Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein (
Arabic: عبد الله الثاني بن الحسين, ʿAbdullāh aṯ-ṯānī ibn Al-Ḥusayn, born 30 January 1962) has been
Jordan since the 1999 death of his father,
King Hussein. According to Abdullah, he is a
41st-generation direct descendant of
Muhammad as he belongs to the
Hashemite family—who have ruled Jordan since 1921.
He was born in
Amman as the first child of King Hussein and his second wife, British-born
Princess Muna. Shortly after his birth, Abdullah was named the
crown prince. King Hussein transferred the title to his brother,
Prince Hassan, in 1965 and unexpectedly returned it to Abdullah in early 1999 just a few weeks before his death. Abdullah began his schooling in Amman, continuing his education abroad. He assumed command of
Jordan's Special Forces in 1994, and became a major general in 1998. In 1993 Abdullah married
Rania Al-Yassin (of Palestinian descent), and they have four children:
Crown Prince Hussein,
Princess Salma and
Prince Hashem. The ruler of Dubai,
Sheikh Mohammed Al-Maktoum, is his brother-in-law by marriage—to Abdullah's half-sister,
constitutional monarch, embarked on
neoliberal economic policies when he assumed the throne, and his reforms led to an economic boom which continued until 2008. During the following years
Jordan's economy experienced hardship as it dealt with the effects of the
Great Recession and spillover from the
Arab Spring, including a cut in its petroleum supply and the collapse of trade with neighboring countries. In 2011, large-scale protests demanding reform erupted in the
Arab world. Many of the protests led to civil wars in other countries, but Abdullah responded quickly to domestic unrest by replacing the government and introducing reforms.
Proportional representation was reintroduced to the
Jordanian parliament in the
2016 general election, a move which he said would eventually lead to establishing
parliamentary governments. Although some local opposition groups called his reforms inadequate, other observers praised them. They took place amid unprecedented regional instability: an influx of 1.4 million Syrian refugees into the natural resources-lacking country and the emergence of the
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Abdullah is popular locally and internationally for maintaining Jordanian stability, and is known for promoting
interfaith dialogue and an understanding of
Islam. The third-longest-serving Arab leader, he is regarded by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center as
the most influential Muslim in the world.
Abdullah is custodian of the Muslim and Christian sacred sites in
Jerusalem, a position held by his dynasty since 1924.