King Hussein has emerged from yet another period of political setbacks and personal misfortunes with his power unchallenged and his standing high among Arabs who have often criticized him in the past.
Nothing that happened here over the past two months approached the crises that the king has weathered in the 27 years of his often-imperiled reign. Jordanian officials and Western diplomats say that the king was dispirited, exhausted and apprehensive about the dangers he believes are confronting the country, but Israeli reports of political unrest and assassination attempts appear unfounded.
By spurning once again American and Egyptian attempts to bring him into the negotiating framework that led to the Egyptain-Israeli treaty, the king has polished his credentials as an Arab nationalist. Scorned and denounced as a traitor after his Army crushed the Palestinian guerrillas and expelled them from Jordan in the 1970-71 "Black September" campaign, with Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia and even Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yassar Arafat.
When Hussein rebuffed U.S. national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski's effort to sell him on the peace treaty, a prominent Palestinian said with grudging admiration, "The king showed the Arabs he was no American puppet. It was the best thing he has done for himself since he got rid of Glubb Pasha," a reference to the king's dismissal of British Gen. Sir John Glubb as head of the Jordanian Army in 1956.
Sources close to the king say he is distressed at the chill that has fallen upon this country's traditional close ties to the United States and at what he considers misguided American policy in the Middle East. They add, however, that this concern is balanced by satisfaction over the unanimity of the Arab response to the treaty-a unanimity that has enabled Hussein to be comfortable in his rejection of the treaty and resis American pressue to accept it.
Jordanians acknowledge that Hussein and his kingdom went through several weeks of difficult times, but they say the problems were coincidental and generally unrelated.That assessment is confirmed by diplomats and independent journalists, who say the king and his advisers are more concerned about a perceived threat from Israel than about trouble at home.
The Jordanians, in fact, see reports in the Israel press about trouble here as part a campaign to prepare the way for what they fear most-an attempt to sweep away the Hashemite monarchy and replace it with a Palestinian-dominated state. This, they feel, would end the pressure on Israel to give back the West Bank and would allow the creation of a Palestinian state.
That fear, which apparently is genuine, accounts for the angry Jordanian reaction to the way the israelis portrayed the events here.
"You go into any village, any town and see for yourself," said Ahmad Lozi, a former prime minister who is now president ofthe Consulative Council set up last year in place of the dissolved parliament. "The people here know the facts. They remember the days of Nasser when Cairo Radio was reporting blood in the streets of Amman. It's just childish fabrication and nonsense."
Here is the capital, prosperous, peaceful and picturesque in glorious spring weather, it is hard to dispute him. But the past several weeks appear to have been a time of tension and anxiety.
The events that troubled Hussein and his advisers followed one antoher in quick succession. They included personal as well as political reverses and covered crucial foreign policy questions as well as relatively trivial matters.
The king's uncle, Sherif Nasser Jamil, a wealthy landowner and former commander-in-chief of the armed forces who was an important link to the country's desert tribes, died of a heart attack at the wheel of his car.
National security commander Ghazi Arabiat was killed in an auto accident on his way home from Amman Airport.
Egypt signed the peace treaty with Israel, giving the Israelis what is seen here as a spectacular policy triumph that removed Egypt from the Arab fold at no cost to the Israelis. Brzezinski flew in for session the Jordanians describe as "arm-twisting," resented by Hussein and his advisers.
Jordan broke diplomatic relations with Egypt.
Four Palestinian guerrillas who apparently crossed into Israel from Jordan were killed by Israeli retaliatory strikes.
Clashes brokes out at the university between Palestinian and Jordanian students, and tension there were heightened when police overreacted. Rumors began to circulate of a split between Hussein and his brother, Crown Prince Hassan, who alledgedly opposes Hussein's reconciliation with the PLO. Repeated denials of these rumors have not stopped them.
Moves to restrict aid to Jordan began in the U.S. Congress. A pro-Libyan newspaper in Beirut reported, falsely, that the Americans and the British were preparing to evacuate amman.
Queen Noor, Hussein's bridge of less than a year, suffered a miscarriage, and when he went to London to be with her, his departure touched off new speculation about what was going on in Jordan.
At the same time, apprehension apparently spread among the king's advisers about the deep split with Washington over Middle East policy. This split was exacerbated when the king, apparently in a depressed mood, made highly critical remarks about the United States in a closed conversation with four American journalists that they were then allowed to print. Jordanian officials now refer to the journalists jokingly as the "gang of four", but they admit feeling that the king went too far and have told him so. "It all just came together at once," a Western diplomat said, "and people were upset, and the king was really at the end of his rope."
Although Hussein was revitalized by a skiing vacation and those tense days are slipping into the past, Jordans remains confronted by difficult and explosive questions following the Israeli-Egyptian treaty. Most of them have to do with the Palestinian question and what Jordan's next move should be.
Officially, the king favors a quick move toward peace negotiations through some format other than the Camp David agreements, but informed sources here say there are elements in Jordan that find the present status reassuring. That is because they fear what would happen if the iraelis withdrawn from the West Bank and the Palestinians there once again constitute a threat to Hashemite primacy in Jordan as they have in the past. CAPTION: Picture, KING HUSSEIN