Seeking Shelter in Jordan’s Cities

Housing Security and Urban Humanitarianism in the Syria Crisis

by Vicky Kelberer | published November 5, 2015

Umm Anas’ four-room apartment rings with the muffled laughter of children told to hush. Her six sons and daughters and four neighborhood children huddle around a tiny, rickety television in the otherwise unfurnished living room. Arabic-dubbed episodes of the “How to Train Your Dragon” television series play in the background while the little boys chase each other around the room with plastic toy guns. Umm Anas’ two-year old daughter clings to her mother’s skirts and watches as humanitarian workers survey the broken doors with no locks and the jagged remnants of windowpanes. The toilet behind the house is open to the rest of the complex, and the family’s water tank allows them only 20 gallons per week for seven people.

US Aid to Israel

The Censored GAO Report

by Joe Stork , Martha Wenger
published in MER117

The General Accounting Office (GAO), often referred to as “the congressional watchdog agency,” began a full-scale investigation of US aid to Israel in early 1982, without any public announcement or official congressional sponsor. The report was completed in early 1983 and circulated to the relevant government agencies for comment, as is customary. These included the State and Defense Departments, the Agency for International Development (AID) and the Central Intelligence Agency. The Israeli Embassy also had the opportunity to review the text, on the grounds that some information had been obtained from classified Israeli sources.

Trapped in Refuge

The Syrian Crisis in Jordan Worsens

by Christiane Fröhlich , Matthew R. Stevens | published March 2, 2015

The daily lives of Syrian refugees in Jordan have always been difficult, but until the winter of 2014-2015, they were defined more by concern about making ends meet than outright panic.

Relief Efforts in the South

by James Paul
published in MER108

Richard Butler is director of the Middle East office for the National Council of Churches. Jim Paul interviewed him in New York in August 1982.

When were you in Lebanon?

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Shadow Aid to Syrian Refugees

by Elizabeth Dickinson
published in MER272

A carpenter all his life, ‘Ala’ never imagined himself wanting for something like a chair or a bed. But today his blue plastic seat is a luxury. After fleeing war in Syria, ‘Ala’ and his family were homeless in Jordan for roughly 18 months. But since January, the father of three has lived with a dozen other refugee families in a furnished apartment building on the outskirts of Amman.

Bread Is Life

The Intersection of Welfare Politics and Emergency Aid in Jordan

by Jose Ciro Martinez
published in MER272

‘Abd al-Qadir is tall, handsome and unassumingly stylish. With his well-cropped beard, Bob Marley T-shirt and Nike kicks, the young man would not look out of place on the gentrified streets of Brooklyn, the art scene of Belleville or the bustling beaches of his dream destination, Rio de Janeiro. Instead, he lingers in Amman, confronting dark news from home with a disarming smile.

Letter from a Devastated Land

by Ellen Cantarow
published in MER135

I arrived in Khartoum on April 15, nine days after the coup, as soon as the borders opened. In Cairo, I had watched film clips of the noisy, jubilant crowds that had brought down Numairi, but Khartoum was eerily silent now. The high of the revolution" had given way to the sense of crisis that once again grips this country. While political skirmishes went on concerning who would be in the civilian cabinet, the abiding, bedrock realities that pervaded the country were the civil war in the south and the drought and famine in the west and northeast.

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True Democrats Don't Bankroll Juntas

by Joshua Stacher | published July 12, 2013

The military’s coup in Egypt has placed the American political establishment in a bind. Many observers insist that the Obama administration must either formally condone the military takeover or call it a “coup,” which would require a cutoff of American aid, as Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has advocated.

Futile Military Financing

by Chris Toensing | published April 3, 2013

One of the more regrettable things that Uncle Sam does with your tax dollars is sending $3.1 billion in military aid to Israel every year. He’ll be doing that until 2018 -- and probably after, unless Americans decide enough is enough.

When President Barack Obama traveled to Israel in March, he was keen to “reaffirm the unbreakable bond between our nations” and “to restate America’s unwavering commitment to Israel’s security.” Over the years, Washington has displayed this resolve in several ways. One of the most consequential has been the continuous stream of taxpayer dollars that has kept Israel armed to the teeth and reduced the prospects for Middle East peace.

The Famine This Time

by Gayle Smith
published in MER166

Gayle Smith coordinates the Africa program at the Washington-based Development Group for Alternative Policies. In the past ten years she has worked extensively in the Horn of Africa on relief and development issues. Her most recent trip to Ethiopia and Sudan was in June 1990. She spoke with Joe Stork in Washington.

Compared to the famine of 1984-1985, what is the scope of the problem in the Horn today?

In terms of numbers, the famine is somewhat less severe than it was five years ago. There are an estimated 5 million in need as opposed to 7-9 million in 1984-1985. Just over 1 million of these people are in Eritrea; another 2.2 million live in Tigray. The rest live elsewhere in the north of Ethiopia, areas now also affected by the war.

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