Political Instability in Jordan
Deepened political instability and civil violence in Jordan triggered by spillover from the Syrian civil war
Jordan’s political stability is threatened by the influx of large members of refugees and other spillover effects from the Syrian civil war. More than 620,000 refugees have flooded across the border since 2011—in addition to Jordan’s two million Palestinian refugees—severely draining Jordan’s economy and limited natural resources.
Despite efforts to assimilate the growing population, Jordanian security forces have arrested Syrians or forcibly deported them, according to Amnesty International. Jordan’s Zaatari camp—the biggest of the Syrian refugee encampment—has an estimated 80,000 inhabitants.
The Jordanian monarchy has introduced political and economic reforms to improve conditions, but its efforts have not succeeded in quelling political dissent or mitigating unemployment. Jordanians are further divided among secular lines as political groups—such as the Muslim Brotherhood’s political party, the Islamic Action Front—splinter due to ongoing sectarian conflicts in the region, particularly in Syria and Egypt.
These external challenges threaten to exacerbate internal insecurity and heighten dissatisfaction with the monarchy. The United States has stationed approximately 1,700 troops in the kingdom and is the country’s largest aid donor, but Jordan continues to ask for greater assistance with border surveillance and reconnaissance to address further spillover from the war.
- The Historic Scale of Syria's Refugee Crisis
New York Times
- Jordan: Background and U.S. Relations
Jeremy M. Sharp, Congressional Research Service
December 2, 2014
- Jordan: Vulnerable Refugees Forcibly Returned to Syria
Human Rights Watch
November 24, 2014
- Syria’s Spillover Effect on Jordan
- Spillover from the Conflict in Syria
William Young, David Stebbins, Bryan A. Frederick, and Omar Al-Shahery, RAND Corporation
- Jordan: Relative calm
November 3, 2014
- Friction Grows Between Israel and Jordan Over Revered Location
Jodi Rudoren and Rana F. Sweis, New York Times
October 30, 2014
- Security and Resilience Among Syrian Refugees in Jordan
Denis Sullivan and Sarah Tobin, Middle East Research and Information Project
October 14, 2014
- Syria Regional Refugee Response
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
- U.S. Relations With Jordan
U.S. Department of State
- Remarks With Jordanian Foreign Minister Judeh After Their Meeting
John Kerry, U.S. Department of State
November 13, 2014
- Statement by the President on Airstrikes in Syria
The White House
September 23, 2014
- Syria Spillover: The Growing Threat of Terrorism and Sectarianism in the Middle East and Ukraine Update
U.S. Department of State
March 6, 2014
- Remarks by President Obama and His Majesty King Abdullah II of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
February 14, 2014
- The Arab League
Jonathan Masters and Mohammed Aly Sergie, CFR.org Backgrounder
- U.S. Policy, Viewed From the Middle East
Elliott Abrams, CFR.org Blog "Pressure Points"
October 31, 2014
- The Obama Administration’s Upcoming Arab Outreach
Robert M. Danin, CFR.org blog "Middle East Matters"
February 11, 2014
- For the First Time, American Loan Guarantees for Jordan
Elliott Abrams, CFR.org blog "Pressure Points"
August 15, 2013
- Political Instability in Jordan
Robert Satloff and David Schenker, CFR Contingency Planning Memorandum