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Syria’s War, Amman’s Peace: The Middle East through Popular Geopolitics

  • Sijal Institute for Arabic Language and Culture #1 15 Umar Ibn al-Khattab Street Amman Jordan (map)

Civil war in Syria has redrawn the map of the Middle East in ways that we are still trying to understand. In addition to the United States, Russia, and Saudi Arabia, neighboring states like Jordan and Turkey have become important theaters for these regional transformations. In Amman, Syria’s civil war has left less of an imprint than it has in cities like Irbid or Mafraq, but the war has still grown entangled in the context of the city in subtle ways. 

Amman’s everyday urban problems are increasingly attributed to its Syrian population, while its reputation as a safe – if struggling – refuge continues to attract more Syrians. This, in addition to the city’s role as a coordination center for the activities of the Southern Front army, positions Amman’s peace in an uneasy relationship to Syria’s war. Ali Hamdan will explore this relationship of entanglement through the narratives of Syrians, Jordanians, and expat aid-workers based in Amman, and what these tell us about larger political processes unfolding across the Levant. 

There is a disconnect between the diplomatic version of events and the view from the ground – that is, the popular geopolitics of Syria’s conflict. In the wake of Russian intervention this has only become more pressing.