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The Daily Show is listening to King Abdullah. Is anyone else?

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“[Abdullah] doesn’t have any real cards to play when it comes to the final settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," says Avi Shlaim, author of the King Hussein biography, "Lion of Jordan." "Jordan doesn’t have leverage either with America, or the Palestinians, or Israel, so it’s not a major player.”

That's largely due to factors outside of Abdullah's control. Hussein's 47-year reign was defined by the Israeli-Arab conflict and the context of the now-concluded cold war.

Hussein's clout

After losing the West Bank and Jerusalem in 1967's Six Day War – and seeing the demographics of his nation transformed by a flood of Palestinian refugees – Hussein was a US ally in a region where Arab nationalists like Egypt's Gamal Abdul Nasser were seen as being in the Soviet orbit.

And with his regional standing aided by the 1967 war with Israel (notwithstanding that it was a disaster), Hussein could act as an interlocutor for the US, the Palestinians, regional powers like Iraq and – quietly – the Israelis.

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