Jordanians are becoming a minority in their own country, outnumbered by refugees from the conflicts around them. The latest are 600,000+ Syrians who have fled the war in their country that has become a humanitarian disaster, and 200,000 Iraqis who have seen renewed fighting erupt in their country as bombings are a daily occurrence in Baghdad and other cities.
An estimated half to two thirds of Jordan's population are Palestinians. Unlike other countries, Jordan has given them citizenship, although not full equality. The greatest threat to the Hashemite regime may come from them and their brethren across the Jordan River, not the Syrian or Iraqi borders.
West Bank Palestinians look to the day of confederation with the East Bank, preferably after they attain statehood on their own. An irredentist Palestinian state, especially if Hamas succeeds in its goal of supplanting Fatah, could pose a mortal threat to Jordan's future. Being landlocked and having minimal natural resources, Palestine may feel a need to expand, and to pursue that course along the path of least resistance, eastward. Confederation could be only a beginning.
Most Jordanians would rather see Palestinians leave their country to live in the new state of Palestine. Unlike many Palestinians and Greater Israel nationalists they reject any suggestion that Jordan is Palestine.
Read more about it in my Washington Watch column this week.
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