New US Ambassador Appointed

Alice G. Wells has been sworn in as the new US ambassador to Jordan, replacing Stuart E. Jones who held the pivotal diplomatic position for three years. This will be the first ambassadorial post for Wells, a career Foreign Service officer who was born in Beirut. Prior to this, she was a senior adviser at the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs at the Department of State, and executive assistant to Hilary Clinton when she was Secretary of State. Wells has also previously filled a variety of diplomatic positions in Pakistan, India, Russia, and Saudi Arabia.

In a speech to the US Senate on her nomination, Wells stressed the value of Washington’s relationship with Amman during a time of increasing regional turmoil. “The historic partnership … has never been more important, as we jointly work to achieve peace in the Middle East and to promote a democratic transition in Syria,” she said.

According to Wells, Jordan was the fifth largest recipient of bilateral assistance in 2013, totaling over $1 billion in both fiscal years of 2012 and 2013. The United States also provides financial support to Jordan through other funding programs, including $2.25 billion in loan guarantees over 2013 and 2014. Trade relations between the two countries remain strong, with a free trade agreement being established in the year 2000—the first between the United States and an Arab country.

But while the ties between the U.S. and Jordanian governments are strong, it looks like Wells has her work cut out for her when it comes to winning the favor of the Jordanian people. According to a survey conducted this year by the Pew Research Center, 85 percent of Jordanians have an unfavorable view of the United States—the highest unfavorable ranking of the 44 countries surveyed.