Syrian Refugees and their Impact on Jordanian National Security

  • Naeima Al Menhali

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Naeima Al Menhali, 'Syrian Refugees and their Impact on Jordanian National Security', M.A. Thesis, M. A. in International and Civil Security, Institute of International and Civil Security, Khalifa University of Science, Technology and Research, United Arab Emirates, December 2016. This thesis addresses the Syrian refugees in Jordan and its impact on the Jordanian national security from 2011 to the present. This issue has become a central debate not only in Jordan but also in the whole world due to unpredictable implications that could affect a state's national security. The terrorist attacks in Paris (November 2015) and Brussels (March 2016), for example, altered public perception about refugees because of the attacks were linked back to migrants. This resulted in establishing proactive screening for all refugees to ensure that refugees are not a potential security threat to the relevant hosted countries. In this way, refugees have come to be seen as a security threat rather than as individuals that need protecting. Similarly, there has been a tremendous shift in how Jordan has dealt with Syrian refugees because of their perceived negative impact on the country's national security. This study sets out to explain why this change in approach to Syrian refugees occurred in Jordan. In the case of Jordan, the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Shams (ISIS) has made frequent threats to attack the country. The unacceptable killing of a Jordanian pilot in January 2015 is a clear sign that ISIS really considers Jordan an enemy. It is conceivable that ISIS could make use of the Syrian refugee crises to attack Jordan and this is a concern of Jordanian government. The Jordanian authorities declared the border a closed military zone after An ISIS-claimed suicide truck bomb attack near the informal refugee camp at Rukban killed seven Jordanian security personnel on 21 June 2016. iv There is a growing perception today that Syrian refugees present a security challenge to host nations. This paper therefore seeks to answer the question: 'To what extent has Syrian refugees affected the national security of Jordan from 2011 to 2016?' This thesis argues that there are indeed several challenges that Jordan is facing as a result of the Syrian refugee crisis, which have had a significant reshaping effect on Jordanian national security. Those security challenges need to be carefully differentiated from those which may be caused directly by Syrian refugees. The intent of this study is to look more closely at the contemporary Jordanian case and consider how the lessons learned might be applicable to other places. The thesis will also focus on the historical case study of Palestinian and Iraqi refugees in Jordan in order to understand the Jordanian historical experience with refugees and think about how this might influence Jordan's policy today.
Date of AwardDec 2016
Original languageAmerican English
SupervisorAshley Rossiter (Supervisor)


  • Syrian refugees
  • Jordanian national security
  • security challenges
  • qualitative approach
  • case studies
  • process-tracing
  • implications.

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