"Al Nusra front": the coming Jordanian challenge
If the political situation in Syria remains unresolved, the possibility of the conflict spilling out across the region increases. The biggest risk would be the Al Nusra front model with the targets being Syria’s neighboring countries. The risk is not just terrorist-style attacks on civilians, but also preparing the atmosphere for civil sectarian conflict based on religious and ethnicity in the whole region, due to the mutual religious and geographical heritage that most of the people in the region share.
Jordan specifically should be wary of this new organization, as many of its members are originally Jordanians, who contributed to its activities in Syria, physically and morally. One of the things that makes Al Nusra a serious threat is that it doesn't represent just Al Qaeda, but also many radical Islamist groups would share the same new doctrine.
However, outbreaks of conflict in the region may become inevitable with the nurturing of a culture of hatred and rejection of others. It may in turn spread to other countries in the region, from Iraq to Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt.
What is surprising is that regardless of the differences, many western diplomats and politicians, are comparing what is going through the region now to Yugoslavia, which required division into states at the end of the conflict, based on ethnicity and religion.
Among this evolving regional situation, the situation in Jordan is becoming more challenging. The Jordanian policy positions attempting to please everyone adopted since the first day of the crisis in Syria, makes Jordan appear as a real obstacle to countries in the region involved in feeding the conflict in Syria. Therefore, the internal challenges for Jordan have grown, on both the political and security levels.
Jordan should be able to contain the large political pressures; this should happen by maintaining the harmony within the Jordanian domestic arena. Many recent reports are highlighting the intelligence activities conducted by the Israeli Mossad in some Arab capitals, including Amman, to maintain the conflict in Syria. So, the biggest danger at this stage is the scenario of armed confrontation, which may occur due to the failure of a peaceful revolution (like Tunisia and Egypt) so a political transition with bloodshed becomes more probable (like Libya and Syria).
Jordan should keep an eye on the eastern front. Iraq is also facing the challenge of saving its western governorate of Al Anbar from falling into a sectarian (Sunni-Shia) conflict with the potential for the separation of the Sunni district into an independent state. The success of such a separation would potentially lead to many more similar attempts throughout the region.
Therefore, Jordan should use all its historic power in that part of Iraq to achieve two major points: first, to save the unity of the Iraqi partner, as this scenario might have a disastrous future impact on Jordan. Secondly, to start a strategic alliance with Iraq that could serve the Jordanian political and economic interests.
Dr. Amer Al Sabaileh