PHOTO: Syrian refugees in Jordan’s Zaatari camp

I joined the BBC World Service’s Business Daily on Tuesday for its program on how Syria’s refugee crisis is challenging neighbors like Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey.

Following a report from Lebanon, the discussion begins at 6:38:

Listen to interview

There is also discussion of why the Gulf States have provided little support for the refugees, and why the international community is failing to provide necessary funding.

The size of this refugee crisis, in which half of the Syrian population have been displaced from their homes, has overwhelmed the community.

In part, it is because the United Nations has been beset by politics in which a leading power, Russia, is allied with the Assad regime whereas a power like Saudi Arabia supports the rebels.

In part, it is because the United Nations moves very slowly. It is much easier to convene a conference for a few days and everybody to say good words — like last week in London — but far more difficult in practice for people to pay up and provide the funds which are necessary.

And if the situation continues?

If Lebanon and Jordan have to manage this on their own, they are going to have an ongoing economic crisis with political effects.

Lebanon has had a non-functioning Government for years….If you get people who are upset about economic conditions, it adds further strain.

Jordan is in a better position politically, but economically it has always been a difficult country in sustaining itself.

We have had Palestinian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon, as well as Syria, for almost 70 years. We are only five years into this conflict, and we are talking about a crisis which could dwarf the Palestinian emigration.