Jordan’s Necessary Shift!

By Mohammad Aburumman

تم نشره في Wed 31 May / May 2017. 12:00 AM
  • Mohammad Aburumman

Redrawing Jordan’s geo-political territory is out of the question.

The decision makers in Jordan are not at all interested in expanding with Jordan’s borders, neither into the Syrian territories nor into Iraq, let alone the West Bank.

Contrary to the “Greater Jordan” scheme, proposed by various US think tanks, a few years back, the Jordanian power hall has no interests in geo-political expansion.

Meanwhile, the elements of the previous, conventional approach to the regional situation is no longer efficient.

It is not possible to maintain the neutral, hands-off approach to the regional turmoil, because it is now deeply reflecting on Jordan’s national security, on the one hand.

On the other, Jordan is carrying the massive weight of the Syrian refugee crisis, next to the threats of spreading radicalism and extremism.

It is important that we think out of the conventional box, and consider other, more versatile, strategic options for managing our interests and threats to national security.

For example, Jordan should consider strengthen relations with a variety of powers and forces in play, like the Free Syrian Army and the Tribal Army in Iraq.

The Kingdom should step up to take initiative for the region, taking Jordan from the position of defence and reactionary measures, to active engagement in the regional affair.

From recipient to a proactive card-holder, with a network of connections to make Jordan pragmatically worthy of sitting on the big boys table and partake in the ongoing negotiations as a major regional player.

This comes now, at a time when the major international players, mainly Russia and the US, are preparing to meet here, in Amman, to negotiate the establishment of safe-zones in Syria.

One of these zones, as we mentioned yesterday, supposedly extends from Tanf, through the Suwayda outskirt and Rukban, all the way to Quneitra.

This carries the possibility of stabilisation, all along the Jordanian–Syrian borderline.

Moreover, it restores the prospects of Jordan’s engagement in the reconstruction of the South Syrian regions, to begin with, and relocating refugees back to Syria.

Notwithstanding, this also allows for the restoration of agriculture and trade, particularly in the Houran Plains, a very fertile area in the Syrian South, rich with water and produce.

The plausibility of this scenario resolves a variety of issues for Jordan.

However, this is not the same for the Iraqi case.

The government there controls the most part of the Iraqi territories, and their relationship with Jordan is improving.

More so, communication channels have reopened with the Shiite forces there and their leaders.

There is actionable grounds, here, for restoring, maybe even surpassing the historical and strategic ties of the golden era with Iraq.

In this regard, Jordan should consider rapidly advancing bilateral ties with our neighbours to the East.

Needless to say, though, that there are obstacles to any such advancements, including hindrances to restoring the Amman-Baghdad interstate.

One of these obstacles is Jordan’s relationship with Iran.

Typically, Jordan needs to redefine its position on Iran and its relationship to it, all the while keeping in mind the implications of the Sunni crisis in Iraq, which is far from rested.

Even if ISIS were to be eliminated in the major and smaller cities all the same, they will remain active underground, via cells and fluid organisation.

The conditions of ISIS’s resurgence still stand, especially in the Anbar desert, all the way to the city of Qaem.

So long as consensus among the main socio-political powers in play there is lacking, the enabling conditions of ISIS in Iraq will endure, and so will ISIS.

Along these lines, Jordan has the opportunity to engage in an active role, conditioned, of course, that this role is uninterrupted, and continual.

Unlike the efforts ongoing now, which are short-lived and discontinued, Jordan’s political capacity allows the Kingdom to play a major constructive role in Iraq.

Notwithstanding other roles, Jordan can play an intermediary role to resolve Iraq’s political crisis, given that the Iraqi components are eager for Jordan to interfere.

These prospects add value to the Jordanian approach, and it is imperative that Jordan integrates these elements.

A more advanced and comprehensive approach to Jordan’s national interests, which substitutes the conventional, obsolete elements confined to the limitations of our country, with other more progressive aspects.

Engaging in this regional role will not affect Jordan’s geography.

However, it will add to the political components of the Kingdom, to safeguard our strategic interests and security, and redefine our value as an integral component of the regional sphere.

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