A Difficult Year…

By Fahed Khitan

تم نشره في Tue 8 November / Nov 2016. 12:00 AM
  • Fahed Khitan

Saudi declared Tuesday the annulment of proposed projects underway worth over USD266 billion, in an endeavour to control expenditure with the regression of oil prices, in a time when Saudi is still engaged in the costly Yemeni war, while sustaining an open confrontation with Iran, on several fronts.

Our Iraqi brethren face a fluctuating security situation on their borders, which prohibits the opening of the Karama crossing the resumption of trade within next year at least.

That said, next year, is going to be economically difficult. For even though there are established achievements in regards to liberating Iraqi and Syrian cities and towns from the clutches of ISIS, aka Daesh, the region is not [ARB1] [ARB2] candidate to stabilise any time soon.

The borderlines with Syria is not going to be opened soon, that is for sure, and transportation to and back from Syria will remain indefinitely suspended.

Obviously, the signs of economic exhaustion are beginning to surface, caused by crises in the region, festered, and reflective on all sectors. Most probably, these signs and symptoms will grow over the next year, in the absence of alternative solution.

More so, it is perhaps just bad luck that the crises in Syria and Iraq were simultaneous to the economic crisis in Gulf countries, which have always been Jordan’s resort to vitalising investment and absorbing labour, in the addition to these marketing being preferably target for Jordanian commodities and agricultural produce.

Combined, Jordan was never faced by such a suffocating regional condition, especially economically. Historically, there were always doors open to us whenever adjacent borders fell shut; during the crisis we had with the Gulf, following the first gulf war, we had Iraq ready to fill the gap, with the Syrian market available, despite disturbed relations with Damascus.

Now, we are no longer worried about whether or not the Gulf markets will absorb Jordanian labour. Now we are worried that thousands will come home with the undergoing Saudi labour nationalisation, and other economic and commercial measures adopted.

Thousands of trucks are parked, with nowhere to go; some still work, but they are handling excruciating costs, let alone the dangers!

It is not obvious, yet; the limits of Jordan-Saudi economic cooperation, and there are no clear indications as to whether or not the Gulf intends to renew their financial grant to Jordan.

This is the first time, more or less, Jordan has to rely on the support of a sole ally; the United States, while lacking capacity to secure an Arab ally of that kind. As important as the US support to Jordan is, it will not compensate for the massive losses incurred by the commercial blockage in the region.

With much wisdom, Jordan was capable of successfully weathering the storms of security and political peril, constituted by the chaos around us, reflecting much of the perils of terrorism, and sustaining a unique state of stability. Nonetheless, it seems that we; and for reasons beyond our control, were unable to avoid the gigantic economic damage incurred by this situation, which has become the number one threat to all that has been achieved in spite of this.

Not to sound pessimistic at all, but next year is sure to be no less difficult than the current one!