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Risks and challenges at Jordan’s borders

May 03,2015 - Last updated at May 03,2015

Recently there have been key developments on the Jordanian borders with Syria and Iraq that highlight the real threat of direct conflict there.

More than four years into the regional crisis, Jordan started thinking of creating a deep line of defence by arming Sunni tribes on the other side of these borders.

The idea is that those tribes can face down Daesh and protect the Jordanian borders from terrorist attacks.

The strategy is based on the past decade of experience with Iraq.

However, today’s threats and challenges are different and far more powerful than before. 

Additionally, the move might create a false sense of safety.

The geopolitical and security situation in Iraq undermines Jordan’s border protection strategy. This can be seen in Daesh suicide bombers targeting the Jordan-Iraq border.

It is becoming increasingly clear that Jordan must be prepared for a possible direct conflict on its borders.

With clashes between rebels and Syrian government troops leading to the closure of the Nassib border crossing, a similar threat is looming for Jordan on its border with Syria. 

Escalation in Syria increases the likelihood of a direct confrontation on Jordan’s northern border.

Various regional and international players appear to be inciting an uprising in several border towns in Syria, which pose and obvious danger. And regardless of who controls the border towns, there is also a real risk of terrorists using these areas as recruitment and training grounds.

Jordan faces many and complex challenges, but the first responsibility is to protect the integrity of its borders.

A new strategy is required not only to protect Jordan from direct confrontations on its borders, but also to ensure that security failures in neighbouring countries do not threaten the fabric of Jordanian society and politics.

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