JORDAN'S King Hussein waged a staunch but losing fight to stake out neutral ground in the crisis. Caught between Iraq and Israel, Jordan avoided direct conflict, but was buffeted by political and economic gales. While his constituents, including Palestinians, pushed the king to support Saddam Hussein, friends and patrons in the West demanded clear backing for the coalition. King Hussein opposed Iraq's invasion but also the use of Western troops. As relations with the US deteriorated, neutrality was effectively abandoned.
The economic toll has been severe. Heavy losses from compliance with the embargo and the costs of caring for thousands of refugees have brought the kingdom near collapse. Saudi Arabia has cut oil supplies, while the US now weighs cutting aid.
Western observers worry that a weak economy could eat away at domestic support, producing political unrest. The West still sees the monarch as a force for stability in the region, and a key player on the Palestinian question.