Iraq’s Gift to Jordan

By Jumana Ghunaimat

تم نشره في Mon 3 April / Apr 2017. 12:00 AM
  • Jumana Ghunaimat

The announcement by the Iraqi Premier, Heydar Abadi, on the construction of the Basra-Aqaba oil pipeline, days ahead of the Arab Summit last week, is certainly appreciated.

He’d rather had come bearing gifts for Jordan, Abadi said, but the Iraqi cabinet ended up passing the pipeline decision before his arrival. So, he informed Jordanian officials of the decision the moment he landed here.

Mindfully, and most appreciated, it is reflective of the positive shift in Jordan’s relationship with Iraq, and the latter’s interest in sustaining and advancing these ties.

Relentlessly, both parties have worked hard to arrive at this mutually beneficial deal over the past few months. This, notably, came through after numerous official visits to Iraq and vice versa.

Naturally, Jordan’s presidency of the Arab Summit for the upcoming year would qualify the Kingdom to play a vital role in the advancement of Arab interests and causes, as well as bring conflicting views on such cases closer together.

This is evident from the mediated meets and reconciliations on the margin of the Arab Summit convention at the Dead Sea just days ago; the Saud appeasement with Iraq and Egypt, for example.

That said, Jordan is now also more capable of advancing domestic interests.

For instance, two major milestones uncovered since, infer that Jordan’s relationship with Iraq is on the right track upwards; the Basra-Aqaba oil pipeline and the long awaited reopening of the Trebil border crossing.

In the last 48 hours, Iraqi government officials have confirmed that the Trebil border crossing should be reopened within the upcoming four months.

When attained, this should reflect positively on the economy as well as on the sectors which have suffered most the lockdown of the eastern borderline; it will boost commerce and drive up national exportation, eventually restoring Iraq’s position as Jordan’s primary commercial partner.

Meanwhile, in regards to the construction of the pipeline, the Advisor to the Iraq Minister of Oil, Diyaa Jafari, said that the deal should be signed within two weeks.

According to Advisor Jafari, Jordan and Iraq will not carry any of the costs of the construction, which stands at USD5.6 billion, and that the investors, MAS global company, will cover the costs of the 25 year investment.

So far, it has been agreed that the Iraqi government will send a delegation to review the Memo of Understanding, which was signed by former Prime Minister Dr Abdullah Nsoor, to carry out some minor adjustments.

Accordingly, Iraq will pay Jordan for carrying the pipeline through national territory. The fees are currently being deliberated and will soon to be announced.

For now, the pipeline will carry only oil crudes, whereas the construction of gas-line is to be explored at a later time.

The most important thing now is that the relationship between Jordan and Iraq is being restored in practical steps that lay concrete foundations for further advancements.

Truth is, both countries see one another as indispensable strategic partners. Any partnership between Jordan and Iraq bring so much benefit for both countries, beyond all doubt.

Jordan too, is well aware of that.

On our part, the Kingdom is playing a major part in the reintegration of Iraq in the Arab House, the way it used to be.

As for Jordan’s role inside Iraq, it is no secret that the Kingdom has considerable weight and influential relations on the domestic Iraqi frontier, which could help Jordan advance the Iraqi reconsolidation as well as aid the Iraqi government pursue their vision.

Should the deal be signed within the announced timeframe, it would platform a new phase of bilateral relations between the two countries.

To this, we say: we appreciate the astounding gift from Iraq. It reflects our neighbour’s real support for us. Especially at this time when we really expect such and other gifts from other neighbouring capitals.

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