The Los Angeles Times reports:
Senior U.S. diplomats have been dropping by the royal palace in Amman almost every week this spring to convince Jordanian King Abdullah II that democratic reform is the best way to quell the protests against his rule.
But another powerful ally also has been lobbying Abdullah — and wants him to ignore the Americans.
Saudi Arabia is urging the Hashemite kingdom to stick to the kind of autocratic traditions that have kept the House of Saud secure for centuries, and Riyadh has been piling up gifts at Abdullah’s door to sell its point of view.
The Saudis last month offered Jordan a coveted opportunity to join a wealthy regional bloc called the Gulf Cooperation Council, a move that would give the impoverished kingdom new investment, jobs and security ties. To sweeten the pot, the Saudis wrote a check for $400 million in aid to Amman two weeks ago, their first assistance in years.
The quiet contest for Jordan is one sign of the rivalry that has erupted across the Middle East this year between Saudi Arabia and the United States, longtime allies that have been put on a collision course by the popular uprisings that have swept the region.