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Why did Jordan abandon its neutral stance towards the Ukrainian crisis?

Amman Today

publish date 2022-03-22 20:25:29

The Compass – Despite its declared diplomatic position calling for calm, stopping escalation and standing at the same distance from the parties, Jordan decided to approach the US position regarding the Russian war in Ukraine, and identify with the European position despite the good relations and understandings it has had with Russia recently, especially With regard to the Syrian file.

But there are other pressing files that pushed Jordan to withdraw more under the mantle of the American position, and to abandon its neutrality for political and other pressing economic considerations, despite the announced statements that called for the language of dialogue to prevail, respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty and support for efforts to resolve the crisis through diplomatic means.

The mantle of a strategic ally

The United States represents a strong strategic ally for Jordan, and the first and largest financial donor to the Kingdom. The US Congress approved a few days ago an aid package for Jordan estimated at 1,650 billion dollars for the current year.

According to the US Congress, no less than $8.451 million will be allocated to support the Jordanian government’s budget, in addition to $425 million in military aid.

The United States signed a memorandum of understanding with Jordan in 2018 worth $6.375 billion, spread over five years, while Amman is negotiating with Washington regarding a new aid program agreement for the years 2023 to 2028.

Over the past four decades, relations between the United States and Jordan have been close and good. Since 1951, Washington has provided more than $20 billion in aid to Jordan, as well as significant support in the areas of security, health, education, and water.

American power

While the Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Nasser Al-Shraideh considers that this aid came to support the development and reform programs in the Kingdom, and to translate the distinguished relations between the two countries, observers see that it is conditional aid linked to Jordanian political and sovereign decisions, whose manifestations are believed to have begun to emerge successively.

Jordan is linked with the United States with a joint defense agreement signed in 2021 and was met with a lot of criticism for not being approved by the House of Representatives. The agreement allows the American army to move freely in the country and defend its forces if they are attacked, and it also gives its planes free exit without inspection, and attendance within 11 A military base in the length and breadth of the country, which was considered a violation of Jordanian sovereignty.

A few days ago, the Jordanians expressed their anger and resentment at the directions and interventions of the American ambassador in Jordan to his Jordanian interlocutor on one of the local satellite channels, asking him to reduce his station from circulating the news of the Russian “Russia Today” and “Sputnik” channels. Ironically, Ambassador Henry Wooster, in the same meeting, denied That the financial aid provided by the United States be linked to political interventions in Jordan, stressing that Jordan is a sovereign country and makes its own decisions.

Talking about supposed interference by American ambassadors in the kingdom is not new. Representatives in the Jordanian parliament have been circulating for months the story of an American ambassador warning the government of the consequences of restoring the relationship with the Syrian regime or opening the border crossings with Damascus. These accusations were made under the parliament by deputies months ago, The government did not deny it or respond to it.

Jordanians also recall the current US ambassador’s use of the term “new Jordan”, and the active tours undertaken by the former US ambassador in the country, which went far beyond the usual diplomatic activity.

Approaching the US-European axis

The writer and political analyst Zaid Al-Nawaisah believes that the Jordanian position on the Russian-Ukrainian crisis expresses a firm policy that believes in political solutions with regard to international crises, and rejects options that lead to military confrontation, interference in the affairs of others and imposing conditions by force.

But it does not negate Jordan’s concern about the continuation of the war, which may go beyond what is announced to the occurrence of an international military conflict, especially since Jordan is an important ally of the United States, and it has distinguished relations with Russia during the Putin era, especially in the Syrian file. Al-Nawaisah added, “Strategically, Jordan will not depart from the American-European axis, as it has several partnerships with this axis on the political, military and economic levels.”

He asserts that Jordan’s economic impact cannot be overlooked, especially in the energy file, despite the fact that Jordan’s trade exchange with Russia and Ukraine is modest and will not be affected much.

Israeli escalation

In this context, Jordanian expectations indicate that the coming month of Ramadan will witness an Israeli escalation in Jerusalem, which necessitates the kingdom to seek assistance from Washington to put pressure on Israel in this context.

Jordan fears that extremist Jewish groups will carry out dangerous incursions and plans in Al-Aqsa Mosque, taking advantage of the world’s preoccupation with the war of Russia and Ukraine, which may return the relationship with Israel to its previous era of tension and controversy after a noticeable improvement, as last year witnessed more than 60 incursions.

Observers believe that the time is more than appropriate to disengage from security understandings with Russia regarding the Syrian issue, especially after months of a secret dispute between Amman and Damascus due to the systematic smuggling of drugs into Jordanian territory, when the Jordanian monarch openly announced for the first time that these operations are being managed by organized parties. , in reference to the Syrian regime.

At the time, Jordan sent a strongly worded warning message to the Syrian government, stating that “we are ready to pay any price to protect our borders,” which was later translated into changing the rules of engagement on the borders that resulted in the killing of hundreds of smugglers.

The Independent Arabic

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Jordan News

Source : اخبار الاردن

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