The recent influx of Syrian refugees into Jordan and Lebanon has stimulated domestic political action against these countries' governments. This is the dramatic argument at the heart of Anne Marie Baylouny's When Blame Backfires.
Baylouny examines the effects on Jordan and Lebanon of hosting huge numbers of Syrian refugees. How has the populace reacted to the real and perceived negative effects of the refugees? In thought-provoking analysis, Baylouny shows how the demographic changes that result from mass immigration put stress on existing problems in these two countries, worsening them to the point of affecting daily lives. One might expect that, as a result, refugees and minorities would become the focus of citizen anger. But as When Blame Backfires demonstrates, this is not always the case.
What Baylouny exposes, instead, is that many of the problems that might be associated with refugees are in fact endemic to the normal routine of citizens' lives. The refugee crisis exacerbated an already dire situation rather than created it, and Jordanians and Lebanese started to protest not only against the presence of refugees but against the incompetence and corruption of their own governments as well.
From small-scale protests about goods and public services, citizens progressed to organized and formal national movements calling for economic change and rights to public services not previously provided. This dramatic shift in protest and political discontent was, Baylouny shows, the direct result of the arrival of Syrian refugees.