Last year, the small Middle Eastern nation of Jordan effectively declared war on the Islamic State after a video surfaced of ISIS militants burning a Jordanian pilot alive.
That terrible moment marked a turning point for the nation's military, which is now fully part of the anti-ISIS coalition led by the United States.
So how powerful is the nation of Jordan?
In today's Seeker Daily dispatch, we take a look at the small Middle Eastern nation, which actually has an impressive military presence despite its limited territory and population. At around 35,000 square miles, Jordan is approximately the size of the U.S. state of Maine. With a population of just over eight million citizens, it's much smaller than neighbors Iraq (33 million) and Saudi Arabia (28 million).
Still, Jordan fields a relatively formidable military, with a standing force of around 175,000 soldiers. Relative is the key term: Total armed forces personnel for the United States is around 1.4 million, depending on how you crunch the numbers.
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But Jordan's army has a reputation for being well-trained and professional, with modern weaponry and equipment. The country also enjoys close military support from the U.S., France and the United Kingdom. It's estimated that the U.S. alone has contributed nearly $16 billion in military and economic aid since the 1950s.
On the downside, Jordan's economy is the smallest in all of the Middle East and suffers from high rates of poverty, debt, unemployment and corruption. Unlike its neighbors, Jordan has insufficient supplies of oil, water and other natural resources.
Politically, the country is relatively stable but far from democratic. While technically considered a parliamentary constitutional democracy, Jordan is largely controlled by head of state King Abdullah, who more or less runs the government's judicial and executive branches.
Still, Jordan's relative stability and nimble military make the country a critical ally for those fighting extremist groups in the region.
-- By Glenn McDonald Learn More:
CIA World Factbook: Middle East: Jordan
New York Times: U.S. Trains Syrian Rebels in Jordan to Fight ISIS
NPR: For One Parliamentarian, A Stronger Jordan Is Key To Fighting ISIS
Reuters: France mulls military deployment in Jordan for Islamic State fight