After the Fall

Fattah, Hassan
May 2003
New Republic;5/19/2003, Vol. 228 Issue 19, p11
The author offers observations on the effect of the loss of low Iraqi oil prices on the Jordanian economy following the end of major combat in the Iraq War. An oil tanker moored in the port of Aqaba was meant as an emergency measure in case oil supplies from Iraq were cut off during the conflict, but today it is Jordan's lifeline, serving as the backbone of its economy. All the countries in the region are unsure how they will be treated economically by whatever government comes to power in Iraq in the coming months and years. But Jordan is particularly vulnerable, since the future rulers of Iraq most likely will not provide oil nearly as cheaply as Iraqi President Saddam Hussein did. That could well plunge Jordan into recession. During the international embargo on Iraq in the 1990s, Jordan enjoyed some of the cheapest oil of any country in the world. This extremely cheap oil helped Jordan's economy post robust growth rates and padded the government's balance sheet. Jordan's Planning Ministry believes that paying more for oil would eliminate the economic growth previously predicted for Jordan in 2003. Many political analysts in Amman believe that antigovernment unrest will be worse if the government tries to push through similar economic reforms in 2003.


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