Jordan’s National Security

Jordan’s national security depends to a very large extent on the resolve and inner strength of Jordanian society to ensure the defence and independent will of the country, and to provide the citizens, wherever they may reside, with the means of decent living, personal and financial security and psychological and social stability. Jordan’s physical location and political stance, which place it in the front line of confrontation with the Zionist threat, require it to harness its resources, efforts and capabilities in order to meet the challenge by defending its existence and protecting its national security by all available means.

This being the case, Jordan’s national security shall be based on the following considerations:

1. Jordan’s security is part of Arab national security. In good times and bad, each has a direct bearing on the other. This makes Jordan’s steadfastness and strength indivisible from those of the Arab nation, and emphasises the Arab dimension with regard to Jordan’s strength, security and stability.
2. In its approach to national security, Jordanian policy springs from a recognition of the dangers of division and dependency which threaten the political, economic and social security of Jordan and the Arab World. This calls for a national policy emphasising independence in all fields, strengthening Jordanian society from within, increasing commitment to the homeland, instilling in the youth a spirit of sacrifice and faith in the justice of the nation’s great causes and informing them of the nature, aims and alliances of the enemy and the danger they pose to the future of the Arab nation and its holy places. It also requires emphasis on the duty of Arabs and Muslims to support Jordan’s efforts to preserve its security and protect Arab and Muslim holy places.
3. Jordanian national security is also dependent on inculcating the concept of professionalism in the armed forces, broadening their base, developing their capabilities and rallying the resources of the country and people to their support, to enable them to perform their duty of protecting the country and contributing to its growth and development. This would achieve greater cohesion among the various segments of society and a greater commitment to the preservation of the country’s security and achievements.
4. Increased attention must be given to developing the various arms of national security to enable them to carry out their duties in the best manner possible, in accordance with their respective functions with regard to external and internal security. This must be done within a framework of respect for the dignity, freedom and constitutional rights of the citizenry coupled with a moral responsibility of promoting an atmosphere of social peace and mutual confidence between the security forces and the people in all walks of life.
5. Economic and social security for all segments of the Jordanian people is an essential component of national security. To achieve this, greater reliance must be placed on Jordan’s own resources to enable the country to meet the people’s basic needs in a manner that would accord due respect to the dignity of the individual and contribute to his material and psychological well-being as well as to his means of livelihood.
6. Strengthening democracy is an essential component contributing to a deeper commitment to the homeland and greater confidence in its institutions. It also contributes to solidifying the union of the Jordanian people and further protecting their national security. This must be achieved through providing the conditions for real participation by all citizens in an atmosphere of social justice, equal opportunity and a proper balance between rights and obligations.


The Economy

The Jordanian economy is constrained by several factors which impede its growth and development. Most prominent of these are: scarce mineral, energy and water resources, limited area of arable land, high rates of population growth, small local market (in the absence of a workable concept of Arab economic integration), political instability in the region and an increasing national defence burden.

These constraints have led to a heavy dependence on external assistance and loans. However, the economy has achieved high rates of growth which have left a mark in varying degrees on many aspects of Jordanian life.

With the growth of the role of government in economic activities, it was natural for it to take on the responsibility of providing the infrastructure in the various regions of the Kingdom. However, in the absence of a comprehensive economic policy, proper management and effective oversight of public performance, economic sectors have shown uneven growth. The resultant income disparity has led to a contraction of the middle classes. At the same time, there has been a noticeable rise in prestige projects, conspicuous consumption by the public and private sectors, extravagant use of resources, a large increase in the public debt and a drop in economic growth rates.

In light of the above, the future outlook for economic growth and social development must be guided by the following:

1. The Jordanian economy must be based on respect for private ownership and encouragement of private enterprise. On the other hand, natural resources and strategic projects must be the property of the state, with a full right to their management and supervision in the public interest. The state must also retain the prerogative of regulating the economy and allocating resources in accordance with national priorities.
2. There must be a clear and well-defined developmental strategy based on the concept of self-reliance, release of the innovative spirit in society, a high degree of respect for work and productivity, reconstitution and development of the rural economy, harnessing and rational use of natural and human resources, development of the national productive base, improvement of services, upgrading of public administration and strengthening of financial and quality control.
3. Optimal use must be made of all available resources, coupled with the utilisation of appropriate scientific and technological means for improving productivity in a manner that would meet the needs of the citizens, provide employment opportunities, improve and diversify income and raise the standard of living.
4. Economic decisions must be declared, legal, objective, institutionally-based and free of any personal interest or individual consideration.
5. Reliance must be placed on up-to-date and accurate data in the formulation of socio-economic policy and in the decision-making process. To that end, prompt data collection, documentation and publication must be emphasised.
6. Emphasis must be placed on the right of establishing trade unions in all economic sectors, including agriculture, and the regular updating of labour and trade union legislation to ensure an minimum wage and continuous training of the labour force, and to regulate relations between employers, workers and government within a balanced framework of rights, obligations and roles.
7. Employment opportunities must be provided to all citizens. Policies and measures must be adopted to achieve this objective, particularly through national plans encouraging labour-intensive economic activities, better working conditions, an improved educational system geared towards the needs of society and a greater social value attached to work of any kind.
8. Combating poverty and its effects must be made a strategic goal of the Jordanian state and a national responsibility requiring the provision of employment opportunities to all who can and want to work, with first priority to be given to Jordanians. Also, there must be a just regional and social distribution of services and development projects with the objective of meeting basic needs, marginalising poverty and reducing its impact on the individual and society.
9. Expatriate Jordanians must be regarded as part of the social and economic structure of the state and, hence, measures must be taken to ensure a better knowledge of their conditions, more effective communication with them and closer links with their home base. This must be achieved through watching over their interests in the workplace, ensuring a proper exercise of their citizens’ rights and facilitating the fulfilment of their obligations and commitments to the state.
10. Water must be regarded as a basic factor on which the future of development in Jordan very heavily depends. This requires a clear exercise by the state over ownership, sovereignty, preservation, development, management, storage, transportation and use of water resources within a set of clear national policies and priorities.
11. The roles of all economic sectors—private, public, mixed and cooperative— must be integrated, and objective conditions must be provided for their growth, with due recognition to the role of each sector. Performance must be evaluated according to defined economic and social considerations. Financial exemptions enjoyed by public companies and institutions which operate on a commercial basis must be eliminated, while ensuring that no conflict arises with the provisions or objectives of the Encouragement of Investment Law.
12. The centrality to the national economy of the agricultural sector in Jordan must be recognised and accorded the priority and attention it deserves. Also, the roles of agricultural institutions must be activated and integrated in the areas of combating desertification and urban encroachment, and developing and disseminating agricultural research and extension. Agro-industries, productivity, marketing, and livestock development must be regarded as an essential element of national policies aimed at achieving food security.
13. Stress must be placed on industries with a high value-added element arising from the use of local materials and other components, and favourable conditions and incentives must be provided for their growth and development. Competition must be promoted among the various national industries.
14. Services utilising domestic expertise must be developed and marketed, as they constitute a basic component of the national economy. Also, in so far as tourism is a major source of national income, the tourist potential must be developed to the full through marketing, development of tourist and archaeological sites, encouraging domestic tourism, cultural activities and Jordanian folklore, and supporting traditional trades in all regions of the Kingdom.
15. Economic and financial legislation must be unambiguous and complementary in nature. It must be updated in line with evolving domestic and external variables. Savings must be encouraged and a favourable investment climate provided. Procedures must be streamlined.
16. Financial and tax legislation must be regularly updated while ensuring a measure of flexibility to meet the evolving economic and social needs of Jordanian society, because such legislation is an important means of developing and regulating the national economy and a basic requirement for balanced national development which leads to reducing income disparity and achieving social justice.
17. Public borrowing by the state and its various institutions must be regulated in accordance with the Kingdom’s priorities and basic needs. Domestic and external loans, and any other loans guaranteed by the government, must be made subject to parliamentary approval.
18. There must be close cooperation and coordination between government bodies and specialised social institutions in the ecological field, as all citizens have a right to a clean and balanced environment. Protection of the environment from pollution is a national responsibility towards present and future generations. Awareness must be disseminated to ensure an environmentally sensitive public outlook and a high level of public understanding of pollution problems. Measures must be taken to achieve a balance between environmental needs and the development imperative. Criteria must be set and legislation enacted to deal with the negative ecological impact of certain types of development projects.


The Social Aspect

1. Jordanian society derives its mores and values from the Arab and Islamic system of values, as well as from the universal human ethic. Relationships among its people are based on the bond of citizenship. Societal development rests on participation by all segments and institutions in the process of construction and production, with the common objective of achieving integrated social growth under conditions of freedom, equality and social justice.
2. The system is also based on respect for the individual as pointed out in the Almighty’s dictum: “We have bestowed blessings on Adam’s children.” State institutions must, therefore, ensure the dignity and rights of all citizens, as guaranteed by the Constitution and affirmed by international conventions. Individuals and groups must play their part in protecting these rights and observing the principles of justice, equality and equal opportunity for all.
3. The family is the principal block of society. It is the natural environment for the rearing, education and personality growth of the individual. The official and popular institutions of the state must provide for the formation, cohesion and well-being of the family. They must assist it in the task of providing future generations with a sound upbringing.
4. Good motherhood is the basis of good childhood, to which every child has a natural right. State and society must provide special care for mothers and children, ensuring working mothers’ rights to maternity leave and child-care facilities, including health and social guarantees, good working conditions and appropriate support amenities.
5. Children have the right to expect the best possible level of care and protection from parents as well as from the state. This must be geared towards the development of their independent and cooperative personalities, without any discrimination between males and females.
6. Women are men’s partners and equals in contributing to the growth and development of Jordanian society. This requires an affirmation of women’s constitutional and legal right to equality, guidance, training and employment as a means of enabling them to play their proper role in the growth and development of society.
7. Youth constitute both the future of society and its renewable human wealth. The state must draw up policies and national programmes aimed at harnessing the resources of the country’s youth, qualifying them for responsibility, productive work, innovation and creativity, protecting them from delinquency and directing their creative energies towards constructive development.
8. The handicapped have a right to special care, education, training, rehabilitation and employment, thus enabling them to overcome their difficulties and become productive members of Jordanian society.
9. Attention must be paid to the concept of social partnership in Jordanian society through expanding social benefits and developing the Zakah (Alms) Law with the aim of regulating it, unifying and upgrading collection and ensuring the achievement of its basic objectives.
10. Voluntary work must be based on the concept of national commitment and social partnership. Attention must be paid to the establishment of voluntary societies and clubs and providing them with incentives conducive to effective participation, to strengthening the positive values of Jordanian society and to rejuvenating the Arab and Islamic traditions of partnership, amity and altruism.