The declining role of the tribes Jordan has often been described as a Bedouin state ruled by a Bedouin leadership. Although the Hashemite family is not of tribal origin (having been urban even before the rise of Islam), the role of the tribes has been rightly considered a cornerstone of the political make-up of the country. 'Abdallah, and later Husayn, courted the tribal shaykhs, endowed them with various economic and political benefits and granted them a large

measure of internal autonomy. In return, the Hashemites gained the zealous collective loyalty of the tribes, who provided contingents for the Arab Legion and became the regime's political mainstay.