Rookie king

Abdullah: Untested Jordanian is at the center of new round of Middle East diplomacy.

May 31, 1999

ISRAEL'S election catapulted Jordan's King Abdullah into crucial importance that would have taxed his late father, King Hussein, who died in February.

At 37, the new king had trained only to lead the army. Already, he has shuffled the Cabinet to make it his own, declared a more open economy, begged for debt relief and visited Washington and Gaza.

It appears to be his destiny to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians, and between Israel and Syria. Such statecraft is not what the half-English Abdullah learned at Sandhurst, the British military academy. He has figured out that peace among his neighbors would be Jordan's best security -- and his own.

Pub Date: 5/31/99

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