Refugee Crisis Placing Strains On Several Nations In Middle East

Much attention has been given in recent days to the plight of Palestinians living in Gaza who must flee their homes, but the real refugee crisis is ongoing in Jordan, says The Atlantic’s Alice Su.

Su contends that the real threat to Jordan is not Islamic extremism but the protracted refugee crisis that Jordan is being asked to bear as host to more than a million refugees and asylum seekers.

“Since 2011, Jordan’s 6.3 million people have taken on roughly an additional 600,000 Syrians, who join about 29,000 Iraqis and some 4,000 refugees from Sudan, Somalia, and other countries, along with thousands more who remain unregistered with UNHCR, the U.N. refugee agency. If this were the United States, it would be as if Canada’s entire population moved in virtually at once,” she writes.

And Jordan is not alone.

Earlier this month, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres warned that Syrian refugees could destabilize the entire region unless donors quickly provide the unfunded 70 percent of the $3.74 billion needed for emergency needs.

There are now 2.9 million Syrian refugees registered in the region, with 100,000 more added each month.

“We have a situation of heightened volatility in the region, a spillover of the conflict into Iraq, and continued outflows of refugees into neighboring countries grappling with very complex security and humanitarian issues,” he said.

Bill Frezza, a Forbes contributor, focuses his attention on the stresses Palestinian and Syrian refugees are causing for Lebanon’s political coalition, which is a delicate balance that represents 4 million citizens comprised of 18 officially recognized religious groups.

“Smoldering cauldrons of resentment, the refugee camps are fertile recruiting grounds for terrorists. In fact, the Palestinians provided a flash point that set off the Lebanese civil war in the first place.

“To make matters worse, Lebanon is surrounded by hostile neighbors who have a habit of invading and occupying – Syria to the East and Israel to the south.  The last time the Syrians occupied Lebanon they stayed for almost 30 years,” he writes.


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