Abdullah II ibn al-Hussein (Arabic: الملك عبد الله الثاني بن الحسين, al-Malik ʿAbdullāh aṯ-ṯānī bin al-Ḥusayn; born 30 January 1962) is the reigning King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. He ascended the throne on 7 February 1999 upon the death of his father King Hussein. King Abdullah, whose mother is Princess Muna al-Hussein, is a member of the Hashemite family. Since 1993, Abdullah has been married to Queen Rania of Jordan.
Abdullah was born in Amman to King Hussein of Jordan during his marriage to Princess Muna al-Hussein. He was the king's eldest son and as such he was automatically heir apparent to the throne of Jordan under 1952 constitution. However, due to unstable times in the 1960s, King Hussein decided to appoint his brother, Prince Hassan bin Talal, as his heir.
King Abdullah II attended Deerfield Academy in Deerfield, Massachusetts. He joined the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 1980, was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant, and served as a platoon leader in the 13th/18th Royal Hussars. In 1982, King Abdullah II attended Pembroke College at Oxford University where he completed a one-year Special Studies course in Middle Eastern Affairs. In 1987, he attended the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Abdullah would later serve in the Jordanian forces and became Major General in May 1998.
In the 1980s, the King considered arranging the throne to pass to his brother and then to his son Prince Ali bin Al Hussein, but changed his mind by 1992. He seriously considered appointing one of his nephews as heir, but on his deathbed, on 25 January 1999, he appointed Abdullah as his heir.
King of Jordan
Abdullah became king on 7 February 1999, upon the death of his father King Hussein. Hussein had recently named him Crown Prince on 24 January, replacing Hussein's brother Hassan, who had served many years in the position.
Politics as King
King Abdullah II is the head of a constitutional monarchy in which the King retains substantial power. In 2010, he was chosen as the 4th most influential Muslim in the world.
Jordan's economy has improved greatly since Abdullah ascended to the throne in 1999, and he has been credited with increasing foreign investment, improving public-private partnerships, and providing the foundation for Aqaba's free trade zone and Jordan's flourishing ICT sector. He also set up five other special economic zones: Irbid, Ajloun, Mafraq, Ma'an and the Dead Sea. As a result of these reforms, Jordan's economic growth has doubled to 6% annually under King Abdullah's rule compared to the latter half of the 1990s. Foreign direct investment from the West as well as the countries of the Persian Gulf has continued to increase. He also negotiated a free trade agreement with the United States, which was the third free trade agreement for the U.S. and the first with an Arab country.
In 2008, King Abdullah began his Decent Housing for Decent Living campaign in which all Jordanian citizens, and even Palestinian refugees, will be guaranteed high quality residential housing with easy access to community needs such as health, education, and community activities.
Abdullah's speech at The Catholic University of America's Columbus School of Law in September 2005 was entitled "Traditional Islam: The Path to Peace." While en route to the United States, King Abdullah met with Pope Benedict XVI to build on the relations that Jordan had established with Pope John Paul II to discuss ways in which Muslims and Christians can continue to work together for peace, tolerance, and coexistence.
The King announced on 2 March 2007 municipal elections in Jordan and in 25 November 2006 in his parliament address, told the parliament to work on reforms of the press and publication law.
King Abdullah II has worked for the Middle East Peace Process, attending the Arab Summit in 2002, OIC conferences and having several summits with US, Israeli and Palestinian delegations to find a solution for the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.
Jordan received criticism when Toujan al-Faisal, Jordan's first female member of Parliament and an outspoken advocate for freedom of expression and human rights, was jailed for slandering the government after she charged it with corruption in a letter to Abdullah. She was pardoned and released by King Abdullah. Despite these events, King Abdullah has continued his aggressive liberalization of Jordan's media. He recently issued a declaration forbidding detention of journalists in Jordan.
Major General Yair Naveh, GOC of the Israel Defense Forces Homefront Command and former GOC of Israeli Central Command, said in a gathering with reporters that King Abdullah might fall and that he could be Jordan's last king. The statement created tension between the two countries, and afterwards Naveh retracted his statement and apologized. Later, the Israeli prime minister expressed the disagreement of Israel with Naveh's statement, and referred to it as a personal and irrelevant view.
In March 2007, Ehud Olmert commented on any American withdrawal from Iraq by saying that, "Israel is worried a hasty American withdrawal from Iraq could have negative impact on the Hashemite regime in Jordan..." Jordan's spokesman Nasser Jawdeh replied by saying, "The Israeli prime minister should worry about his political future before worrying about us."
King Abdullah has a strong belief in a powerful military and has led Jordan into adopting a "quality over quantity" policy. This policy has led Jordan to acquire advanced weaponry and greatly increase and enhance its F-16 fighter jet fleet. The ground forces have acquired the Challenger 1 main battle tank, a vehicle far superior to the T-72/55 tanks that have traditionally dominated Arab armies.
On 28 November 2004, Abdullah removed the title of Crown Prince from his half-brother, Hamzah, whom he had appointed on 7 February 1999, in accordance with their late father's wishes. In a letter from Abdullah to Hamzah, read on Jordanian state television, he said, "Your holding this symbolic position has restrained your freedom and hindered our entrusting you with certain responsibilities that you are fully qualified to undertake." No successor to the title was named at that time, but it was anticipated that Abdullah intended to appoint formally his own son, Prince Hussein as crown prince. On 2 July 2009, Abdullah indeed named Prince Hussein as heir.
Marriage and children
King Abdullah is married to Rania al-Abdullah, a Palestinian. They have four children:
* Crown Prince Hussein (born 28 June 1994)
* Princess Iman (born 27 September 1996)
* Princess Salma (born 26 September 2000)
* Prince Hashem (born 30 January 2005)
From : www.wikipedia.org