Among Middle Eastern nations, Jordan has long been one of the most welcoming toward refugees. This fact may change in light of the growing Iraqi refugee crisis, however. The trickle of Iraqis seeking haven from the 2003 coalition invasion has become a torrent, as thousands flee escalating sectarian strife. With Amman only recently admitting the scope of the problem and becoming more open to international involvement, many questions have emerged regarding the best way forward.
In this Washington Institute Research Note, Nathan Hodson offers a closer look at how Jordan is coping with the influx of Iraqis -- a development that has strained social services, magnified concerns about terrorism and other internal security issues, and aggravated economic and environmental problems such as unemployment, inflation, and water shortages. He also discusses the appropriate U.S. and international role in providing monetary aid, enhancing local security, and resolving problems related to asylum and immigration procedures. Absent outside help on these and other issues, the kingdom may eventually be compelled to shut its borders.