A Year of Monumental Changes!

By Mohammad Aburumman

تم نشره في Tue 4 April / Apr 2017. 12:00 AM
  • Mohammad Aburumman

The current year, 2017, will be full of major regional shifts and developments.

Expectedly, these staggering shifts will monumentally change the whole of Jordan’s surroundings; it’s very regional face, including its cultural and political identity.

How so?!

There is an abundance of indications to it, foremost is the disintegration of Daesh, aka ISIS, in Iraq, and the nearing end of the Mosul battle; estimated to conclude within months into the summer.

In Syria too, there is some serious preparation underway for the Raqqa battle; the US and Kurds mainly, alongside a number of Arab and international partakers.

Typically, this reinforces competition among regional and local rivals over the remnants of the ISIS realm.

On the one hand, whereas the Iraqi situation is clearer as to who exactly will “inherit” most of ISIS’s territories after the group’s reign is broken; the government, in Syria, it is far more complicated.

The scale of internal and external confliction is larger in Syria than it is in Iraq; the Kurds, the Turks, Iran, the opposition, the Syrian regime, as well as the US and Russia, all want a piece of the cake. The bigger piece mind you.

Over the last few days, Trump’s outlook on Syria began to crystallise.

In these regards, the only difference, perhaps, between Trump’s approach on the matter at hand and former president Obama’s, would be the current President’s resolve not to hand Syria over to the Russo-Iranian axis.

Contrarily, Trump seeks to establish a parallel presence which safeguards Washington’s interests on one hand, and brakes Iran’s endeavour to build the Iranian Crescent.

This, the US has pursued by supporting the Kurds and other allies of the America in Syria, all the while expanding areas of influence and military operation.

Now, the actual execution of Trump’s two-tier plan —to vanquish ISIS militarily and downscale Iran’s presence in Syria— has already begun with the recent reinforcement of US forces there.

There are leaks on an ongoing rehabilitation of the Tabaqa military airport, now that ISIS are clear of it, for US jets to use during the Raqqa offensive. Possibly also Deir al Zour.

However, the main purpose of the rehabilitation is to establish a permanent US air base, on the side of the others in Kurd-held territories.

If so, the total number of US military airports in Syria will rise to four, integrated in military bases, safeguarded by Washington’s strong alliance with the Kurds.

When talking about the Kurds, one must acknowledge they have become a staggeringly rising force, in both Syria and Iraq.

Despite the growing Iranian influence, the Kurdish giant has begun to break its shackles, steadfast towards a new historical moment; not only in Iraq, but in Syria as well. Especially now with the growing US reliance on them, backing them, as well as Turkey!

This rising Kurdish force, even if they do not crystallise in the form of a unified extended state or several, their achievements in Syria will necessarily not be any less than their achievements in Iraq.

Soon enough, they might end up with an autonomous region in Syria, maybe even federal, to arise from the midst of this Arab geopolitical turmoil, and resurrect the Kurdish identity and culture!

With all this unfolding around us, we may soon find ourselves standing on the verge of a new horizon; the region reshaped.

Naturally, and it is only right to do so, this requires of Jordan to revaluate and reformulate strategies towards interests in Iraq and Syria, accordingly.

Certainly, this imminent unravelling right across our northern and eastern borderlines is definitely going to reflect on us. And this is exactly what I’m going to address in my next article.

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