Fahed Khitan

Two Main Concerns of Jordan

تم نشره في Tue 16 February / Feb 2016. 12:00 AM

Two issues top all Jordanian concerns, now and in the future; the economy and the Syrian situation.

Prior to those two, political reforms took lead, and will soon be successfully concluded with the recent adoption of demanded legislations regarding laws of decentralisation, political parties and municipal rules, added the new elections law expected to be approved within weeks.

The remaining internal issues can be managed without further worrying about challenges or surprises, and are not on the executive authorities’ daily agendas. They are to be dealt with as they appropriate.

The real headache is the difficult economic situation, and the repercussions of the Syrian crisis, His Majesty makes it explicitly clear to the BBC.

The two main issues constituting the Country’s primary interests are undoubtedly related, since the percussions of the Syrian situation manifest in more intense affects than one on national economy than they do on Jordan’s security and borders. One of the outcomes of the conflict in Syria is the blocking of national land exportations. Another is the natural hesitation to invest capital in war-conflicted areas.

On the other hand, infrastructural shortcomings hindering Jordan’s economy predate and continue through the Syrian crisis; governments in succession have failed to address them properly. The most pressing ones including limitations on investment, ever tightening bureaucracy to say the least, and conflicting legislations that do not measure up to the needs of investors.

The current year, however, seems to be determinant and definitive; decision makers now realise that the living standards of Jordanians have dropped intolerably low. This calls for new innovative measures to alleviate the sufferings of the economically crushed segments of society, and decrease living costs while enhancing the level of public services. This also means creating more jobs; a labour marketplace that can handle the increasing amount of employable manpower.

Moreover, leaked figures of poverty and unemployment are terrifying; these issues are pressing and need to be contained before things go to far.

This crisis —the Syrian crisis is an international one, no doubt. And unfortunately, we happen to be on the closer end to it, and are affected by its every development. The continuation of the war in Syria means further drainage of resources and capacities, excruciating military and logistical expenditures, and more refugees. On another note, the division of Syria will put Jordan before a dangerous geo-political challenge —unprecedented over the century; the establishment of  a terrorist state by our borders forces Jordan to engage constantly in the cosmic war on terror, and puts the security of our cities in peril.

The collapse of Syria is more dangerous to Jordan than the Iraqi crisis ever was. Jordan and Syria are two extensions of a single geographic plane with interrelated demographics and overlapping interests.

Therefore, these aspects of the Syrian conflict are taken into careful consideration by decision makers in Jordan. These particulars keep the Country’s administration constantly alarmed, and require high levels of vigilance and readiness to operate in such a minefield. Most of the diplomatic efforts and political maneuvers, alliances, and agreements in face of the increasingly complicating Syrian situation require immense capacities for political strategy and high resilience in face of emergent changes in order to minimise loss on the Country’s primary interests.

 

Notably, Jordan’s issue when it comes to the Syrian situation is that the Country’s small size does not allow it to influence the internal dynamics of the Syrian conflict, but because of the Kingdom’s geographic proximity, It is most affected by it. Jordan is always on the defensive, picking gray areas in which to operate to avoid unnecessary expensive collisions. Next to the Country’s economic problems, the implications of the Syrian situation become a constant nightmare to Jordan’s welfare.

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