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

    Escalation of Media Crackdown in Turkey Heightens Concerns

    Critics see 'a new dark age' as arrests of journalists, closures of media outlets by Erdogan government mount

    Russia Boasts of Troop Buildup on Flank, Draws Flak

    Russian military moves counter to efforts to de-escalate tensions, State Department says

    Video Iraqis Primed to March on Mosul, Foreign Minister Says

    Iraqi FM Ibrahim al-Jaafari tells VOA the campaign will meet optimistic expectations, even though US officials remain cautious

    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.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora