News / Middle East

Jordan Feels Pressure to Take Sides on Syria

Elizabeth Arrott
Syria's neighbors have watched the nation's civil war unfolding on their borders -- and occasionally spilling over.  Unlike Turkey and Iraq, Jordan has tried to remain neutral.  There are signs the kingdom may be dragged, however reluctantly, into the conflict.
 
With growing political and economic unrest at home, the last thing many Jordanians want is conflict with neighbor Syria.

“The interests of Jordan dictate that Jordan does not interfere,” said political analyst Labib Kamhawi. He says those interests may come second to larger issues at play.

“There seems to be enough pressure coming from outside, from the U.S. and Europe and coming regionally from the Gulf states and Saudi, using economic means to force Jordan to open its grounds for some sort of military intervention, be it human resources or arms or logistics -- but it's happening," Kamhawi stated.
 
The United States, a key Jordanian ally, has sent a small military contingent to the kingdom.  Its precise mission is unclear.
 
Hassan Barari, a professor of International Studies at Jordan University, says it is important to have the Americans on board. “The international community wants Jordan to play a role in Syria," he said. "Jordan can't do it on its own and there should be some support, in particular from the Americans."
 
Damascus is just over 100 kilometers to the north and those trying to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad see Jordan as a key supply route to rebels trying to take the capital.
 
“There has been some arms smugglers into Syria but really the minimum level. It is not enough to provoke the Syrians.  But at least Jordan is giving the impression that it is ready to do it,” added Barari.
 
The risk of Syrian retaliation was heightened earlier this year when Jordanian officials said they had uncovered an attack plot by militants from Syria.

“No one can make the claim that the Syrian regime sent them, but once Jordan gets involved in this, this would be probably a front for Jordan to contend with,” explained Barari.

As the Syrian government struggles for survival, a new threat has emerged.  U.S. intelligence sources say Syria may be preparing to deploy chemical weapons.
 
Political analyst Kamhawi says the U.S. hurt its credibility on such matters in the prelude to the Iraq war -- which he feels casts doubt on the current claims. “If we accept the argument that there is some imminent danger coming from some Syrian chemical weapons, then this is an invitation for foreign intervention into Syria,” he noted.
 
Both men feel that, regardless of what Jordanians want, ultimately it may not be their choice.
 
“I think at the end of the day, Jordan will find it is really hard to take a position that is independent of what the Americans want to do,” said Barari.
 
In the meantime, Jordanians are watching, and waiting.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

1855 Slave Brochure Starkly Details Sale of Black Americans

Document lists entire families that were up for sale in New Orleans, offering graphic insight into the slavery trade More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
December 16, 2012 6:36 PM
Jordan, as all other civilized nations has no choice to make. It must stand against those that are, were, and will continue to use all their power, to commit crimes against humanity, by indiscriminately bombing, shelling, torturing and murdering civilians, including women, children and old people. The reports on these issues, and the observed destruction are a testament to the terrible acts committed.
Jordan can't remain neutral in a situation in which a dictatorship, that does not have the support of the people, has waged, wages, and has clearly indicated that it will continue to wage a terrible war against its own citizens. I can't see why? any one would think that Jordan needs to be cajolled by any other state, or any one, for the Jordanian leadership to make their own assesment and come to a humane decision. The fact that Jordan has allowed all persecuted persons from Syria, accross its borders, is indicative as to Jordan's position; and has provided full aid, as well as it can, to all refugees from Syria, including those needing medical help/the wounded, etc.. It is quite clear, in my view, as to were Jordan stands. I do not see/expect Jordan to take military action; Jordan has small forces. Turkey, with one of the larges armed forces in the world, has also abstained from engaging militarly notwithstanding its territory is routinely attacked by the Syrian dictatorship........

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs