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Jordan's tale of two cities: The mystery of 'new Amman'

Jordanians have been unsure what to make of the planned city of “new Amman,” with a white elephant being a distinct possibility.
The Roman Amphitheatre is seen in the doan town during tourists visit to the Amman Citadel, an ancient Roman landmark in Amman, Jordan, May 23, 2016. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed - S1BETFTJPLAA
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This is a tale of two cities — the Jordanian version — and it is surreal in many aspects. It started on Oct. 21, when Prime Minister Hani al-Mulki revealed in a meeting with local media that his government had finished a comprehensive study to build a “new Amman.” He said the new city would not be connected to the capital. The announcement shocked Jordanians, who were taken by surprise. The idea had never been proposed by previous governments or publicly discussed.

Almost a week later, on Oct. 29, Mulki announced that the new city was part of the government's effort to stimulate the economy and attract investment, especially from the private sector, and that it would be built entirely on government land. The project, he claimed, would help ease traffic congestion in the capital and contribute to solving the challenges of overcrowding.

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