Where to run?

تم نشره في Thu 9 April / Apr 2015. 12:00 AM

By Fahed Khitan

The Lebanese are in a quandary after the closure of the only border crossing between Jordan and Syria; "Jaber" has been the only corridor available for Lebanese exports to Jordan and the Arab Gulf markets.

According to Beirut press, the Lebanese Cabinet was supposed to discuss the repercussions of the crisis yesterday, and the possible ways out to gain access to Arab markets. But there is a lack of hope after the security developments on the border, since Jabhat al-Nusra took control of the crossing.

No one is asking the Syrian government for a date for the re-opening of the crossing, having gone out of its control. The question is directed at the Jordanian government, and the media has quoted the Interior Minister Hussein al-Majali, saying the crossing is closed until further notice.

But the Lebanese problem is also our problem, and we do not know if the cabinet had met to discuss it. What will we do with our trade with Syrian, Lebanon and Turkey? What is the fate of the Jordanian land transport fleet, which stopped after the closure of the crossing? Where to run?

With the worsening security situation in the neighboring Arab states, Jordan finds itself the last front. Iraq's market is volatile; opens for a day and closes for ten. The only land port for trade with Syria became fully closed. The only available market is the agricultural exports to the GCC, and this is not enough. Hundreds of farmers complain bitterly today of low prices due to oversupply in the market.

The latest information from the Syrian side of the border says the militants who occupied the "share" of the Syrian point decided to withdraw and hand over management of the crossing to civilian authorities. Delivery trucks in the free zone were delivered to Jordan after being looted. But it is not yet known whether this step is sufficient to restart the crossing, and open the way for the movement of goods between the two countries.

It is dfficult, according to observers, for the Syrian government to agree to resume forms of trade in the absence of authority represented by the crossing, because in it there is recognition of the legitimacy of the opposition, which is trying to invest its control over the crossing to forcefully acquire a recognition from its neighbors as a formal and legal authority.

On the eastern side of the border with Iraq, it is expected that the authorities of both countries resort to the temporary closure of the Karama crossing, in the event of Iraqi troops launching a large offensive against Islamic State fighters in the western regions of the country. After the Iraqi government completely purge Tikrit of IS fighters, all eyes are now on al-Anbar as the next stop for the military campaign.

This means that exports to Iraq will stop as well, and thus entering a dangerous turn in the crisis that threatens the collapse of many productive sectors in the country, and consequent layoffs, drivers stop working, closure of factories, and a depression in agricultural markets.

We are facing a real crisis, and officials did not show sufficient attention to it, nor did they offer any preventative measures to reduce the losses.

We know that choices and opportunities are scarce. But in such difficult conditions, leaders’ ability to bring about creative solutions is needed.


This article is an edited translation from the Arabic edition