Jordan and Iraq: Breaking the Ice

By Mohammad Aburumman

تم نشره في Mon 27 February / Feb 2017. 01:00 AM
  • Mohammad Aburumman

Jordan is well aware of the strategic vitality of advancing ties with Iraq, but has not the practical vision on how to do so, nor the complete insight into the upcoming phase.

Jordan had stepped in for our Iraqi Sunni brethren before, about 3 years ago, when we held a summit for them in Amman hoping they would unite behind a strong, mature proposition. We hoped to leverage their negotiating position as a consolidated unified party, but alas, the powers which convened then did not agree.

Back then, Jordan’s role was merely administrative in all past endeavours, whilst not working on the development of the needed Sunni insight to resolve the situation.

Despite the strong ties Jordan has with Sunni and tribal leaderships, as well as businessmen, in Iraq, many of whom reside in Amman, this particular element was missing.

Now however, it is clear that Jordan does have serious intentions to lead a more vital role in the attempt to resolve the Iraqi crisis, especially since Jordan is presiding the Arab Summit.

Notably, the occasion of the Kingdom leading the Summit does comprise an outstanding opportunity for us to put together a political team, from different state institutions, to administrate the advancement of bilateral ties with Iraq, and outline a clear Jordanian role in Iraq’s historic settlements. On the other hand, it would serve the reconstruction of long-term relations into the future, to restore the golden age of economic cooperation between the two countries and reiterate out goodwill.

On the other side of the negotiation table, Jordan has developed improved relations with the Shiite political component in Iraq over the years too.

Ammar Hakim, a prominent Iraqi figure, was just in Jordan recently, and his visit was welcomed by Jordanian officials.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi government —on their part— had conveyed their blessings, through subtle and private channels, to Jordan, in regards to mitigating an internal political settlement with the Sunnis.

Nonetheless, it is not required of Jordan to pressure or convince the Sunni Iraqi leaderships into engaging a political process regardless of the price; of course not.

Contrarily, Jordan is expected to smoothly force a positive mediation, given our good relationship with both sides of the internal Iraqi political dispute by first and foremost; breaking the ice, which would serve also altering the negative impression among the Iraqi Shiite political powers on Jordan’s positions towards Iraq.

So far, the real problem lies in that Jordan has not been able to read thoroughly into the details of the internal Iraqi situation, and not only in terms of security. The details of the security situation may be available readily.

In this discourse, there are a lot of other aspects that need to be explored in order for Jordan to dip in right and smartly navigate the dispute and the powers involved, to open gateways for better Iraqi prospects as well as mutual benefit.

As it is known, the Kingdom would benefit greatly from breaking the stereotypical misconception, because our relationship with Iraqi and Syrian Sunni political powers and tribes has nothing to do with sect.

It is more or less a political strategy, which ties Jordan directly to tribes and forces in Syria and Iraq, true, by not in any way meant to go against the Shiite components of these societies.

On contraire, it is a leverage that allows the founding of the balances required to mediate national reconciliation and advance historically crucial accords for both of Jordan’s neighbours, as opposed sustaining the disorder and tragedy which only nourishes ISIS and ilk!

Has Jordan the agility and the clarity to play the part?

I would say with confidence that it is not only within the capacity of Jordan to do so, but it is also impartial to the whole region’s future that Jordan succeeds.

To us here, we cannot keep thinking ourselves safe from the fires which surround us.

We need to develop a strategic approach to platform positive initiative. Meanwhile, our political capacities should not be underestimated!

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic version, published by AlGhad.