Hussein Ibn Talal
A Jordanian monarch.
Hussain was educated in Britain and ascended the throne in 1953. He walked the tightrope of Middle East politics with greater skill than any of his contemporaries. His survival at the head of a population well over half of whom considered themselves Palestinians, rather than Jordanians, was never assured. Between the mounting military power of Israel and the ambitions of more powerful Arab neighbours, the balance between external forces and internal pressures was difficult to strike, and even harder to maintain. That the king did so for 46 years was a display not just to his political skills, but to his personal charm, his commitment to the Hashemite kingdom and to the intense loyalty he inspired within the armed forces recruited from Bedouin tribes.
In 1967 war against Israel, Hussain allied with Egypt and Syria which won him local popularity but cost Jordan's control over West Bank and Jerusalem. In 1991 he supported Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, a move which cost him western friends and the economic support of Gulf Arabs, but bolstered his support at home.
Hussain had always been a supporter of peace, on the issue of Palestine, long before others dared. He signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994.
Hussain authored Uneasy Lies the Head, an autobiography. 'Sometime I feel like the central character in a detective novel', so he wrote about himself.
Hussain Ibn Talal died of cancer in Amman. His death commanded affection and respect; large number including world's princes, presidents and Heads of States attended his funeral.
Compiled by:M. Nauman Khan