "Big Brother" governance in Russia.
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