Jordan’s Plan (B)

محمد أبو رمان

Although the cease-fire endured its first few hours, there are still considerable doubts over whether it will sustain and not collapse in light of the evident variation in views between involved parties in regards to defining terrorist and extremist organisations.

The million-dollar question today is: should the cease-fire fail, and attempts to reconsolidate the gap over the scheduled talks in March were unsuccessful, what alternative stands?!

Typically, US Foreign Secretary John Kerry spoke of a Plan “B”, without further elaboration. While American sources favoured it being more support provided to armed Syrian opposition; greater provisions that before, former Supreme Allied Commander (NATO) Admiral Stavridis stated to the BBC that the plan “B” Kerry spoke about includes mainly the formation of safe ground demilitarised zones entailing ground military intervention, including that of the Jordanian Army.

Contrarily, Jordanian sources understated the validity of the Admiral’s statements and doubted their accuracy. And I agree with the latter; the formation of safe demilitarised zones north of Syria has become more complicated and less probable, and the incursion of Jordanian military into the Daraa territories is out of the question. Moreover, the thought that the Obama administration may take such a leap in their approach to the management of the Syrian conflict is also farfetched for many reasons.

That is supposing of course, the US does in fact have a strategic perspective for the Syrian situation, and that there indeed is a Plan “B”! Because it may actually be that Kerry’s statements are intended only to downsize Congressional accusations of Obama failing to strategically proximate a clear approach towards Syria.

Our concern, nationally is; What is our Plan “B”?

Because the risks are huge; the Russians did not keep their side of the agreement with Jordan, they totally broke it, and there are no securities given to retain our interests on their part, which makes the probability of a ground assault in Syria highly probable, as well as the re-enactment of the scenario in Aleppo.

The latter —the Aleppo scenario, entails a variety of implications regarding Jordan’s national security; first, hundreds of thousands of Syrians will seek refuge or at least internally dislocate to areas closer to Jordan-Syria borders. Second, the disbandment of the “Southern Front” —a Jordan friendly, comprising of 40 thousand fighters, of whom many may realign with “Daesh” who can provide alternative funding, arms, and ammo to re-establish firmly in the south after Jordan successfully cornered the Front and limited their threat to the Northern borderlines with Syria.

The turmoil, famine, and war will near the borders, and Syrian factions may resolve to “guerrilla warfare” in response to brutal incursions and Russian bombardment. They might actually cross borderlines into Jordan in there hit-and-run dynamics, which in turn increases the dangers of shelling borderline Jordanian territories.

Will Jordan retain their bet on Russia’s commitment and the agreements they discarded without the flinch of an eye?! Of course not. Will Jordan resolve to a invading the southern regions of Syria to formalise a contained militarised zone by force? Of course not. What then has Jordan prepared for the very probable scenario in case the cease-fire —Jordan so depends on, was breached, as well as the political compromises that would have come with it?!

The Syrian crises is not merely a concern of refugees —notwithstanding the importance of the problem, nor is it a concern of financial aid. But more so, particularly in Daraa, it is an issue of national security. And if neighbouring and surrounding countries claim they are engulfed by the Syrian situation, then Jordan —primarily, is the most affected by what is happening in Syria, and turning away from the conflict in Syria is not a prospective option.

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