Remember Me
Login

MIDEAST MIRROR 07.07.15, SECTION B (THE ARAB WORLD)

 

1-Fear of failure, the danger of success

2-Flawed logic

3-Time for Amman to decide

 

1-Fear of failure, the danger of success

 

We are witnessing a game of cautious statements that reveal the legitimate fear of last-minute failure. This is not merely a case of wariness at the possibility that 'the devil lies in the details.' That devil has been lying there all along in the most minute details that the Iranians are adept at scrutinizing, analyzing, and extracting the implications of their comas, full stops, and semi-colons – unlike the Arabs who do not concern themselves with such unimportant issues… The fear of last-minute failure also stems from the fact that there are those lying in wait for this agreement, whether imminent or unlikely. They begin with [Israeli PM] Netanyahu who has already brought us the glad tidings of the great powers' 'collapse' before Iran. And they do not end with the U.S. Congress and its two Republican houses, as well as with numerous regional capitals that are still waiting to find out what this final Tuesday will produce, without holding a single card or having any political or geopolitical credit with which to 'fight' or threaten a likely agreement they believe will expose their interests to danger--Mohammad Kharroub in Jordanian al-Ra'i

 

The American elite that spins in Obama's orbit is stressing that the agreement will alter Iran's behavior for the better. It will also open broad horizons for bilateral cooperation between the two countries, adding that trade and investments will impel the Iranian regime to abandon its expansionist dreams of empire and force it to focus more on domestic affairs. This view – which continues to lie at the core of the Obama administration's logic when discussing the threats that may arise from its agreement with Iran – is both exceedingly idealistic and naïve. Historical precedents with other countries have demonstrated how wrong it is. Similar things were previously said about China, Russia, and North Korea; but the result is what we see in the world today: greater intransigence, more internal repression and further external expansionism. To assume otherwise is to disregard the nature of these regimes and the fact that this cannot be changed by wishful thinking, but by action on the ground--Ali Hussein Bakeer in Qatari al-Arab

 

The coming hours are of historic proportions, as the Vienna talks on Iran's nuclear program reach their conclusion, says a Jordanian commentator. While there are signs of an imminent agreement, there is good reason for caution because many parties around the world have an interest in blocking it. An agreement will be catastrophic for the region and will only pave the way for a more aggressive and expansionist Iran that is closer than ever to acquiring a nuclear bomb, claims a commentator in a Qatari daily. And this is all the fault of the Obama administration.

 

THE SEVENTH DAY OF THE SEVENTH MONTH: "Today, the 7th day of the 7th month of 2015, will enter history through its widest gates," writes Mohammad Kharroub in Tuesday's Jordanian daily al-Ra'i.

It will do so whether the participants in Vienna's long nuclear marathon reach an agreement, which will be described as 'historic,' or if the hard-liners and the advocates of military solutions and preemptive strikes defeat those seeking to spare the region (and the world) the catastrophic consequences of beating the war drums.

The latter prefer the diplomacy of warships and stealth fighters and fleets that sail the Gulf waters. These waters are already teeming with naval mines, suicide attack boats and aircraft carriers, just as they are teeming with tankers carrying oil and gas extracted from Arab lands whose returns are being consumed in the Arabs and Muslims' internal wars. They end up, in fact, in the hands of those who hold the keys to coffers and sovereign funds, and consequently to the future of the region's rulers. For they are the ones who decide on the candidates to succeed these rulers or to topple them and hold them behind bars – or bury them, six feet under.

Early today or perhaps, the sunset hours, will be decisive for knowing whether the long years of negotiations over Iran's nuclear program will reach a 'happy' conclusion, or whether they will drive the '5 + 1' foreign ministers, who rushed back to Vienna, to pack their bags and leave the famous hotel hosting the shuttle negotiations, with frowns on their faces.

For a moment yesterday, these same faces seemed to be smiling after statements by [Iranian FM] Zarif, [U.S. Secretary of State] Kerry, and Mogherini spread a climate of optimism. For it is no simple matter for EU Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini to say that agreement was 'imminent.' John Kerry subsequently emerged, put his crutches aside and addressed the media succinctly, but with clear implications: The time has come for the negotiations to reach an end. This was especially significant since he said this immediately after 'agreeing' with Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif's statement that 'we are now closer to an agreement than at any time before.'

We are witnessing a game of cautious statements that reveal the legitimate fear of last-minute failure. This is not merely a case of wariness at the possibility that 'the devil lies in the details.' That devil has been lying there all along in the most minute details that the Iranians are adept at scrutinizing, analyzing, and extracting the implications of their comas, full stops, and semi-colons – unlike the Arabs who do not concern themselves with such unimportant issues. (We have in Sadat's Camp David and 'Abbas's Oslo [1979 and 1993 agreements with Israel], the best examples of this Arab mentality that is exhausted by details, is unconcerned with national sovereignty, and is uninterested in reading between the lines).

The fear of last-minute failure also stems from the fact that there are those lying in wait for this agreement, whether imminent or unlikely. They begin with [Israeli PM] Netanyahu who has already brought us the glad tidings of the great powers' 'collapse' before Iran. And they do not end with the U.S. Congress and its two Republican houses, as well as with numerous regional capitals that are still waiting to find out what this final Tuesday will produce, without holding a single card or having any political or geopolitical credit with which to 'fight' or threaten a likely agreement they believe will expose their interests to danger.

Most of these (mostly Arab) capitals are relying on rusty but dangerous tools, namely, sectarian and confessional incitement without realizing that they will turn against them and prove more harmful to them than to others. That truly requires them to reconsider their policies and strategies (if any), and to redefine their enemies and revise their priorities.

Last minute haggling is common in diplomacy and in negotiations between friends, but especially between enemies. They are common whether the antagonists have just emerged from long and destructive wars, or have veered towards the option of negotiations before the warplanes are launched and the fire breaks out. This is why the Iranians are displaying a sort of calm that tries to disguise a clear concern that is evident on the faces of the Iranian negotiating team, despite the smiling face of the head of Iranian diplomacy, Zarif.

For Tehran realizes that there are those who wish to destroy all the 'achievements' accumulated by [Iranian President] Rowhani and Zarif ever since the former came to power. It realizes that there are those lying in wait for this duo both inside and outside Iran. And this requires the Iranian negotiating team to exert greater efforts to prevent the talks from collapse, and to display some flexibility, relative of course, regarding some of the details that the American and French sides are insisting on (even though the French want a slice of the Iranian cake for themselves, and do not want to cause the negotiations to collapse).

Such details include unconditional visits by international inspectors to Iranian military facilities, the interrogation of Iranian nuclear scientists, and other technical issues that Tehran fears are just a pretext used to destroy its (peaceful) nuclear program or to spy on it and discover the identity of its scientists, exposing them to assassination as happened to some of their colleagues in the past.

No qualitative breakthrough has been achieved in the Vienna talks yet, even though everyone is speaking of the emergence of a suitable basis for 'understandings'. And this leads us to the conclusion that the '5 + 1' group, as well as Iran, will not risk closing the door to negotiations once and for all, even if this leads to a limited and final extension, and especially since the Iranians continue to declare that they 'will not bind themselves to any specific time for reaching an agreement.'

"Do the Americans accept this 'logic'? The coming hours will tell," concludes Kharroub.

End…

 

HEADING TO DISASTER: "With each passing day, it is becoming more and more certain that we are heading towards disaster, thanks to Obama's policies and the now imminent agreement with the mullahs' regime," writes Ali Hussein Bakeer in Tuesday's Qatari daily al-Arab.

This is the same regime that the U.S. State Department's report says is pursuing and backing terrorism in various areas of the region and the world.

In an article a few days ago in The Washington Post entitled 'The Worst Agreement in U.S. Diplomatic History,' [U.S. columnist] Charles Krauthammer provides an excellent summary of the expected results of the U.S./Iranian nuclear negotiations and the agreement that will soon be born. He writes: 'Obama will get his ‘legacy’, Kerry will get his Nobel, and Iran will get the bomb.'

Until then, many people wonder how the agreement will affect Iran and its behavior. The American elite that spins in Obama's orbit is stressing that the agreement will alter Iran's behavior for the better. It will also open broad horizons for bilateral cooperation between the two countries, adding that trade and investments will impel the Iranian regime to abandon its expansionist dreams of empire and force it to focus more on domestic affairs.

This view – which continues to lie at the core of the Obama administration's logic when discussing the threats that may arise from its agreement with Iran – is both exceedingly idealistic and naïve. Historical precedents with other countries have demonstrated how wrong it is. Similar things were previously said about China, Russia, and North Korea; but the result is what we see in the world today: greater intransigence, more internal repression and further external expansionism. To assume otherwise is to disregard the nature of these regimes and the fact that this cannot be changed by wishful thinking, but by action on the ground.

Some officials close to Obama have already begun to sense that this assessment is correct. Numerous articles have been written by distinguished figures, and statements have been issued by former senior members of the Obama administration, warning that the agreement in its current form would be a catastrophe. It would lead to an Iran that is more savage and aggressive in its regional foreign policy; one that is more supportive of terrorism and terrorist attacks, as well as being more immune to any foreign pressure or sanctions. At the same time, Iran will maintain a huge industrial nuclear program. Moreover, the agreement does nothing to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and remains full of loopholes, in the absence of a comprehensive strategy for dealing with the regional threats that Iran poses.

In his statement at the end of June before the U.S. Senate's Foreign Relations Committee, Ray Takyeh – an Iranian/American Middle East scholar and Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations – said that the agreement is most likely to lead to the birth of an extremist theocratic regime with an industrial-scale nuclear program. In his testimony, Takyeh says that Khamene'i will have enough time to rearrange the domestic scene; for he is only interested in Iran’s economic welfare inasmuch as it serves his divine mission of protecting and exporting the Iranian Revolution that recognizes no borders.

The irony here is that a number of experts on Iranian affairs are still claiming that the agreement could strengthen what they refer to as the 'moderates' in Iran. But they do not realize that the Iranian classification of currents that belong the same spectrum into 'moderates,' 'conservatives,' and 'extremists' has no real value. It only has value insofar as it serves the aims of the supreme leader and allows Iran to persist with its domestic and foreign strategy of distributing roles and blocking the path before any real opposition.

In this regard, some are forgetting – or pretending to forget – that Rowhani and his negotiating team would not have been in power or in the nuclear negotiations had the supreme leader [Ayatollah Khamene’i] not allowed it. From this perspective, those whom some describe as 'moderates' are only there to serve Khamene'i. As soon as their role in securing a nuclear agreement in accordance with Khamene'i's criteria ends, they will be dropped.

For reaching a nuclear agreement will improve the extremists’ chances because Khamene’i will need a hard-line team to defend the agreement later, and to expand in the region in anticipation of any American retreat.

"After the moderates' mission ends, Iran will be closer to a nuclear bomb than any time before," concludes Bakeer.

Ends…

 

 

2-Flawed logic

 

President Putin’s suggestion for a new regional anti-ISIS coalition makes perfect sense but for the fatal flaw of including the Syrian regime as a partner, says 'Abderrahman ar-Rashed in today's Saudi Asharq al-Awsat

 

The Russian proposal to form a regional alliance to fight ISIS would have made perfect sense had it not included the Syrian regime, argues a veteran Saudi commentator. For it certainly makes more sense to rely on moderate Sunnis to fight extremist Sunnis, than to rely on extremist Shiites such as Iran to fight extremist Sunnis, as the Americans are proposing.

 

‘A VERY LARGE MIRACLE’: "What the Syrian foreign minister said in response to a proposal by the Russian president a week ago is correct," writes 'Abderrahman ar-Rashed in Tuesday's Saudi-owned pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat.

Walid al-Mu'allem said: 'I know that Russia is a country that performs miracles; but for us to form an alliance with Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, and the U.S. – that calls for a very large miracle.'

I also believe that President Vladimir Putin was right in believing that only such an alliance can defeat ISIS. My only objection is that the inclusion of the Syrian regime in its present form will foil the proposal. Russia can perform a great miracle if it pushes for a Syrian regime without Assad, based on the [June 2012] Geneva-1 Conference. It can build an alliance that includes the Gulf states, Turkey, and Jordan to combat ISIS. With such a bloc, I am sure that it will be possible to destroy terrorism and to ensure Syria's stability and the region and the world's safety.

The problem with the Russian project as explained by President Putin stems from the belittlement of the disagreement with Assad. Putin believes that the war in Syria is a mere misunderstanding between neighbors, and that they can reconcile and cooperate in order to fight international terrorism – i.e., ISIS. Putin specified the states he has in mind as Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Jordan.

The problem is not in the idea, but in the list of states eligible to join the alliance. The problem is not one of misunderstanding. We know each other very well. We tolerated the Syrian regime when in the past decade it killed Lebanon's former PM Rafiq al-Hariri as well as twenty other Lebanese leaders. But after it has killed over a quarter-of-a-million Syrians and displaced another nine million over the past four years, the relationship with the regime was completely destroyed. It is no longer possible to mend the broken glass. Reconciliation is not just difficult; it is impossible. It will aggravate the disturbances in the region and keep the ISIS fire burning.

The other point, and steering clear of any hatred, is that we need to understand the geopolitical changes that are occurring. We are dealing a region whose map is being formed. Washington is submitting to the new reality that Iran is imposing via its nuclear project and the expansion of its geographical domination of Syria and Iraq. This threatens the very existence of the Gulf states, Turkey, and Jordan. It dangerously upsets the balance of power with Egypt that has been in place for half-a-century.

The Iranians today are administering the regimes of two major countries, Iraq and Syria. If Turkey, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia were to ally with Assad, that would amount to recognition of Iran's domination of Syria! It is too dangerous for the Gulf states and Turkey to ignore Iran’s march and view the problem from a single angle, that of terrorism and ISIS in particular. Iran's threat is greater than that posed by ISIS. This is a fact that should always be taken into consideration.

Although the regional Assad/Saudi/Turkish/Jordanian alliance proposed by the Russians is a good idea in its choice of the states that can confront ISIS, pitting the moderate Sunnis against the extremist Sunnis, including Assad ruins this religious/political equation.

In fact, however, what the Russian president is proposing is more logical than what the American officials have been suggesting. The latter have demonstrated that they do not distinguish between sects and do not understand the region’s complex history. Putin is asking the Sunnis to fight the Sunnis. He is asking the 'Sunni' states, such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Jordan to fight the Sunni terrorist group, ISIS. The Americans by contrast, are asking for the help of the Iranians, the extremist Shiites, to fight the Sunnis' extremists. This is a terrible mistake because it will enhance ISIS's power not decrease it. Sunnis from around the world will rise to back their co-religionists. And since the overwhelming majority of Muslims are Sunnis, the threat will multiply.

It is a grave mistake for the Americans to be seeking the Iranians' help. This will not enable them to destroy religious terrorism in the region; it will simply add fuel to its fire. For al-Qa’ida and ISIS's entire concept is based on stoking a historical confessional conflict led by extremists, resembling the Thirty Years War between the Protestants and the Catholics in mid-17th century Europe that brought destruction, famine, disease, and bankruptcy in its wake.

In the past decade, Saudi Arabia succeeded in defeating al-Qa’ida after a bloody war. The Americans also succeeded in defeating al-Qa’ida and its [Iraqi-based] leader az-Zarqawi, only after seeking the help of the Sunni clans. Fighting ISIS and religious extremism may take longer or shorter. It may take twenty years, which is how long the war with al-Qa’ida has lasted, since 1996. And it may take only three years.

"The matter depends entirely on who is fighting terrorism – on whether it is the Assad regime and the supreme leader's regime in Iran, or whether it is Turkey together with Saudi Arabia and Jordan!" concludes Rashed.

Ends…

 

 

3-Time for Amman to decide

 

It seems that Jordan’s political decision is now tending towards an urgent return to the axis to which Jordan has traditionally belonged; one that does not view itself as far from the Saudi axis. But we should also not ignore a logical analysis of the three Jordanian messages: First, the hint at intervention in the Syrian south (at least via arming the Syrian [Sunni] clans). Second, the message implicit in hosting those taking up arms against the Syrian regime. Third, the message that undermines the suggestion of a rapprochement with Tehran by announcing that a terrorist cell linked to the Qods Brigade has been arrested, and the symbolism implied by the fact that the ring-leader is Iraqi. All three messages suggest that Jordan wishes to line up with the Saudi-led axis by expressing hostility to Riyadh’s enemies, and moving harmoniously in tandem with the changes in Riyadh’s position--'Amer as-Sabaileh on pan-Arab www.raialyoum.com

 

Nothing is left for the Arab/international [Syrian opposition] intelligence room to do in Amman. Wisdom requires its immediate disbandment and the initiation of serious contacts between Amman and Damascus. The aim should be the following: First, ending the political estrangement and the beginning of a process of dual and tripartite coordination (with Iraq) in order to agree on a common political and security vision. Second, the formation of a joint Jordanian/Syrian/Iraqi security operations room to confront terrorist expansion, and prepare a united plan to liquidate the armed and terrorist groups operating in southern Syria and al-Anbar, preventing their expansion towards Jordan. Third, making a start in resolving the Syrian refugee problem via cooperation between the two countries’ interior ministries, and in tandem with the operations that are meant to restore security in southern Syria--Nahed Hattar in Lebanese al-Akhbar

 

The assault on the Syrian regime in the Jordanian media and the announcement that an Iranian-linked terrorist cell has been uncovered in Amman, are intended as messages to Riyadh indicating that Amman wishes to realign itself with the Saudi-led axis, maintains a Jordanian commentator.  The failure of the opposition’s offensive in southern Syria that was planned and coordinated by a joint operation room in Amman has exposed the tension between two wings of the Jordanian state, claims another Jordanian commentator. One camp that includes the King and some of his neo-liberal cohorts supported the attack; and the other that includes the state bureaucracy has opposed it. It is time for Amman to take the initiative and reconcile with Damascus.

 

SAUDI TURNAROUND: "The region is witnessing major developments and transformations resulting from the pace and dynamism of events in general, and in the Syrian situation in particular," writes 'Amer as-Sabaileh on Tuesday's pan-Arab www.raialyoum.com.

The Saudi turnaround, as manifest from the results of the visit to Moscow by [Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister] Mohammad bin Salman, the strongest and most youthful figure on the Saudi scene, and in his meeting with President Putin, represents a major turning point in the manner with which the most important crisis in the region – the Syrian crisis – will be addressed.

A few days after Mohammad bin Salman's visit, and during a meeting with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Mu'allem, President Putin decided to erect a ladder for everyone to climb down, by proposing to form an anti-terrorism alliance. President Putin said that ISIS targets everyone and that it is therefore possible for it to serve as the common denominator between all the countries that are currently fighting it out in the region.

On the other hand, this initiative should not be viewed as the mere 'ruminations of a dreamer.' It was proposed by no less a person than President Putin, and only a few days after meeting with the Saudi prince. On the other hand, the Russian/Turkish Stream Project [natural gas pipeline] has now moved to the phase of implementation, which means that the two parties to the conflict in Syria – Turkey and Saudi Arabia – are now closer to Moscow than at any time before.

To this one should add the extensive crisis now facing Europe and those countries that are obstructing a political solution in Syria as a result of the Greek crisis, Moscow’s clear support for Greece, and the Turkish Stream Project that is on its way to the region. All these factors offer Moscow new strategic cards. They undoubtedly place the Syrian crisis back on track towards a solution. And this means that many parties will need to reconsider their positions and policies.

At the Jordanian level, there have been recent attempts to deal with these transformations by restructuring many outstanding issues, especially those that have to do with alliances and their future shape.  Those observing Jordanian activity can conclude that its character is the product of an exceptionally bureaucratic- and security-oriented mentality. The Jordanian state is apparently trying to rearrange its historical alliances, especially after a phase of wildly divergent options and a cooling down of the country’s relations with certain countries.

The recent weeks have witnessed noticeable escalation against the Syrian regime in the Jordanian media. This was followed by the appearance of [hard-line Saudi Sunni cleric] al-'Arifi in northern Jordan. This cannot be viewed in isolation of Jordan’s re-positioning strategy. The message is political in nature at two levels – that of media escalation against Syria, and that of reassuring Saudi Arabia.

But the most important message was the announcement that a terrorist cell linked to the Iranian al-Qods Brigade that was allegedly planning to carry out terrorist attacks in Jordan has been uncovered. In political terms this means that any previous or subsequent attempts to achieve an Iranian/Jordanian rapprochement have been undermined, at least for the short term.

Well-informed sources confirm that Jordan’s move towards Tehran was not serious to begin with. It was more of a tactic meant to stir up some of the stagnant files in the region. People close to Saudi decision-making circles said that [Jordanian Foreign Minister] Nasser Judeh's visit to Tehran without prior Saudi/Jordanian coordination fell like a clap of thunder on the new Saudi administration. And this is to say nothing of the absence of personal chemistry between the figures of the new Saudi administration and most former Jordanian envoys to Riyadh – which explains the powerful reemergence of Bassem 'Awadallah, the former head of the Royal Court, in dealing with the crisis of Jordanian diplomatic representation that can no longer be disguised.

The attempt to emerge from the condition of 'zero-gains' today is taking the form of steps that precede a Jordanian turnaround. This will not stop at the point of the implicit messages in the media [attacks on Syrian regime] or security [busting the Iranian cell]. It must be followed by some fundamental changes that will restore the Jordanian administration's political prestige and reorder its strategic alliances.

It seems that Jordan’s political decision is now tending towards an urgent return to the axis to which Jordan has traditionally belonged; one that does not view itself as far from the Saudi axis. But we should also not ignore a logical analysis of the three Jordanian messages:

- First, the hint at intervention in the Syrian south (at least via arming the Syrian [Sunni] clans).

- Second, the message implicit in hosting those taking up arms in Syria against the regime.

-Third, the message that undermines the suggestion of a rapprochement with Tehran by announcing that a terrorist cell linked to the Qods Brigade has been arrested, and the symbolism implied by the fact that the ringleader is Iraqi.

All three messages suggest that Jordan wishes to line up with the Saudi-led axis by expressing hostility to Riyadh’s enemies, and moving harmoniously in tandem with the changes in Riyadh’s position.

"But the content of these messages confirm that a return to Saudi Arabia can only be achieved via a single gateway, namely, that of security. For the security message succinctly says that political relations can only be addressed from a security perspective," concludes Sabaileh.

End…

 

DEFINITIVE STATEMENT: “‘We will not intervene militarily in Syria, not today and not tomorrow’: This is how Jordanian PM ‘Abdullah an-Nsour settled the matter in a definitive statement,” writes Nahed Hattar in the left-leaning Beirut daily al-Akhbar.

It is as if the defeat suffered by the Military Operations Center (MOC) groups was also inflicted upon Nsour’s local opponents – liberals and others. These have now gone silent and the voice of the state bureaucracy representatives has risen, after keeping silent while waiting for the outcome of the adventure in which the Palace, the liberals linked to the American neo-cons and their Israeli and Arab Gulf allies insisted on pursuing in southern Syria.

There is much talk of Jordanian security leaks that were passed on to the Syrian army, enabling the latter to expose the details of Operation Southern Storm even before it was carried out. At the very least, there are those who assert that the coordinates of the meeting-place of the Nusra Front leaders and those of other terrorist groups allied to it in the ‘evil storm’ were passed on to the Syrian side by the Jordanians. If true, this explains the Jordanians silent welcome for the Russian initiative calling for an alliance with the Syrian regime to fight terrorism.

It is worth noting that [last week’s] report of the details of that adventure published by the Financial Times is old. It was written on the eve of Operation Southern Storm and not after its failure. It spoke of the Kingdom’s plans to follow in the terrorists’ footsteps after they succeed in taking control of the ground in southern Syria and establish two areas: One for housing refugees, and another as a buffer zone that would separate Jordan from ISIS which, in Tadmur [Palmyra], is only a few tens of kilometers away from the Jordanian borders.

The Royal Palace – and its supporters – headed towards a risky adventure that only lasted for days, even though it had been prepared for months, with the banners of the Arab Hashemite Kingdom raised high and with heated statements. All that evaporated in 24 hours, not only because the Syrian army and the resistance [Hizbollah] were lying in wait for the invading terrorist groups on both the Hadar/Suweida’ front and Der’a fronts. It was also and fundamentally because the local societies in both these invaded areas displayed their loyalty to the Syrian national state and turned the plans for partition into dust.

The Saudis and Turks also failed to inform Amman of their contacts with the Russians regarding reconciliation with Damascus. As a result, King ‘Abdullah II and the leading Court figures found themselves isolated at the Jordanian, Arab, regional, and international levels. They therefore had no option but to climb aboard the train.

Had the late King Hussein been in power, with his famous political sensibility, it would have been only a matter of hours before he piloted his own plane to Damascus. But the current King, ‘Abdullah II, is weighed down by heavy domestic shackles. He will wait until Washington and Riyadh raise their heads from the sand, before he makes a 180-degrees turn, picks up the phone, and asks to coordinate with President Bashar al-Assad. In other words, King ‘Abdullah II will wait to see in which direction the Americans and the Saudis will head.

Those willing to forget the socio-political history of countries can say whatever they like about King Hussein’s policies. But they still have to acknowledge two things: First, that the periods of friendly Jordanian/Saudi relations were limited and always superficial; and, second, that King Hussein pursued relatively independent policies from the U.S, as in his opposition to the [Egyptian-Israeli 1979] Camp David Accords and siding with late president Saddam Hussein in 1990. King Hussein hated the Saudis, and the feeling was mutual. Before the unfortunate 1994 Wadi ‘Araba Accord [Jordanian-Israeli Peace Treaty] Jordanian policy kept shifting within an eastern Arab framework in tandem with Syria and Iraq.

In the mid-1980s, when the late Syrian president Hafez al-Assad had already won the main round against the Muslim Brotherhood gangs – some of whom had trained and armed themselves in Jordan – the King appeared on TV and publicly apologized to the Syrian president and to Syria. That occurred prior to Arab and international reconciliations with Damascus. So, has the time come for King ‘Abdullah II to do the same, and to offer the required apology?

President Hafez al-Assad’s policies towards Jordan were always grounded in a realistic outlook. Since 1970, he opposed any political change in the country no matter how glittery its slogans, since that would have created a situation where Jordan could have fallen into the trap of the plan for an ‘alternative homeland’ [for the Palestinians]. President Bashar al-Assad inherited and pursued the same policy, despite the fact that the Kingdom’s decision-makers did not manifest the same sense of responsibility. Therefore, Damascus will continue to open its arms to reconciliation with Amman, despite all the harm done to it.

Nothing is left for the Arab/international intelligence MOC room to do in Amman. Wisdom requires its immediate disbandment and the initiation of serious contacts between Amman and Damascus. The aim should be the following:

- First, ending the political estrangement and the beginning of a process of dual and tripartite coordination (with Iraq) in order to agree on a common political and security vision.

- Second, the formation of a joint Jordanian/Syrian/Iraqi security operations room to confront terrorist expansion, and prepare a united plan to liquidate the armed and terrorist groups operating in southern Syria and al-Anbar, preventing their expansion towards Jordan.

- Third, making a start in resolving the Syrian refugee problem via cooperation between the two countries’ interior ministries, and in tandem with the operations that are meant to restore security in southern Syria.

If Dr. ‘Abdullah an-Nsour’s government, the Jordanian state’s civilian and military bureaucracy and the clans prove unable to impose this soon, Jordan will be confronting three major disasters:

“First, it will have to simply follow in the footsteps of the Arab and regional reconciliation [with Damascus] without receiving anything in return and without being at its vanguard; second, a terrorist explosion with the infiltration of Jordanian territories by terrorist groups, and, third, preparation for the resettlement of no less than one-million Syrian refugees permanently [in Jordan],” concludes Hattar.

Ends…

 

 

Copyright: Mideast Mirror.

This email is intended for the recipient only.

Access to this message by any other person is not permitted. If you are not the intended recipient you must not use, disclose, distribute, copy, print or rely upon this email.

The materials available through Mideast Mirror are the property of Alef Publishing Ltd or its licensors, are protected by copyright, trademark and other intellectual property laws.

Mideast Mirror - Alef Publishing Ltd.

Tel: 020 7052 96 00

Fax: 020 7052 96 09

 

Editorial and Enquiries:

Tel: ++ 44 773 4426 113

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.