Jordan and the Safe Zones Solutions: What Else is There?

By Mohammad Aburumman

تم نشره في Mon 29 May / May 2017. 12:00 AM - آخر تعديل في Tue 30 May / May 2017. 01:57 AM
  • Mohammad Aburumman

There are no official Jordanian confirmations or denials on media reports about a Russo-American meetings on the Syria Safe Zones proposition in Amman.

One of the proposed safe zones covers southern Syrian governorates, as well as the eastern desert of Syria, along Jordanian borderline.

Information leaked on the meet implies that an extensive, expanse of land, all along Jordanian-Syrian borderline, more or less, from the Quneitra vicinity, through Rukban, all the way to Tanf, will see the establishment of a safe zone, featuring symbolic presence of the Syrian Army on the border crossing with the Kingdom.

If the Russians and the American actually come to terms a whole new setting will soon be underway.

We will sooner than later see the establishment of an internationally guaranteed, conflict-free zones, all along our northern borders, and into the Syrian depths, with the presence of international peace keeping forces.

Naturally, this would reopen the doors for reconstruction projects, on one hand, and the return of a percentage of Syrian refugees in Jordan, on the other, while keeping threats on our northern frontiers at bay.

Should the parties in meet arrive at a mutually agreeable, applicable, actionable plan, and being practical implementation, the Jordanian objective would be secured.

However, it does not mean the end of the Jordanian role.

On the contrary, it only means that the Jordanian effort will be redirected into other, more important and beneficial issues, like building local councils in the Safe Zones.

The role of these Councils is to take charge of civic duties.

More so, Jordan’s efforts will be refocused on countering terrorism, and maybe, as one ranking Jordanian official put it a few months back, on re-securing the Amman—Damascus route.

This means that Jordan’s great, unintended siege, given both the northern and eastern borders are closed, will soon be over.

This scenario goes beyond the dreams of former Jordanian officials to revive the Horan agricultural valley.

The potential success of these plans warrants a shocking change in the Jordanian public management mechanism. A change which will enable the Jordanian role to overcome the conventional framework to actually helping Syrians restore life in these safe zones.

Of course, it is too early to say. For the proposals have not yet been formulated into agreement.

There are still major obstacles in their way both the theoretical and pragmatic implementation of all those scenarios.

However, the fundamental question, in any case, remains, whether or not the Iranians and Syrians agree on these plans? Or is there, perhaps, a widening gap between the Russian and Iranian agendas?

Both the Iranian and Syrian government narrative clearly oppose the idea.

Meanwhile, it seems, the Russians are trying to rephrase the proposal, in order to pass it.

More so, the Russians are waving the non-interference card.

Explicitly speaking, in the event of confrontation between Syrian and Iranian forces on the one side and Syrian opposition and coalition forces, on the other, the Russians are not going to intervene.

Notably, the Syrian army and allies were bombed by coalition forces a few days back, and held aground, approximately 50 kilometres west of Tanf. Meaning that the whole area is now under US and coalition control.

In the meantime, Jordanian politicians are concerned, rightly so, that the safe zones scenario will lead to the division of Syria.

As valid as their concerns may be, what options does Jordan have?

Daesh, aka ISIS, are expanding, and so is Hizbullah, in the midst of an unresolved political crisis, between the Syrian regime and opposition. Not to mention chaos in the north.

Internationalisation of the Syrian crisis is now an inevitability, and so is localisation and regional compartmentalisation.

Still, let us have hope that the safe zones area remains secure for now, for the civil war in Syria to end, and the civil war in Syria is resolved.

Maybe then, we could talk about regional and international agreement on the provisions of a political resolution.

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