Long regarded as an “oasis of stability” in a conflict-ridden region, Jordan has faced an increasing number of security challenges in recent years. Neighboring Iraq and Syria are fragile or broken, flooding Jordan with refugees and acting as hotbeds for extremism. Thousands of Jordanians have gone to fight in those countries, and a wave of terrorist attacks has struck the kingdom itself. As a result, the regime’s stance toward Jordan’s variety of Islamists has evolved.
In this Brookings Doha Center analysis paper, Beverley Milton-Edwards examines how Jordan is grappling with the growing threat of jihad and Salafi-jihadi movements. She finds that the state increasingly portrays all of Jordan’s Islamists as a monolithic and fundamental threat, and has employed heavy-handed security tactics accordingly. Arguing that this strategy is flawed, Milton-Edwards recommends that Jordan and its allies should strengthen the kingdom’s resilience through developing a security approach that leverages—rather than undermines—Jordan’s strong and inclusive social fabric.