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Jordan and the Arab NATO

Oct 01,2018 - Last updated at Oct 01,2018

The United States has been working meticulously to create a new security alliance comprised of the six Gulf Arab states, plus Jordan and Egypt. The new Arab NATO is expected to be formally announced during the next Gulf Summit in Washington to be held in about two weeks. The new alliance will serve as a “bulwark against Iranian aggression, terrorism, extremism and will bring stability to the Middle East”, a spokesperson for the White House’s National Security Council said. Interestingly, there has been a de facto alliance among the Gulf Arab states and the United States to contain Iran’s influence in the region. And yet, there has been a key difference between Saudi Arabia and the United States with regard to Iran’s growing influence on both Syria and Iraq. Surprisingly, the United States did little to reverse Iran’s ascendance in the region.

While, the American administration is fixated on an anti-Iran mission for a potential regional security alliance, Jordan is obsessed with a more critical issue: the two-state solution and Israel’s intransigence. In other words, Jordan’s threat perception has little to do with Iran and everything to do with Israel’s rejection to allow the Palestinians to exercise their right to self-determination. And this begs the following question: why would Jordan agree to take part in this alliance when the American administration has intentionally undermined Jordan’s recipe for peace and stability across the Jordan.

Let us get to the bottom of the matter. President Trump has taken the unthinkable and acknowledged Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. And as if this step is not enough to discredit the American administration as an “honest broker”, he transferred the American embassy to Jerusalem. On top of that, he has been trying to put an end to UNRWA once and for all. To be sure, such a step would have a grave implication on Jordan in particular.

Implicit in all recent American steps is one ulterior objective: to liquidate the Palestinian problem in favour of Israel’s right-wing vision. The outcomes of this vision surely will jeopardise Jordan’s national security in the long run. His Majesty King Abdulla has made it perfectly clear that any scenario other than the two-state one will be catastrophic for Jordan.

Against this backdrop, it remains to be seen how a country like Jordan accepts to be part of a security framework that will focus on Iran alone! This being said, Iran is not a benign regional power. On the contrary, Iran is both a revisionist country and an aggressor. Suffice it here to examine its sectarian policies that have rendered Iraq almost ungovernable. Besides, Jordan and Iran do not see eye to eye on much of regional politics. But again, that does not justify Jordan’s involvement in a scheme that may not even see the light for years to come.

Perhaps, Jordan is better off to shun itself from regional alliances that do not focus on the root causes of instability in the region. I will state the obvious and say one more time that Israel’s expansionist foreign policy is a mortal danger for Jordan, not Iran.

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