Jordan’s Forgotten Youth Problem

Image by Alexander Nikishin/Flickr.

King Abdullah’s post-election euphoria disguises the enduring challenge of youth political participation in Jordan. The country’s western allies have adopted a similar relaxed posture towards the palace-led reforms. Yet the state’s continued claims of “reform success” neglect the sentiment of the country’s unsettled youth. Representing more than half the population and the bulk of the unemployed, unrest among Jordanian youth-–particularly tribal elements-continues to fester. Impending austerity measures set against these social pressures present a critical juncture for the state.

Jordan’s recent elections ushered into power various tribal coalitions and independent businessmen, groups considered loyal to King Abdullah II and likely to resist substantive reform. While the level of youth participation–and active boycott–is unknown, skepticism towards state-led reform abounds among many young Jordanians. Instead, concerns about their own economic livelihood remain a top focus.