Fahed Khitan

Shellings in Ramtha are the Least of Our Concerns

تم نشره في Sun 14 February / Feb 2016. 01:00 AM - آخر تعديل في Mon 15 February / Feb 2016. 12:46 AM

Shells landing on houses in Ramtha yesterday indicate the cease-fire that stood for months in Syria along their southern borderline with Jordan has collapsed completely.

During the last week of July 2015, a few Syrian shells landed within Jordanian territory. A few weeks before then, a young Jordanian was killed in an incident of the sort. But in the months following these two incidents, until a couple days ago, Jordanian towns north of the Kingdom remained safe from bombings and shells due in part to complex agreements struck with armed groups in Syria, and the preoccupation of the Syrian Army Forces in battles on more crucial fronts.

The recent turns, however, the war in Syria has taken since Russia interfered, and the advancement of Syrian Forces on multiple frontiers, caused the situation in the southern parts of Syria to change. The most obvious and important change in this context is the escalation of the static tension between Syrian Army Forces and the opposition south of Syria, particularly around Daraa and towns closer to Jordan-Syria borders. The confrontations now are more gruesome and direct.

Relentlessly, over the past few weeks, Jordan sought to restore the relative cease-fire south of Syria through persistent diplomatic initiatives, but was unsuccessful.

Similarly, on the other hand, Munich’s latest agreement between the major powers involved in Syria on the cease-fire "in all parts of Syria within a week," is not likely to hold out a single day; before the participants left the press conference hall, full scale military confrontations had reignited on all fronts.

However fruitless, Jordan will try to invest the international momentum in the aftermath of the "Munich" talks to test Syrian intentions towards the south. But Jordanian political leadership learned from long experience with the conflicting parties and the sponsoring powers that the chances for a truce in Syria are close non-existent, given the nature of the conflict and deep conflictions between parties of the crisis.

In this sense, Jordanian administration has to be aware that a return to previous approaches is impossible and therefore must adapt to the new realities.

Among these new realities is the inevitability of Russian-Air-Backed Syrian forces will advance south as soon as they secure their borderlines with Turkey. Unless a sudden development takes place to rearrange Syrian-Russian priorities, this is going to happen.

I believe that Jordan, by virtue of the Kingdom’s strong ties with Moscow, has become well informed of possible scenarios regarding the handling of the Southern situation, and is preparing to deal with the repercussions.

What matters above all, to Jordan in this regard, is that; one, the Country does not come to face yet another influx of thousands of refugees as is happening now in Turkey. And that the terrorists are driven away from the southern Syrian borders instead of towards them, in order to secure the Kingdom’s borderlines with syria and its citizens from the threats of random shelling.

Save for protecting Its citizens, Jordan cannot change the internal Syrian equation, nor can the Kingdom influence the balance of powers in the southern regions of Syria as it once did.

Since Russia intervened, things have changed fundamentally all over Syria. Conflicting parties are preparing for a new prolonged round of warfare, according Bashar al-Assad’s statement yesterday. Russia pledged a long hard fight, Saudi Arabia is about to engage head-on, Turkey will not just let things be, and  “NATO” is revaluating their choices.

Jordanian's wisdom stands up against the toughest of tests so far; it either hold up or gives in to Syrian madness. Should the latter be the case, shellings in Ramtha will be the least of our concerns and woes.