How have international agreements on refugees affected the politics of host states of first asylum in the Middle East? The works reviewed here examine the experiences of Lebanon and Jordan, the two countries with the highest refugee- to-citizen ratio in the world, in the context of the Syrian refugee crisis. Five years since the signing of the Jordan Compact and the Lebanon Crisis Response Plan, which have shaped refugee protection in the two countries, the time is ripe for a re-evaluation of the decision to blur the lines between humanitarian and developmental aid. Focusing on the shifting relationship between Syrian refugees and citizens, the review highlights the range of local tensions accentuated by the refugee compact system. It employs the concept of refugee rent—namely, external income linked to the treatment of forcibly displaced population groups—in order to critically assess the repercussions of refugee commodification for the Middle East.

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