Jordan's king worried about Syria aftermath
AMMAN — Jordan is struggling under the burden of a half-million refugees from the Syrian civil war — a conflict that King Abdullah II fears could spur a regional base for extremists and terrorists who are “establishing firm footholds in some areas.”
The 51-year -old monarch said the regime of embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad would not survive the revolt that has killed an estimated 70,000 Syrians.
“I believe we are past that point, too much destruction, too much blood,” Abdullah said.
As for his own country, Abdullah says reforms he has begun in Jordan will lead to a greater democracy and will serve as a model to other Arab states that have been undergoing two years of upheaval that have toppled longstanding leaders in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen.
He wants Jordan's monarchy to “take a step back,” explaining his vision of a new style in which future kings — and possibly himself — will serve as arbitrators between different political factions but still hold sway over foreign and defense policies.
Abdullah said Jordan is spending $550 million annually to host an estimated 500,000 refugees from Syria's civil war — about 9 percent of Jordan's population of 6 million — and most have crossed in the last 12 months.
The government says they have strained the country's meager resources, including health care and education, and forced the budget deficit to a record $3 billion last year.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
- Canadians more fearful, aware after ‘very rare’ attack in Ottawa
- Lone gunman kills monument guard, attacks Canada’s Parliament
- Iraqi Kurds to send fighters to aid Kobani
- Libyan troops seek to retake Benghazi
- American baby killed, 8 hurt as car plows into crowd at Jerusalem train station
- 2 dead in shooting attack at Canada’s Parliament
- Kurds, U.S. warplanes run ISIS out of Syrian border town of Kobani
- Nasal cells help paralyzed man make history by walking
- 10 hurt in bombing at Cairo University
- Russia, Ukraine leaders signal progress in talks on peace, gas
- Pope Francis: ‘God is not afraid of new things’