Earlier this month, the number of Syrians that have fled the country since the start of its civil war surpassed 2 million. About 515,000 of them sought shelter in neighboring Jordan. The refugees amount to 10 percent of the kingdom’s population.
As the Syrian conflict continues, refugees could total 20 percent of Jordan’s population by next year, said Jordanian King Abdullah II when he spoke before the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday afternoon. Jordan, he said, is running out of resources for them.
“These are not just numbers; they are people who need food, water, shelter, sanitation, electricity, health care, and more,” he said. “Not even the strongest global economies could absorb this demand on infrastructure and resources, let alone a small economy and the fourth water-poorest country in the world.”
The king thanked the U.N. and regional and international donors for their help, but asked for more assistance from world powers, calling the Syrian crisis a “global humanitarian and security disaster” and declaring, “I say here and now that my people cannot be asked to shoulder the burden of what is a regional and global challenge.”
In his speech to the General Assembly on Tuesday morning, President Obama pledged to provide an additional $339 million in humanitarian aid to the Syrian refugee crisis, with more than $48 million allocated for Jordan. This brings the total U.S. contribution since the Syrian civil war began in 2011 to more than $1.3 billion.
Paul Stromberg, head of U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees operations in Jordan, told Stars and Stripes on Sunday, “If we have an influx of, say, 50,000 people right now, that would basically wipe [us] out. It would be catastrophic from a budget perspective.”
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Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”
Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”