Home Institution

Duke University

Publication Date

Fall 2019

Program Name

Jordan: Geopolitics, International Relations, and the Future of the Middle East


Bordering Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Israel/Palestine, with Lebanon not too far away, Jordan’s location makes it at high risk for violent extremism. Although Jordan is considered one of the safest countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, the country is known for having one of the highest numbers of foreign fighters in the world, and for being the homeland of the father of ISIS (Abu Musab al-Zarqawi). Also worrisome is the increasing number of desperate people turning to extremist ideologies due to the country’s economic crisis and lack of opportunities for political engagement. Jordan could be at a tipping point: as more people turn toward fundamentalist and political Islam, and as the economic crisis worsens, the country could see a large increase in the number of people radicalizing and joining violent extremist groups.

This independent study project examines the reasons people are radicalizing to violent extremism in Jordan, and assesses the Jordanian strategy for P/CVE from the lens of local community participation. The researcher collected data through a combination of primary and secondary sources, including six interviews with experts in Jordanian P/CVE policy. She found that community engagement projects, such as programs run through mosques, schools, and prisons, are more effective in preventing and countering violent extremism than traditional militaristic methods. With this conclusion in mind, the paper ends with policy suggestions for how to further empower local communities and more effectively curb violent extremism in Jordan.


Arabic Studies | International and Intercultural Communication | International Humanitarian Law | Islamic World and Near East History | Near and Middle Eastern Studies | Peace and Conflict Studies | Politics and Social Change | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Terrorism Studies


Article Location