Jordanian king raises alarm over Syrian refugee crisis

Israeli expert: Jordan is an important buffer zone for Israel

By REUTERS
February 2, 2016 18:23
1 minute read.
Syrian refugees in Jordan, August 2014.

Syrian refugees in Jordan, August 2014.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Jordan’s King Abdullah says his country needs long-term aid from the international community to cope with a huge influx of Syrian refugees, warning that unless it receives support, “the dam is going to burst.”

In an interview with the BBC that aired on Tuesday, Abdullah said the refugee crisis was overloading Jordan’s social services and threatening regional stability. Jordan has already accepted more than 600,000 UN-registered Syrian refugees.

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“Jordanians are suffering from trying to find jobs, the pressure on infrastructure. And for the government, it has hurt us when it comes to the educational system, our healthcare.

Sooner or later I think the dam is going to burst,” the king said.

Prof. Hillel Frisch of Bar-Ilan University’s Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday, “Jordan has always been a subsidized state, and lived on international aid flows.”

Jordan lacks natural resources, major ports, and is hard hit by Islamic State, which has drastically cut trade with Iraq.

In Frisch’s opinion, Abdullah deserves international support, and the message between the lines is, “I am worth much more than that, Jordan is much more important than just hosting refugees.” The country is also an important buffer zone for Israel, Frisch added.

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While the international community “pours so much money to the Palestinians, but what do they produce – terrorism – while on the other hand, Jordan produces stability,” Frisch said.

Last Thursday, officials said that at an international donor conference to be held in London this week, the European Union would promise some €2 billion to aid Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq.

Abdullah told the BBC, “This week is going to be very important for Jordanians to see is there going to be help not only for Syrian refugees but for their own future as well.” He said if Jordan is not helped, the refugee crisis would worsen.

“The international community, we’ve always stood shoulder to shoulder by your side,” he said. “We’re now asking for your help, you can’t say no this time.”

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