Jordan reintroduces the draft for the unemployed


The Jordanian government has reinstated military conscription for 25- to 29-year-old men lacking job,
family or educational prospects.

The reintroduction of the draft required enlistment of 5,000 men in 2020 and will affect another 15,000 in 2021. A memorandum of understanding was signed in August 2020 between the Jordanian government represented by then Prime Minister Omar Razzaz and the Jordan Armed Forces represented by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Maj. Gen. Yousef Al-Hnaity.

The period of military service is 12 months, during which new recruits will spend three months at boot camp to acquire basic military skills. For the remaining nine months, they will be working for private companies.

This isn’t the first time Jordan has taken such a step. Two-year conscriptions existed between 1976 and 1991, after which military service became voluntary for men and women between the ages of 18 and 27. In 2007, limited military conscription resumed with the aim of improving job skills among youth. 

The reintroduction of conscription serves Jordan two ways: It provides employment for the jobless and promotes military preparedness in a region facing terrorism and other security threats. Young men are exempt if they are employed, enrolled in school or maintain a family.

Other countries in the Middle East have taken similar steps. Since 2014, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait have all introduced military conscription, citing the need to instill a sense of service among young people.

Jordan defines conscription flexibly. The Compulsory Military Service Act No. 23 of 1986 permits the postponement of the draft when the military deems it has sufficient troops.  Sources: Arab News,, 

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