The Implications of the Gulf Crisis on Jordan

By Fahed Khitan

تم نشره في Mon 12 June / Jun 2017. 12:00 AM
  • Fahed Khitan

There is a possibility that domestic produce exports in Jordan are about to take yet another blow to the groins with Qatar’s new embargo.

The Saudi-Qatar crossing, which is now closed, is the only ground route for Jordanian produce to Qatar.

According to official sources, Jordanian exports of vegetables and fruits to Qatar will drop by 80 per cent in the aftermath of the regional excommunication

Yesterday, refrigerator freights laden with Jordanian vegetables were sent back from Saudi Arabia after being suspended for days at the closed crossing.

A similar crisis with Iraq’s closed border still casts a long shadow over this agricultural exportation sector.

Long detours to reach Iraq at additional cost, eventually led to a significant reduction in the quantities exported to our neighbour to the east.

In the meantime, nothing indicates that the Gulf crisis is soon over.

Contrarily, everything says it will endure, especially both parties of it have entered a contest of patience which will only incur massive humanitarian and economic loss for all.

All three Gulf countries have bet on the economic factor; that it will for Qatar to concede, only to find that Qatar has found other allies to expand its wiggle room.

Turkey and Iran are now supporting Qatar in the face of isolation, exclusion, siege, and pressures endless.

Despite their support, Qatar will have to face a variety of financial and economic troubles.

The Qatari riyal faces increasing pressures as it scores shortage upon shortage in supplies against the supply of foreign currencies in the global market.

The Qatari Airlines too are taking massive hits in the face of the air closure.

The border closure will harm the ground movement of travellers, especially expats who prepare to return home for the summer.

Official sources estimate there are currently 48 thousand Jordanians in Qatar.

Most of them usually use their private cars on land through Saudi Arabia on their holiday trip to Jordan.

Most of those travel via land back to Jordan to spend the vacation with their families and relatives.

They do not have this option, at the time being.

Those thinking about coming home have to pay a lot for airline tickets, with limited options for traveling within Jordan.

This includes, of course, Qatari nationals wishing to spend their vacation in Jordan, among other places.

For a family of four, such an option would be extremely costly.

Moreover, it is impossible to predict any upcoming developments in the weeks to come, whether the air closure on Qatar will expand.

Notably, this would leave thousands of people stranded, unable to return to work in Qatar.

Additionally, it is not unlikely that the economic implications of the Gulf crisis may actually pressure businesses in Qatar to lay off its expatriate employees.

This, in turn, will cause another crisis in our countries, as expats return, in terms of increasing unemployment rates, as well as in regards to the decrease in remittances.

On the long run, the Gulf crisis will cause the Gulf Cooperation Council to collapse. This may actually threaten instability in more than one Gulf country, given the rising intensity of regional, military polarisation.

Jordan is in a tough situation; stuck between the crises and troubles of our brethren, and the costs of quarrels we have nothing to do with.

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