King Talal of Jordan is one of the personalities that always alluded to my interest; with little information available on the 11-month-reigning king, the figure remains mysterious on multiple levels. I recently came across a very interesting book, entitled “From Abdullah to Hussein: Jordan in Transition”, a book by Robert Barry Satloff (@Amazon). A chapter within the book discusses the short reign of King Talal, offers much more details on the historical background of the rewriting of the Jordanian constitution, and presents a much more comprehensive insight on the king’s history than I have seen before.
A limited preview can be seen on Google books here:
I would disagree with the cynicism surrounding the constitution; though its technically right. The book highlights that Jordan did not become a democracy, but rather a pseudodemocracy. However, given current context, it seems that people on the outside (and sometimes the inside as well) mistake Jordan for a dictatorship or an authoritarian-ship; pseudodemocracy as a description shows: an element of democracy does at least exist. My view of Jordanian democracy is closer to “democracy-in-transit”, a system that is largely flawed technically, but practically – and for the time being only – generates freedoms.