DefenseNews.com reported on 8 March 2007 that Jordan, which suspended military conscription in 1999, decided on 6 March to resume compulsory service at a more limited scale and with the objective of improving the capabilities of the country’s labor force.
The bill, which has been endorsed by the government and will be sent to parliament for approval, would restore conscription this year for 18-year-old men, who will serve for three months instead of the previous term of two years. According to other sources, the law will also include provisions for women. Boys will receive their training in military camps, while girls will do their service in universities, according to remarks made by Prime Minister Marouf Bakhit.
“This law was more or less a response to public demand,” said retired Maj. Gen. Suleiman Al-Manaseer, a Jordanian defence expert. “In addition to receiving basic boot-camp training, the conscripts will receive essential vocational training that would help them find jobs afterwards.”
In February, Prime Minister Maaruf Bakhit announced plans to restore conscription “to bolster discipline and the spirit of nationalism in the minds of youths.”
The return to conscription is not expected to affect procurement spending. Conscripts are paid very little.
“Feedback from public with regard to the new law has been positive,” said Raed Qaqish, a member of the Jordanian Parliament. “It is for a short period only, and will not affect young men going to school or college and will not strip the market of needed workforce.”
Qaqish said the conscription would reduce unemployment and boost national unity among Jordanian youth as regional tensions and divisions rise.
Jordan scrapped conscription five years after signing a peace treaty with Israel, converting its army to a professional force of around 100,000 troops.
“This new law will strengthen Jordan and the monarchy,” said Al-Manaseer, former commander of Jordan’s Special Operations.
It is not known if the new regulations for conscription will include a right to conscientious objection.