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Starting in early February, I'll begin filing dispatches as GlobalPost's Jordan correspondent. When I first visited Jordan five years ago, I didn't like it. Though I was impressed by Petra and several crusader castles, Amman, the capital city, struck me as a forgotten desert town where not much happened.
Fortunately, I've never been one to dwell on first impressions. As a journalist covering Iraq, I passed through Jordan frequently on my way into Iraq. Each time I visited I discovered another layer of the country that fascinated me.
Though Jordan is indeed a quiet place, it's hugely affected by spillover from the Iraq war and the Israel-Palestine conflict. Additionally, many of the issues confronting Jordan, which include everything from water shortages to increasing secularization, must be addressed by the entire Arab world, not just Jordan.
As sleepy as it may seem, Jordan is an excellent foothold into understanding many issues central to the entire region. I look forward to sharing Jordan with you through my regular GlobalPost dispatches and blog entries beginning this February!