The challenge for Jordan
by Amer Al Sabaileh | Jan 13, 2013
If the political situation in Syria remains unresolved, the possibility of the conflict spilling across the region increases.
The biggest problem will be posed by the jihadist group Jabhet Al Nusra, whose targets are Syria’s neighbours.
The danger is not just terrorist-style attacks on civilians, but also engendering an atmosphere propitious to sectarian conflict along religious and ethnic lines in the entire region.
Jordan should be wary of this new organisation, as many of its members are originally Jordanians.
Al Nusra is a serious threat because it represents not just Al Qaeda, but also many radical Islamist groups that share the same doctrine.
Conflicts in the region may become inevitable due to such groups’ nurturing a culture of hatred and rejection of others. Such conflicts could spread from Iraq to Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt.
What is surprising is that despite the clear differences, many Western diplomats and politicians compare what is going on in our region now to the events in Yugoslavia, which resulted in division into several states at the end of the conflict, based on ethnicity and religion.
The Jordanian policy, of attempting to appease everyone, adopted since the first day of the crisis in Syria, makes the Kingdom appear as an obstacle to countries in the region fuelling the conflict in Syria.
As such, the challenges for Jordan have grown, at political and security levels.
Jordan should be able to contain the great political pressure by maintaining harmony in the domestic arena.
Many recent reports highlight the intelligence activities conducted by the Israeli Mossad in some Arab capitals, including Amman, to maintain the conflict in Syria.
Therefore, the biggest danger at this stage is that an armed confrontation may occur due to the failure of a peaceful revolution (like in Tunisia and Egypt) so a political transition with bloodshed becomes more probable (like in Libya and Syria).
Jordan should keep an eye on the eastern front. Iraq is also facing the challenge of stopping the western governorate of Al Anbar from falling into a sectarian (Sunni-Shiite) conflict, which has the potential of separating the Sunni district, making it an independent statelet.
The success of such a separation has the potential to lead to many more similar attempts throughout the region. Therefore, Jordan should use all its power in that part of Iraq to achieve two major points: save the unity of Iraq; start a strategic alliance with Iraq that could serve the Jordanian political and economic interests.
The writer, http://amersabaileh.blogspot.com, political analyst and expert in intercultural studies, is lecturer at the University of Jordan. He contributed this article to The Jordan Times.