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Jordan: How Close to Danger?
Jordan: How Close to Danger?
Eastern Africa’s Jihadis: Mozambique
Eastern Africa’s Jihadis: Mozambique

Jordan: How Close to Danger?

Originally published in The New York Review of Books

Poor Jordan. A small, economically precarious country, it shares a two-hundred-mile border with Syria. Yet unlike Syria’s other neighbors, Turkey, Iraq, and Lebanon, it rarely gets any attention in the international press. Indeed, while the world focuses on the European Union’s controversial deal with Turkey—in which Ankara has agreed to limit the number of asylum-seekers hoping to reach Greece’s shores in exchange for a lavish foreign aid package from Europe—hardly anything has been said about this crucial American ally on Syria’s southern border. But as I observed on a recent visit, Jordan is struggling to cope with vast numbers of refugees and an alarming rise in extremism. We ignore it at our peril.

On paper, the size of the Syrian influx should have turned Jordan into a basket case. The Hashemite Kingdom has a per capita GDP of just over $5,000, and its official youth unemployment rate is around 30 percent. Though it is about half the size of Oklahoma, it has received perhaps three quarters of a million refugees since the war began—there are some 630,000 registered with the UN, but many more according to the authorities—meaning that Syrians now constitute about a tenth of Jordan’s population of 6.4 million. This is on top of a very large wave of Iraqis who came during the Iraq War a decade ago. How to feed this many, and provide them with potable water? How to school them, and how to employ them, especially when Jordanians themselves have trouble finding work?

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Podcast / Africa

Eastern Africa’s Jihadis: Mozambique

In this episode of The Horn’s mini-series exploring jihadism along the East African coast, Alan Boswell talks to Dr. Adriano Nuvunga about what caused the insurgency in Mozambique to grow and the need for a coordinated regional strategy that addresses its root causes.

The roots of militancy in northern Mozambique go back years, but the insurgency’s true extent didn’t catch the world’s attention until the Cabo Delgado attacks earlier this year. Meanwhile, a humanitarian crisis worsens and neighbouring countries are deploying troops to help reverse the threat. As yet, however, there is little progress toward resolving the conflict.

In a new episode of The Horn’s mini-series, Alan Boswell and Dr. Adriano Nuvunga, a political science professor and executive director of the Center for Democracy and Development in Maputo, unpack how socio-economic marginalisation in resource-rich Cabo Delgado bred grievances that drove recruitment into a new militant group. They discuss what the Mozambican government should prioritise in its response, including tackling the humanitarian fallout, improving governance in the area and overseeing regional military assistance. Most critically, Dr. Nuvunga stresses that Mozambique and its partners should consider political dialogue over a purely military strategy in order to avoid another “forever war” on the continent.

The Eastern Africa’s Jihadis series of The Horn is produced in partnership with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

For more information, read Crisis Group’s report: Stemming the Insurrection in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado.


Senior Analyst, South Sudan
Dr. Adriano Nuvunga
Executive Director of the Center for Democracy and Development in Maputo