Contributor Perspectives

Jordan Buckles Under the Weight of Refugees

Anisa Mehdi
Board of Contributors
Mar 5, 2016 | 13:54 GMT
Prefabricated metal homes are seen at the Azraq camp for Syrian refugees in northern Jordan on January 30, 2016.

Prefabricated metal homes are seen at the Azraq camp for Syrian refugees in northern Jordan on January 30, 2016.

(KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP/Getty Images)

A joke of uncertain origin imagines that Golda Meir had a complaint with God. "He led Moses through the desert for 40 years to the only place in the region that had no oil!" That's partly true. Israel has recently discovered sources of fossil fuel. However, its neighbor Jordan -- an important part of Moses' trek -- is truly bereft of liquid gold. In fact, Jordan is bereft of almost any natural resource besides sun and historic sites that are the envy of Greece, Rome, and Egypt. But a tourism economy cannot make up for lucrative natural resources. Especially not now. The Islamic State looms at Jordan's gate. Refugees consume an increasing percentage of land, essentials for survival and patience. Even legendary Jordanian hospitality is taxed to the breaking point by fleeing Syrians joining the Iraqis and Palestinians that sought sanctuary in Jordan before them. The tiny Hashemite kingdom --...

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