What is next for Jordan?

Ten years later I did not recognize my hometown, Irbid, it felt like a different city. The population tripled if not more. There are apartment complexes everywhere although Jordanians used to live in houses because ten years ago there were not that many people.

Jordan became THE HUB for its war torn neighboring countries. Many of them, Iraqis and now Syrians, settle in Jordan, if they cannot leave for U.S. or Europe. Jordanians’ hospitality was and will forever be Insh’Allah a safe haven for refugees. It started before there was even a country called The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan back in the late 19th century when Muslim people of Chechnya fled the Caucasian war. In 1948 and again in 1968, Palestinians were also forced to leave their land to settle in Jordan. During and after the first Gulf War about 500,000 Jordanian and Palestinian expatriates had to return to Jordan for good because both supported Saddam and were against the American presence in the Gulf. In the second Gulf War, about one million Iraqis left for Jordan. Now, tens of thousands of Syrians are also finding refuge in Jordan.

I am very proud of my fellow Jordanians for welcoming people and sharing the little they have. Here is a paragraph from Wikipedia about refugees in Jordan:

In 2007, there were 700,000–1,000,000 Iraqis in Jordan. Since the Iraq War many Christians (Assyrians/Chaldeans) from Iraq have settled permanently or temporarily in Jordan. They could number as many as 500,000. There were also 15,000 Lebanese who immigrated to Jordan following the 2006 War with Israel.

There are 1,200,000 illegal and some 500,000 legal migrant workers in the Kingdom. Furthermore, there are thousands of foreign women working in nightclubs, hotels and bars across the kingdom, mostly from Eastern Europe and North Africa.

Jordan is home to a relatively large American and European expatriate population concentrated mainly in the capital as the city is home to many international organizations and diplomatic missions that base their regional operations in Amman.

According to UNRWA, Jordan was home to 1,951,603 Palestinian refugees in 2008, most of them Jordanian citizens. 338,000 of them were living in UNRWA refugee camps. Jordan revoked the citizenship of thousands of Palestinians to thwart any attempt to resettle West Bank residents in Jordan. West Bank Palestinians with family in Jordan or Jordanian citizenship were issued yellow cards guaranteeing them all the rights of Jordanian citizenship. Palestinians living in Jordan with family in the West Bank were also issued yellow cards. All other Palestinians wishing such Jordanian papers were issued green cards to facilitate travel into Jordan. [Source]

Maybe it was a blessing from God that Jordan is poor and not like its oil-rich gulf neighbors. Although, they are very rich they do not welcome Arab refugees. Sharing the wealth is not in the humans’ DNA. To be fair they always financially support poor Arab countries and they send money to Jordan to help its refugees.

So, why one of the smallest and the poorest Arab countries became a hub and a home for Arab refugees?

Here are some theories I have been hearing from other Arabs:

  1. The British created Jordan as a buffer zone between Israel from one side and Iraq and Syria from the other side.
  2. Sharif Hussein bin Ali who was the Emir of Mecca was promised (by the British) a land of his own (i.e., Jordan) if he revolts against the Ottoman Turks.
  3. King Hussein was a traitor who made it possible for Israel to defeat the Arabs. This theory is widely adopted by people who see Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt as an Arab hero.
  4. The British colony created Jordan to eventually be the land of Palestinians. Since Jordan gave citizenship to Palestinians-when other Arab countries forced them to live in refugee camps- other Arab rulers considered King Hussein to be working with the Israeli government to facilitate moving as many Palestinians to Jordan so they forget about their land.
  5. Because of its scarcity in resources, Jordan government welcomes Arab refugees to collect money from the Gulf countries, USA, and Europe.

There are many conspiracy theories about Jordan, one of the oldest inhabitants in the world. I do not know if any of these is true or not. Actually, I do not care because I do not believe in ‘conspiracy theory’ in general. What I see is what I believe. I see Jordan and its citizens have been welcoming others for a long time and I hope Jordan continues to be a safe haven for its citizens and for others who want to settle in Jordan.

So, the question everyone is asking is there going to be a revolution in Jordan?

But my concern and question is what do people of Jordan need?

To Be Cont’d…


2 thoughts on “What is next for Jordan?

  1. Glad to see a post from you. I’ve been wondering about your impressions of Jordan on your return trip – what had changed, what was totally “odd” to you after being gone for so long, how did people say you’d changed and so forth. You know me and my questions. 🙂

    I enjoyed reading this about Jordan and I’m glad they are welcoming refugees. Thanks for this history of Jordan as well!

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