Why did Jordan increase its military spending in the new budget?

Oman- The Israeli war on the Gaza Strip played an important role in the performance of the Jordanian general budget for the year 2024, directing it in such a way that the local economy is able to withstand the effects of the war and its consequences.

Today, by a majority of 89 votes among the 114 deputies attending the session on Wednesday, the House of Representatives approved the General Budget Law, considered the largest in the country's history in terms of military spending.

Despite the economic conditions the Kingdom is facing, the amount of its defense spending has increased by almost $2 billion out of a total of $17 billion in the new budget.

geopolitical circumstances

According to observers, developments in the military and security situation in the region forced Jordan to increase the volume of military spending and modernize its weapons and military equipment.

Retired Major General Mamoun Abu Nawar, a Jordanian military expert, believes that the current geopolitical circumstances were a major reason for increasing the military budget.

He told Al Jazeera Net that expectations of the possibility of regional conflict erupting or military or security developments in the region “force us to increase the military budget.” He pointed out that the Jordanian armed forces always need to modernize their weapons and military equipment, pointing out that “the financial cost of this is very high.”

The military expert spoke about the dangers related to Jordan's northern border with Syria in the context of drugs or weapons smuggling through the march.

He pointed out that drones have changed the concepts of warfare, creating an urgent need for Amman to acquire missile launchers like Patriots that are capable of threatening and deterring any neighboring country in the event of a conflict.

supporting budget

In his speech before the House of Representatives, Jordanian Finance Minister Muhammad al-Isis stressed that “the preparation of the draft law took place under unprecedented circumstances as a result of Israeli aggression against Gaza and the occupied West Bank.”

He said Jordan's steadfast position, based on its emotional, historical and biological connection to the Palestinian cause, confirms that Amman will remain at the forefront of the defenders of Arab and Islamic causes.

The government official reported that the 2024 budget included “the highest historical level of capital expenditure allocation and the highest financial allocation for our security services and armed forces.” He explained that it came “in support of Jordan's respectable political position, in defense of the right to Gaza, its children and the Al-Aqsa Mosque and its sanctuaries.”

The new budget comes just weeks after agreeing to a $1.2 billion 4-year reform program with the International Monetary Fund.

On the other hand, economic expert Amer al-Shoubaki confirmed that threats to the northern border with Syria and western border with the Israeli occupation and attempts to destabilize the country, and the movement of various military units to the borders with Syria and occupied Palestine. Contributed to increasing the financial costs of the Jordanian armed forces.

Regarding the impact of approving the largest military budget in Jordan in view of the country's difficult economic conditions, Al-Shobaki told Al Jazeera Net that it will have a negative impact on spending on vital sectors such as health and education, especially in the financial sector. . The budget deficit reached 114% of GDP. This reduced the scope for the government to spend on important areas that were needed by the people.

A photo taken during a tour organized by the Jordanian army shows soldiers patrolling the border with Syria to prevent smuggling on February 17, 2022.  Drug smuggling is increasing from Syria to Jordan
Jordanian forces patrol the Syrian border to prevent drug trafficking (French)

a rough neighborhood

According to previous government statements, the draft budget for 2024 succeeded in reducing the primary deficit for the fourth consecutive year, and the government will be able to reduce it to 812 million dinars, a rate of 2.1% of GDP. Compared to 2.6% in 2023.

Jordan and Israel are linked by a common border 400 kilometers long, but the Israeli threat alone does not cause the size of the military budget to increase, as the country has suffered for years from the troubled and troubled neighborhood in the north. And the former, whether in the case of drug or arms trafficking from Syrian territory, or the presence of “militias” close to Iran in Iraq.

According to official figures reported on the website of the General Budget Department, Jordan's military expenditure exceeds $1.8 billion annually, which is 5% of GDP, and Jordan is the largest in the region in terms of its military expenditure compared to this output. Is in fifth place.

The Jordanian Armed Forces were established in 1920, and the Jordanian Army fought in several battles in the history of the Arab–Israeli conflict, the most notable of which was the “Battle of Karameh”.

The Jordanian military consists of ground and special forces, the Royal Guard, maintenance corps, infantry corps, armour, artillery, air defense and engineering, air force and naval forces.

The Jordanian Air Force has 260 combat aircraft, including 46 fighters and 74 attack aircraft, in addition to military cargo and training aircraft.

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