31 mai 2013

Jordan: “Serious Challenges”

[5/31/2013 9:36:05 PM]

By Amer Al Sabaileh

There is no real optimism for a political settlement in Syria in the near future and the road to Geneva II is not yet paved, but it seems that the door to political settlement in the region is about to open.

There are many political challenges for the governments of the region, from general chaos to all out war. These need to be factored into calculations of the consequences of any political settlements.

In particular, Jordan is likely to find itself in the heart of this regional dilemma.

A quick look back to history shows that political stability in Jordan is one of the most influential factors in the resolution of important regional issues. The historical role of Jordan as a functional political entity is also linked to its close alliance to international superpowers, from UK until 1956 to sitting under the American umbrella with the “Eisenhower Doctrine”.

The events of the 1980s clearly demonstrate the risk that Jordan might face if it loses regional influence. At that time, King Hussein was fully involved in two major conflicts, the Iraq-Iran war and fiery tensions in the West Bank.

In December 1987, the first Intifada sparked, while in 1988 the Iraq-Iran war finally ended. Consequently, in April 1989 the revolution of the south of Jordan known as “Habit Nisan” broke out. The uprising was a result of various factors, but above all was an economic crisis that is disturbingly similar to the current situation in Jordan.

The solution then was to return to democratic elections and find a new regional role. Jordan was a key player in the 1990 Gulf War, the Wadi Araba peace treaty, the global war on terrorism and the second Iraq War in 2003.

Taking recent international and regional developments into account, Jordan now needs to adopt some high profile diplomacy capable of ensuring a key role in most of the current regional issues. Jordan needs to focus on three key issues.

First, Jordan needs to position itself as an essential player in any political settlement in Syria. This requires political flexibility from Jordan based on an “open door” policy with all players involved in the Syrian conflict.

Second, Jordan also needs to continue playing a key role in the launch of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, especially after the recent amendments to the Arab peace initiative. Again, Amman should be open to dealing with all protagonists in the Palestinian political scene.

Finally, Jordan should continue to build a strategic alliance with Iraq. With the possible developments in the region, Jordan might find Iraq as its only strategic ally. So Jordan should put extra effort to ensure the east of Iraq does not fall into chaos.

Jordan is facing a very serious political challenge, from a tumultuous region to the deep internal financial crisis. However, the biggest risk may just be the security challenge inside Jordan that is due to the absence of people capable of solutions (such as the case of the city of Maan) who can regulate the domestic arena harmoniously.

Dr. Amer Al Sabaileh contributed this article to Ammon News English.


Aucun commentaire: