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More serious challenges are internal

Jul 23,2017 - Last updated at Jul 23,2017

Over recent months, many wondered how Jordan managed to avoid any serious terrorist attack, especially after the battles of Mosul, in Iraq, and Raqqa, in Syria.

While there are many reasons why Jordan has not suffered from a serious attack, there are also many signs that the country, like any other, is not invulnerable and is, indeed, under real threat.

The Russo-American cooperation in the south of Syria has been a major factor in containing the threat of Daesh and protecting Jordan’s borders.

However, the major security challenges Jordan faces are internal.

While on the surface the economy is the major issue, the underlying challenge is the lack of a clear vision for the future of the country.

In the 1950s and 60s, there were national plans for important sectors, a well-functioning bureaucracy and major institutions were created, such as the University of Jordan, the Hussein Medical Centre, Jordan Radio and TV and the Sports City.

There have been major projects in more recent years, but we appear to have lost the national spirit and failed to reinforce national identity that comes with such projects.

As a result, many Jordanians do not feel that the government represents them, and that citizens’ dignity and respect is the priority of the system of government.

The loss of this feeling is one of the major sources of discontent in the country.

There is no denying that the socioeconomic situation in Jordan represents a big part of the problem, but the lack of narrative and of a clear direction for the future means people feel lost and confused.

In the absence of a national identity narrative, this vacuum is being filled by religious narratives that make people identify more and more with the past, which makes it more difficult to integrate and react positively in the present.

What Jordan needs today is a change of political class, not in personnel, but in the manner leaders and bureaucrats think.

Makers of policies and plans should start thinking of collective efforts to achieve future goals.

Jordanians need to discover their history to understand the value their land represents, and this would be a first step towards a change in mentality, behaviour and how they interact with society.

Unfortunately, the policies of recent years have accumulated power in the hands of an inner circle in Amman, and most of the cities in Jordan paid the price of being neglected at all levels.

The main challenge today is how to reengage the youth so that they feel they are part of this country, making them protagonists of change and development, not antagonists of society.

 

This cannot happen if the same people continue with the same approach, narratives and lack of vision that dominate the political scene at the moment.

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