December 6th, 2010


250Km from Iraq

That's how close i got to the Iraqi border.

click to enlarge

This image was taken about 60Km from the Saudi border as well. I was actually closer to Saudi Arabia when I was in the southern city of Aqaba, where I could see Israel and Egypt from my hotel, and I was only 40Km from the Saudi border.

In 2003 and 2004 a lot of Jordanians suddenly and mysteriously became very wealthy. It is likely that this involved the arms trade with Iraqi insurgents. A large number of wealthy Iraqis escaped to Jordan as well, bringing their money with them. This, combined with the liberal trade policies of King Abdullah, who has signed more free trade agreements than any other country in the region, and commerce zones for everything from textiles to high tech make Jordan's economy surprisingly strong, considering the fact that they must import all of their oil from Saudi Arabia. There was construction going on everywhere. Dozens of highrises on Amman under construction and many more newly finished. Hotels charging $1500 a night for their best rooms. I saw none of the abject poverty I see in much of the developing world. Jordan is definitely an up and coming economy. If they are smart enough to emancipate, educate, and empower their women, they could be a first world nation in a generation. The subjugation of women, in my opinion is what holds back most of the Muslim world.