AMMAN, JORDAN, AUG. 23 -- The threat of war, gloom over worsening economic conditions and television images of President Bush commenting on the Persian Gulf crisis from a golf cart have fueled a seething anti-American sentiment in this normally serene Arab country.

"The whole world is in jeopardy, not just Jordan," said Adibeh Qadri, one of 2,000 women who marched today through one of Amman's hilly neighborhoods to support King Hussein's efforts to defuse the menace of war.

Doctors, lawyers, scarved fundamentalists and Palestinian refugees in traditional embroidered dresses crowded into the streets, along with housewives and socialites wearing pearls and speaking with impeccable British accents.

What started as a dignified march to the royal palace to present a letter turned into a militant expression of resentment toward America.

"Let's say it openly. We don't want to see Americans anymore," chanted a group of women at the gates of the palace. Admiring men tagged along.

"We hope war won't happen. It's no longer a question of Iraq or Jordan. It is the Arab world against anti-Arabs," said Amneh Adnan, a housewife and mother of four -- expressing a resurgent Arab nationalism that has raised questions among analysts here of whether the accompanying anti-Americanism could turn violent in the region.

The middle-aged Adnan, who could have been a Westerner with her streaked blond hair and designer sunglasses and jeans, said what drove her to join the march was seeing "President Bush on television with his stupid golf stick."

"You can't treat nations this way. He is too arrogant to think that he can lead the world when he is on vacation. Maybe it's about time they think carefully when they elect a president in the United States. We thought the theatrics were over with Reagan. You can't put the world's future in the hands of a decision maker who cannot be wise and composed," she protested.

The feeling that Bush was taking the crisis as a personal affront and a personal crusade against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein appears to have infuriated people here who feel caught in the middle.

Adnan said she brought her 15-year-old daughter, Maya, to the march to prepare her for what could be hard times ahead. "Her life may change drastically from now on, and I want to initiate her and I want her to know what's going on. If the option is military, I don't think she can live the sheltered, bourgeois life she has been leading," the woman added.

Others chanted, "America is the head of the serpent," and the port of "Aqaba will not be shut even if we have to sink in it." This was the latest of now daily rallies to protest the Western military buildup in the gulf that followed Iraq's seizure of Kuwait.

"I think there is euphoria and it is frightening. There is a sense of mobilization," commented Leila Sharaf, an appointed senator and formerly Jordan's outspoken information minister.

"It is an expression of a longstanding frustration here over the unresolved Palestine question. It is not support for Iraq's president as much as it is indignation over foreign intervention," she said in an interview at her home.

"Jordan has always been a very sensitive part in the heart of the {Arab} nation and it receives the heartbeat very strongly. If I can judge the Arab mood well, it has stopped being Saddam and it has stopped being Kuwait. All the issues are now mixed up because we did not have time to breathe," she said of the quick decision to dispatch American and British troops to the gulf. In the demonstration today, unlike others, one could only see pictures of Jordan's King Hussein, none of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

"This incident has rejuvenated Arab nationalism," Sharaf said, recalling a regional force that climaxed in the days of Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser and gave way after the 1967 Arab-Israeli war to an acceptance of individual nation states in the Arab world.

"Now we have gone back to the feeling of the 1950s and the nationalization of the Suez Canal," Sharaf added. "Many of us have reservations about Saddam and I would never have him as my ruler, with his record on human rights," she noted.

In the march, one of the slogans held high by the women was, "Yes for pan-Arabism, no to outside intervention."

Chaden Qamtawi, a British-educated woman, walking with her mother, echoed the same view. "We are protesting America's and Britain's irresponsible attitude. For the first time in our history, they should give us a chance to sort out our problem.

"Oil is only a commodity and people should not be killed for it. We would rather have a dialogue and be considered as a people just living in a place where there are riches and not where they can come and walk all over us."

The United States has "overstepped and overridden the United Nations in a way that has astonished us," Qamtawi continued. "Iraq should not have taken Kuwait by force, but the West did not give us a chance to do anything about it."

Many Jordanians feel that in the event of an apocalyptic war, their country may pay the highest price, being surrounded by Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Along the march route, flower vendors stood outside their shops as pedestrians lined the streets and women and children gazed down from balconies, some of them ululating from rooftops at the flood of women.

Alia Adwan insisted that the participants had come simply as women and mothers "from the city, the desert and rural areas." Suad Nasser said the group had gathered to show its loyalty to the king: "When you are sick you ask for your mother, and at this time, we want him to know we are with him."

"No regrets, oh Hussein, we are among those who drink blood," one corps of frenzied fundamentalist women kept repeating.

"We are really shaken up by these events. You will find Jordanian, Palestinians and Islamic fundamentalists in this demonstration," said U.S.-educated Tirca Armouti, who brought her 11-year-old Farah and 10-year-old Mohammed. "They have to get involved because they are going to live this crisis for a very long time. We can't afford to be apathetic anymore," she said.

"Hussein, you are the hope, security and our tomorrow," said one banner. Another said: "Your honor is eternal." Other posters chided the United States and the United Nations for ignoring the children of Iraq, a reference to the possibility of food shortages in that country.

The pressures of a swelling tide of refugees in Aqaba, where thousands of truckers and dockworkers were running out of jobs, are likely to add to the anti-Americanism, as Jordan feels compelled to abide by a naval blockade of Iraq.

In the carpeted living rooms of wealthy Jordanians, where Sudanese waiters serve coffee on silver trays, there is discomfort with and suspicion of "American boys with their toys."

"This is the first occasion the American military has had to test its ability to mobilize since Vietnam. They are shaking the dust from their old machinery and trying out new equipment," one Jordanian said.

"This has been a trap for Saddam as well as the Kuwaitis. Bush will lose his presidency with blood," a prominent member of the Jordanian elite said.

"It is easier for Arabs to accept death, not because we don't respect life but because we believe in the afterlife," cautioned another Jordanian, imputing a limited tolerance for loss of life in American society.