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How Jordan’s Climate and Water Crisis Threatens its Fragile Peace

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A satellite image showing the Wadi Rum desert and irrigated farmland in Jordan. (Image credit: NASA)

By Peter Schwartzstein

For years, security service recruitment has masked climate instability in rural Jordan. Now that strategy is breaking down and no one knows what will take its place.

In the desert villages of south Jordan, the security services dominate. They run many of the schools. They maintain the roads, water infrastructure, and bridges. Crucially, they also employ most of the men.

Roughly 70% of those in full time employment in rural stretches of the southern governorates are in the army, civil defense, or intelligence corps, according to CCS research conducted in about 20 villages, a figure that rises to around 90% in some of the most distant, isolated communities. Most of the other residents are dependent on soldiers’ spending. Such is the security services’ outsized role that many districts have practically been emptied of young and middle-aged men. “It’s only when the soldiers are back home that this feels anything like a village,” said one farmer in the far southern Aqaba governorate. (more…)

Climate Vulnerability and Human Security in the Jordan River Basin

The London School of Economics’ Middle East Centre, in concert with Birzeit University in Palestine, is launching a new project titled “Transboundary Climate Security: Climate Vulnerability and Human Security in the Jordan River Basin,” which will examine “climate vulnerable rural communities” in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory. According to the researchers: (more…)