Fahed Khitan

What Do We Make of the Jordan-US Summit?

تم نشره في Sat 27 February / Feb 2016. 12:00 AM

The statements of both His Majesty King Abdullah II and President Barack Obama after the summit meet in Washington last Wednesday indicate the closed talks between the two leaders were transparent, blunt, and thoroughly addressed main concerns of the Syrian situation, the war on “Daesh”, and the two countries’ views on possible developments following the suspension of aggression in Syria.

On both sides, the summit desolated all speculations about the surge of confliction between Jordan and the American Administration, particularly over Jordan-Russia coordination.

Phrases exchanged between The King and Obama do not indicate any fundamental differentiation. In the beginning of His statement to the press, His Majesty said: “Truly, no country other than the United States has given us so much support; whether it is to the economy, but also to the military and security” of Jordan. He also pointed out to Jordan-US cooperation as being “outstanding”.

On his side, Obama responded saying: “we are lucky to have a friend like Jordan. Hopefully, they feel that the United States has been with them during these very difficult times”, and added that the two countries see eye to eye on all issues, having started off withdescribing Jordan as their “most stalwart allies in the world”, and he did not say ‘the region’.

But a strategic alliance, however, between Jordan and the US does not mean there are no minor variations in regards to a various issues, particularly Syria and coordination with Russia. And this is normal; we ourselves in Jordan have divided opinions between us on the Syrian situation, how, then, do you reckon it is between whole countries?

Accordingly, Jordan obviously also shares US concerns about greatening expectations of the cease-fire in Syria. Which is why The King was focused on two issues that are paramount to Jordan’s national security and interests. First; focusing the war on terrorist groups, and finishing them quickly. And from the two leaders’ statements, there seem to be new measures to be taken in the near future, including the said impending siege on Al Riqa —“Deash” stronghold.

The second issue, is the situation in the South Syrian front; stability in that region is crucial to Jordan, and is highly dependent on a three-party coordination between Russia, the US, and Jordan. Therefore, His Majesty referred to the cease-fire enacted last night as “essential to the success of the political transition in Syria”. 

Notably, the past few years witnesses numerous summits between The King and Obama. The next one, expected to be in May on the sidelines of an international conference to be held in Washington, may very well be the last one between the two leaders, since the electoral race for Presidency of the US starts soon.

Strangely, this is maybe the first time His Majesty walks out of a meeting with Obama so positive about the future role of America in the region. For it is no secret that King Abdullah has been frustrated by the way events have turned out in the region, and their increasing complexity, as well as by the modest International will to resolve these crises. This time, however, His Majesty stated: “I am actually leaving Washington very optimistic about the level of support from the United States, the leadership that the President has shown on the issue of Syria and hopefully, the discussions between yourselves and the Russians will move the process in the right direction”.

As journalists and spectators, we are curious to know the reason behind His Majesty’s optimism this time.

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