Originally appeared at Katehon
Jordan’s King Abdullah II discussed with the US President Barack Obama the situation in the Middle East. The Monarch officially visited the United States. The main themes of the visit were Syria and Palestine. Abdullah said that efforts to resolve the conflict in Syria are moving in the right direction and described the coordination with the U.S. as exceptional.
Jordan’s Role in the Middle East
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has serious foreign political weight among the Middle East countries. The state was formed in 1946 on the territory created by the British in 1923, the former Emirate of Transjordan. At the head of the kingdom is the dynasty of the former Mecca rulers, who ruled the Muslim holy city since the X century until 1924, when the city appeared after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire; the Hashemite Kingdom of Hejaz was conquered by the Saudi dynasty and became a part of the future of Saudi Arabia.
The representatives of the Hashemite dynasty are the only Middle Eastern monarch relatives of the Prophet Muhammad.
Traditionally, Jordan is the conductor of the UK’s interests in the region and maintains good relations with the United States. Jordan sees Iran and the Shiite movement in the region as its enemy.
Siding with the Rebels
After the civil war in Syria, Jordan and other American allies supported the rebels. However, unlike other countries, the kingdom did not advertise their links with militants, officially adhering to a neutral position. The territory of the country is used to transport militants and ship them arms. It is worth noting that most of these fighters hold a Saudi and Qatar orientation and pose a threat to the very security of Jordan. However, the country’s dependence on the US and the Gulf monarchies has not left the Hashemite Kingdom of choice.
Jordan as a Mediator
At the same time, Jordan seeks to preserve close relations with Russia. Therefore, after the start of Russian Federation’s military operation in Syria, Jordan balanced itself between Russia and the United States, showing that it can act as a mediator between the two great powers. That’s why Jordan was assigned the task of drawing up a single list of the armed formations on the territory of Syria that should be recognized as terrorists and excluded from the negotiation process. Jordan and Russia started to coordinate military actions in southern Syria, the area closest to the kingdom. Jordan (the only state from America-led anti-ISIS coalition) started to coordinate military actions in Southern Syria with Russia.
Jordan on the USA’s Side
However, earlier, Jordan demonstrated that it could support a Syria invasion, which was the reason the U.S used to blackmail Russia, Iran and their allies.
The success of Russia’s military operation in Syria is a warning to the Jordanian leadership. The Syrian army launched an offensive, not only in the north but also in the south, pushing the militants to the borders of Jordan and Israel. The Russian aviation bombed militants near the border, not giving the militants a chance to hide in Jordanian territory. Jordanian troops were deployed on the border, which was seen as a preparation for a Syria invasion.
In addition, the British army staged drills in Jordan in February, transferring many thousands of troops to the border with Syria.
The fight against ISIS
Jordan is a member of the American coalition against ISIS. King Abdullah II received military training in the UK, and personally took part in the bombing of the Islamic State positions.
The Palestinian Issue
Another issue that was discussed at the meeting was the situation in the Holy Land. Jordan has traditionally played the role of mediator in the Palestinian settlement. Jordan and Egypt are the only Arab countries that have diplomatic relations with Israel. The focus of the questions will be the continuing deterioration in relations between Jews and Arabs in Palestine. The Israeli leadership intends to continue building towns in the occupied West Bank on the Jordan River. The Palestinians, in turn, are not going to stop the Intifada against the Jewish population. The conflict’s aggravation may cause the appearance of Islamic state formations.
The truce in Syria
The most important issue that was discussed at the meeting between the King of Jordan and the President of the United States is the US-Russian initiative on signing a truce in Syria. Jordan is interested in the earliest signing possible. Regime change in Syria, strengthening its fragmentation, eliminates Jordan’s rival for regional dominance. On the other hand, a halt in the fighting may reduce the number of refugees. Currently the number of refugees in Jordan is more than 650,000 people, and their presence presents an unbearable burden on the economy.
Given the starting position, it is most likely that after Russia made concessions to the US in a truce in Syria without completing the liquidation of militants, Jordan will follow the United States, abandoning the strategy of balancing. Under these conditions, creating a list of terrorists will be most disadvantageous to Russia and Iran. Russia will be in the most unfavorable position for the negotiations.