‘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.

In February 2011, ‘Abd al-Qadir began his two years of obligatory military service near his hometown of Ladhiqiyya in northern Syria. After six months of basic training, he was dispatched to the tumultuous southern city of Dar‘a, where the regime of Bashar al-Asad had deployed the army against a host of peaceful protesters. Against violence in principle, and skeptical of the Asad regime’s vilification of the forces that opposed it, ‘Abd al-Qadir refused to fire on civilians when ordered to do so. “My friends were at the opposition rallies,” he says. “The townspeople fed us because they knew the army did not give us enough food.” After three weeks in a military prison and several rounds of corporal punishment, ‘Abd al-Qadir decided to flee.

On November 21, 2011, he escaped his battalion. He resided in Damascus for four months, absent without leave and subject to severe penalty, until the sister with whom he was living was arrested for organizing opposition rallies. A wanted man, with scores of imprisoned friends, he was advised by family members to leave the country. Combining long hikes with rides from acquaintances, he completed the 60-mile journey from Damascus to the Jordanian border city of Ramtha on March 21, 2012. After a brief stay in the Bashabsha refugee camp, he was sponsored by a distant cousin and allowed to exit. Since then he has lived in Amman, working odd jobs before settling as a barista in one of the capital’s up-and-coming neighborhoods.

On most days ‘Abd al-Qadir, cigarette in hand, smile on his face and sandwich nearby, has a happiness that is infectious. Yet in moments of candor, he admits his frustrations. He constantly visits foreign embassies in hopes of asylum, but he has no passport so he cannot leave Jordan. He works seven days a week in what is considered an illegal job, so he cannot ask his employer for vacation days or shorter hours. His residency status is in question, so he cannot rent an apartment legally. Amid all of these problems, one government program stands out for the benefits it provides — the subsidy of khubz ‘arabi, or Arabic bread.

The Importance of Subsidized Bread

Residents of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan are estimated to consume 8 million loaves of khubz ‘arabi per day, an average of 90 kilograms (198 pounds) per person per year. The subsidy, a universal, untargeted price support, is a mainstay of state policy. In the 1960s, to protect consumers from market fluctuations, the state began to regulate the supply and price of staples such as wheat, rice, sugar and powdered milk. High inflation in the early 1970s spurred further state intervention. In 1974, the state created the Ministry of Supply, which became responsible for administering subsidies of goods deemed politically sensitive. [1] The availability of these basic goods at low prices allowed residents of Jordan to maintain a decent standard of living.

A 1989 standby agreement with the International Monetary Fund and a World Bank loan led to reductions in government spending, including substantial cuts in food price supports, though wheat subsidies were left unscathed due their nutritional and political importance. The wheat subsidies were lifted later, in 1996, sparking bread riots that August in the southern city of Karak. Soon afterward, the subsidy was reinstated and the price eventually settled at 16 qirsh per kilogram. The price is the same today — a kilogram of khubz ‘arabi costs the equivalent of 22 cents.

Following the dramatic rise in global wheat prices in 2007, the government severely curtailed its subsidy of wheat products in early 2008. The system was altered so that only wheat flour of 78 percent extraction, known locally as al-muwahhad, would be subsidized. New legislation made it illegal to use subsidized flour for anything but the cheapest khubz ‘arabi. Cakes, biscuits and varieties of bread made with superior flour more than tripled in price, but the classic khubz ‘arabi remained unaffected. [2] Currently, the government purchases wheat and sells it to private millers at market prices. The millers oversee the wheat’s conversion into different types of flour. The al-muwahhad variety, intended only for the production of standard khubz ‘arabi, is then sold at state-regulated prices to bakeries, according to quotas set by the Ministry of Trade.

The system works, in general, though it does offer opportunities for unlawful gain at several links in the supply chain. [3] Fraud often occurs during the assignment of quotas by Trade Ministry employees, or during delivery, when distributors may collude with millers or bakers to sell subsidized flour on the black market. In addition, certain bakeries illegally use subsidized flour for more expensive goods. Although there are no reliable estimates of the magnitude of the leakage, the Bakery Owners Union, independent bakers and Trade Ministry officials confirm the pervasiveness and profitability of these tactics.

Notwithstanding graft, spoilage and theft, the bread subsidy is one of Jordan’s few broadly approved welfare policies. Subsidized flour is crucial for the poor, who devote close to 50 percent of their household expenditures to food. Many Jordanians consider subsidized bread a fundamental right, a vital state responsibility toward the citizenry. The khubz holds a symbolic value that is not easily quantified. As one Jordanian columnist puts it, “In addition to being a strategic commodity linked to daily consumption…bread is associated in society’s consciousness with dignity and sustenance.” [4]

Bread’s place in the national diet and collective consciousness weds it to social stability. For the Jordanian regime, this calculus is obvious: Even as the regime rolls back other welfare expenditures, bread is a “red line” it fears crossing. [5]

The IMF and World Bank, however, are most concerned with Jordan’s ability to pay down its public debt. More often than not, these and other foreign donors see subsidies as constraints on the kingdom’s fiscal flexibility rather than as sensitive policies tied to socially constructed forms of value and legitimacy. The IMF and World Bank have long disparaged Jordan’s flour subsidy as a lumbering behemoth. A 2003 IMF document, for instance, encouraged the reallocation of public expenditures so to phase “out poorly targeted and costly subsidies.” [6]

The flood of Syrian refugees into Jordan brought the bread subsidy back to the fore. At first—perhaps perturbed that a welfare program intended for Jordanians was now serving a migrant population — the Bretton Woods institutions persisted in urging that the subsidy be rolled back. But, on July 28, 2013, the World Bank made an abrupt about-face. It reached an agreement with the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation for a $150 million low-interest loan to “maintain access to essential health care services and basic household needs for the Jordanian population affected by the large and increasing influx of Syrian refugees.” [7] Overnight, in the Bank’s discourse as in reality, the flour subsidy became crucial to the “uninterrupted provision of basic household commodities.” [8] The Bank even called the price support “progressive,” since it helps poor households so much more than rich ones. Has the Syrian crisis convinced Jordan’s external patrons of the effectiveness of this key welfare program? Or are the bread subsidy’s days numbered nonetheless?

The Refugee Influx

The territory now ruled by the Hashemite Kingdom has long been a safe haven from regional turmoil. Today, the country has pockets of Chechens and Circassians who came at the end of the nineteenth century, a number of influential Syrian families that migrated during the 1920s and an array of Iraqi communities who arrived during the tumultuous quarter-century following the 1990-1991 Gulf war. More than half of Jordan’s population is of Palestinian origin, put to flight across the River Jordan by the 1948 and 1967 wars. There are also untold numbers of Egyptian workers, most laboring in the informal sector. Rapid population growth, disorderly displacement and chaotic resettlement have frequently brought social tensions. The most memorable instance is commonly referred to as Black September (1970-1971), when Palestinian liberation groups and their supporters in the refugee community rallied to overthrow the Hashemite monarchy. Many of the so-called East Bankers, citizens whose families have long inhabited the plains, valleys and desert ranges to the east of the River Jordan, fear a repeat of previous episodes of instability. Syrians are the new outsiders who are causing concern.

Although Jordan is not a signatory of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR) considers the kingdom a “favorable” protection space for asylum seekers. With notable exceptions, the Jordanian government has maintained an admirable open-door policy toward refugees since the escalation of the Syrian conflict in late 2011. While the world’s attention is focused on the 120,000 people in UN-run camps along the Jordanian-Syrian border, there are now more than 600,000 registered Syrian refugees in Jordanian host communities, according to UNHCR estimates. This figure is projected to increase to more than 800,000 by the end of 2014.

Syrian refugees are not legally allowed to work in Jordan. The 20 percent who live in UN camps must therefore rely on food parcels, cash vouchers and charitable donations distributed by the UNHCR, the World Food Program (WFP) and their partners. Due to their largely urban origins, and like their Iraqi counterparts before them, Syrians have largely settled in Jordan’s major towns and cities. [9] The 80 percent of refugees living outside the camps are the hardest to identify and assist, and they are often the ones most in need of help. Barred from formal employment, refugees find their finances quickly stretched to the limit. They survive off savings, gifts from neighbors, aid from various NGOs and, increasingly, black-market jobs in the Jordanian service sector. Informal work is often their only lifeline, although they are frequently exposed to its dangers — long working hours, no legal recourse in cases of abuse and below-market compensation.

The government directs refugees to UN camps, where living costs are largely covered by UN agencies. Outside the camps, the government’s open-door policy means that refugees have access to public services, such as health care and education. State infrastructure, as well as the wherewithal of the “host communities,” has come under great strain. Informally employed Syrian laborers have put downward pressure on already low wages, as Jordan’s working poor face growing competition for jobs in the construction, service and agricultural sectors. The Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation describes these pressures as “the main current threat to social cohesion,” an opinion echoed by key government officials in conversations. [10]

Jordan’s open door has been costly as well. The government spent $251 million on direct and indirect costs in 2012 alone. The following year, the Planning Ministry estimated that provision of basic services to refugees outside UN camps amounted to $493 million, less than half of which was offset by external grants. These mounting costs are in addition to the $1.2 billion requested by the UNHCR for humanitarian assistance in its most recent Syria Regional Response Plan for Jordan. Donations to UN efforts, whose programs do not cover recurring government costs such as health care, education and municipal services for those Syrians living outside the refugee camps, are also severely underfunded.

Government spokesman Mohammad al-Momani believes that foreign assistance covers “only around 30 percent of the costs borne by the Jordanian government.” “Jordan is appreciative of the support,” he emphasizes, “but it is not enough.” Aid workers and UN reports acknowledge that short-term assistance is either insufficient or unsustainable; long-term planning is made impossible by the lack of guarantees from foreign donors.

Costs of Hosting Syrian Refugees in Jordan

The kingdom’s economic vulnerability is not solely a byproduct of its proximity to war zones. Independent assessments highlight structural weaknesses that predate the Syrian crisis and are major drivers of tensions between refugees and host communities. [11] The accelerated economic growth that began in 2000, always inequitably distributed, fell off during the global financial crisis. GDP growth rates since 2010 have yet to surpass 3 percent. The debt-GDP ratio now stands at 83.9 percent. Persistent mismanagement of resources, wasteful spending and chronic parliamentary shortsightedness — each of these factors has played a part.

Increasing stress on the economy coupled with mounting government debts led the kingdom to agree to a 36-month IMF $2.05 billion standby agreement in August 2012. A new wave of reforms followed. To counter economic decline, a 2012 World Bank assessment recommended increasing government revenues through the elimination of various tax exemptions, extending the public-sector hiring freeze to the security forces and moving away from untargeted subsidies. Among the welfare expenditures slated for “immediate” phase-out was the flour subsidy, a policy the World Bank deemed “costly and inefficient.” [12]

The policy is indeed costly. Government spending on wheat increased from 14 million dinars in 2001 to 31 million in 2006 to more than 100 million in 2010. In 2013, the Trade Ministry spent more than 180 million dinars on wheat flour, equivalent to 0.8 percent of GDP and close to 8 percent of the growing government deficit. [13] Confidential numbers acquired from the Trade Ministry show an uptick in wheat imports, which now stand at almost 80,000 tons per month.

The flour subsidy, however, has also allowed Jordan to cope with the emergency task of feeding Syrian refugees. Official figures reveal that the consumption of subsidized flour countrywide has risen 21 percent since 2010. Numerous bakers in governorates bordering Syria have requested increases in subsidized flour quotas to ensure that they can serve all of their customers. Khalid al-Hamawi, sales director at the bustling al-Raya bakery in Amman, confirms both higher sales of khubz ‘arabi and increased reliance on it among the arrivals from Syria. “Many of the refugees eat nothing but khubz wa shay (bread and tea). They rarely if ever buy any of the more expensive, non-subsidized goods.” He is unsure about the possible restriction of bread subsidies to Jordanian citizens through use of a smart card: “When I talk to the refugees, they quickly convey how important bread is to them, how it is one of the first things they no longer take for granted.” [14] He wonders what would happen if bread rose to the predicted unregulated price of 38 qirsh for non-Jordanians. “The current subsidy mechanism is undoubtedly flawed, but an overnight price hike for foreigners and refugees is not the solution, either.”

The World Bank’s Revelation

The World Bank’s $150 million low-interest loan was necessary, even if it was surprising to long-time observers of the institution. Of the total amount, $55 million was disbursed to finance the costs linked to increased bread consumption by Syrian refugees. More than half the disbursement was retroactively applied to the period from July 2012 to June 2013. Just one year earlier, the World Bank described the provision of discounted al-muwwahad flour as one of the largest strains on the country’s annual budget. [15] Its disproportionate use by poor households, who spend 3.6 percent of their household budget on bread, versus the less than 1 percent spent by Jordan’s three wealthiest income brackets, was deemed unimportant. Immediate elimination or wholesale reform of the subsidy was the recommended policy path. Following the July 2013 loan, the bread subsidy became “pro-poor” in the Bank’s statements, playing a crucial role in “maintaining consumption” levels among the needy, as simulations predicted that 45,000 individuals could be pushed into poverty were the subsidy to be eliminated. [16] The supply of cheap bread “aimed to help poor and lower middle-class households,” and it also helped avert the type of “significant social instability” that accompanied previous price increases. [17]

Despite these anomalous remarks, the loan document suggests inconsistencies at the heart of the organization’s volte-face. The World Bank’s relevant project appraisal makes no secret of its distaste for the welfare program. “While the economic case for subsidies in normal circumstances is not compelling…[the bread subsidy] can play an important temporary role in an emergency.” [18] World Bank reports on Jordan since the loan are filled with the language of emergency: Welfare expenditures deemed unproductive and wasteful during ordinary times are suddenly crucial to the survival of vulnerable populations.

The World Bank’s new tack highlights not only the bankruptcy of its one-size-fits-all doctrines, but also its inability to resist the pressures of its own patrons — chief among them the United States. Jordanian analysts and politicians are critical of the loan from a range of perspectives.

Musa Shteiwi, professor of sociology and head of the University of Jordan’s Center for Strategic Studies, summarizes one general sentiment: “Why should Jordan take out loans to finance the side effects of a crisis it did not cause? Of a crisis it did not want?” Shteiwi is sensitive to bread’s nutritional and political importance, but he believes the subsidy should be targeted. He sees the loan as dismaying evidence of the Bank’s willingness to contradict its own “futile policy recommendations.”

‘Isa al-Damour, head of the Trade Ministry’s Internal Audit Unit, which oversees the production and distribution of subsidized flour, thinks that the World Bank’s loan may have strings attached. “The money is nothing but a stopgap,” he says. “A secret condition of the loan may very well be the eventual elimination of the subsidy.” Al-Damour would also like to direct the subsidy toward the poor.

Hani Mulqi, a former minister of both foreign affairs and trade now serving in Parliament, stressed his support for most World Bank prescriptions, yet argued for leniency regarding the price support of the basic foodstuff. “This is bread!” he exclaimed. “The current situation, both regional and domestic, means that we cannot play with the bread subsidy, notwithstanding the inefficiencies that permeate the current system.”    

Mulqi’s views are widely shared in Amman’s political salons. While appreciative of the Bank’s assistance, many see the organization as overly attuned to macroeconomic indicators and insensitive to human need. They note that subsidized bread has helped keep the lid on the unrest that could have exploded amid the Syrian refugee influx. Many ask why poverty, unemployment and inequality are not coded as emergencies. Why has it taken an unprecedented crisis for the Bretton Woods institutions to support the provision of basic foodstuffs to Jordan’s most disadvantaged citizens?

Economist and former CEO of the Jordan Investment Board Yusuf Mansour suspects that dictates were sent to World Bank officers by influential neighbors in Foggy Bottom. “When Jordan needs a check to be cut, our friends call the US State Department.” Mansour evinces no surprise at the World Bank’s change of position. “Of course the loan is political. Jordan has been successfully bartering its geopolitical position for a long time.” Stability in Jordan, it appears, was far more important than adherence to neoliberal dogma, which, after all, can undermine the interests of its keenest promoters. In private conversations, Trade Ministry officials agree that, recurrent mention of subsidy reform notwithstanding, “there will be no change as long as the Syrian crisis persists.”

Approaches to Aid

Constant talk of the refugee burden has allowed the Jordanian government to keep domestic criticism of economic policy at bay. Yet one cannot visit the kingdom’s northern governorates, or the poor neighborhoods of Amman, Madaba or Ma‘an, without seeing that the lower classes are under incredible duress. Relief organizations and ministers alike call for a massive increase in outside aid. The assistance offered so far is not enough, but more interesting is the impact of the aid that has arrived.

Since 2011, foreign donors, UN agencies and their partners have experimented with strategies for distributing aid to Syrian refugees and Jordanian host communities. Because of bad experiences following the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, when the Jordanian government helped inflate the numbers of Iraqi refugees while redirecting international assistance to pet programs, many donors are hesitant to deposit funds directly in state coffers without conditions. [19] The consequences are most notable in emergency food aid. More and more, the UNHCR, WFP and partners dispense cash vouchers to be used in supermarkets rather than give funds or food to the Jordanian government for distribution. The case of subsidized bread is at the intersection of two competing approaches to food distribution — welfare and emergency aid.

Subsidized bread is available at any local bakery to everyone, whether Syrian refugees, the unemployed, poor migrant laborers or street peddlers who eke out a living. For poor Jordanians uncovered by state welfare, and for refugees dispersed outside the UN-sponsored camps, the stable price of khubz ‘arabi offers a respite from high inflation.

Of the $1.2 billion requested for Jordan in the latest interagency UN Regional Response Plan, $322 million will be destined for food. Of those funds, $221 million will go to WFP food vouchers or cash assistance, part of the shift toward “market-based programming.” This approach hopes to build on existing retail markets, to encourage Jordan’s private sector while making aid provision more efficient through increased choice. What the aid agencies often neglect to mention, or choose to ignore, is that Jordan’s food markets are thoroughly regulated by the state, and that their rapid expansion causes inflation, exhausts supply and drains the national treasury.

In many NGO and UN reports, subsidized bread is notable for its absence. The commodity rarely appears in the agencies’ calculations of the cost of the average food basket in Jordan. Few NGOs mention, let alone stress, the need to maintain the bread subsidy, an odd stance given these groups’ acute concern with food security. The bread subsidy is implicitly regarded as a national welfare program outside of their purview, a blessing that arrives without prayer.

Bread Is Life

Inside the al-Raya bakery, strategically situated between the working-class neighborhood of Suwaylih and the elite enclave of Dabouq, Yusuf waits patiently in line for khubz ‘arabi. Surrounded by baklava, whole-wheat baguettes and other appetizing, but unsubsidized fare, he tots up his weekly expenditures on food. “I buy six kilograms of khubz ‘arabi every day,” he says, dejected. “Between my children and extended family, there is barely enough.” Yusuf and his family of six arrived in Amman in November 2012. The following January, he began work as a dishwasher at an upscale Lebanese restaurant. His family shares a cramped apartment with 12 distant cousins from his hometown of Dar‘a. “I am not sure what I would do without the cheap bread made available to us all,” he confesses. He stops speculation about a bread price hike mid-sentence. “The Jordanian government has been kind to us. I hope they do not listen to the external powers. There is a reason the Egyptians call bread ‘aysh (life).”

Subsidized bread helps displaced Syrians survive. Untargeted and widely available, its perceived “inefficiencies” are exactly what transform it into emergency food aid. The subsidy decreases the cost of the basic food basket, a crucial contribution, as food vouchers and cash transfers fail to cover the monthly expenses of Syrian refugees (or poor Jordanians). Cheap bread lowers the poverty rate. It continues to be seen as a crucial responsibility of the state, an earned recompense for the taxpaying citizenry.

But the NGOs and development agencies operating in Jordan do not seem to understand. They view bureaucracies as “apolitical machines,” whose role is limited to fostering growth and providing social services. [20] They construe the state as neutral and technocratic. They fail to see economic policy as a site of contestation. The IMF and World Bank, too, often forget that welfare programs are tentative outcomes of political battles that are still being fought. The World Bank’s reversal aside, its policy documents demonstrate an aversion to grappling with the politics of welfare. Once the Syrian crisis ends, or once global concern fades and funding dries up, the Bretton Woods institutions are likely to resume their campaign to eliminate the bread subsidy.

So far, Jordan’s decision makers have resisted this neoliberal impulse. Rather than heeding the World Bank, the Jordanian government would be well served by listening to UNICEF, an agency with far deeper knowledge of how reforms designed in faraway offices affect suffering families on the ground. UNICEF promotes “a turn from austerity-based fiscal policies to inclusive, food-security responses.” The global financial crisis, the worldwide rise in food prices and present turmoil “cast doubt on the appropriateness of a policy stance that tightens public expenditure” on programs deemed crucial to the survival of children and poor families. [21] In the case of subsidized bread, the goals of emergency food aid and welfare provision appear to coincide. Luckily for the Jordanian poor and Syrian refugees, geopolitics and domestic politics seem to have aligned in their favor, if haphazardly, and only for the time being.

For ‘Abd al-Qadir, khubz ‘arabi is ever present and essential. Whether a loaf to dip in fava beans, a wrap for falafel or a few scraps to swirl in tea, bread at 16 qirsh per kilogram fills his stomach. It makes sustenance and survival in indefinite exile possible. “Come eat with us,” he shouts from the second-floor café. “We just bought warm bread from the bakery.” The World Bank’s reversal came in the nick of time.


[1] Jillian Schwedler and Lamis Andoni, “Bread Riots in Jordan,” Middle East Report 201 (Winter 1996).
[2] ‘Ula al-Furwati, “Chaos in Bakeries and Anger in Streets After Removal of Flour Subsidy,” al-Sijill, November 15, 2007. [Arabic] [3] UN Development Program, Arab Human Development Report 2009: Challenges to Human Security in the Arab Countries, pp. 121-143; World Bank, Jordan Economic Monitor (Fall 2013), pp. 13-18.
[4] Basim al-Tuwaysi, “The Theory of Bread,” al-Ghad, September 8, 2013. [Arabic] [5] Jumana Ghunaymat, “Where Are They Saying ‘Bread Is a Red Line’?,” al-Ghad, September 17, 2013. [Arabic] [6] International Monetary Fund, “Arab Countries in Transition: Economic Outlook and Key Challenges,” Deauville Partnership Ministerial Meeting, Washington, DC, October 10, 2003.
[7] Loan Agreement between the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, “Emergency Project to Assist Jordan to Partially Mitigate Impact of Syrian Conflict,” Loan Number 8283-JO, July 28, 2013.
[8] World Bank, “Project Appraisal Document on a Proposed Loan in the Amount of US $150 Million to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan for an Emergency Project to Assist Jordan to Partially Mitigate Impact of Syrian Conflict,” Report 78129-JO, July 3, 2013, pp. 13, 18.
[9] Julie Peteet, “Unsettling the Categories of Displacement,” Middle East Report 244 (Fall 2007).
[10] Government of Jordan, Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, and United Nations, Needs Assessment Review of the Impact of the Syrian Crisis on Jordan (November 2013), p. 107.

[11] Mercy Corps, Mapping of Host Community-Refugee Tensions in Mafraq and Ramtha, Jordan, 2013; REACH, Evaluating the Effect of the Syrian Refugee Crisis on Stability and Resilience in Jordanian Host Communities: Preliminary Impact Assessment, January 2014.
[12] World Bank, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan Options for Immediate Fiscal Adjustment and Longer Term Consolidation, Report 71979-JO (November 2012), pp. 51-53.
[13] All calculations are based on Ministry of Industry and Trade statistics provided to the author.
[14] For more on the smart card proposal, see José Ciro Martínez, “Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread? The Politics of Flour in Hashemite Jordan,” Jadaliyya, January 28, 2014.
[15] World Bank, November 2012, pp. 51-53.
[16] World Bank, “Project Appraisal,” July 3, 2013, p. 20.
[17] Ibid., p. 18.
[18] Ibid., p. 20.
[19] Nicholas Seeley, “The Politics of Aid to Iraqi Refugees in Jordan,” Middle East Report 256 (Fall 2010).

[20] James Ferguson, The Anti-Politics Machine: “Development,” Depoliticization and Bureaucratic Power in Lesotho (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990).
[21] Isabel Ortiz et al, “Escalating Food Prices: The Threat to Poor Households and Policies to Safeguard a Recovery for All,” UNICEF Social and Economic Policy Working Paper, New York, February 2011.

How to cite this article:

Jose Ciro Martinez "Bread Is Life," Middle East Report 272 (Fall 2014).

For 50 years, MERIP has published critical analysis of Middle Eastern politics, history, and social justice not available in other publications. Our articles have debunked pernicious myths, exposed the human costs of war and conflict, and highlighted the suppression of basic human rights. After many years behind a paywall, our content is now open-access and free to anyone, anywhere in the world. Your donation ensures that MERIP can continue to remain an invaluable resource for everyone.


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