In late September 2022, Jordanian Prime Minister Ayman Safadi said his country was mobilizing “regional and international support for an Arab-led political process” to end the 11-year-old war. Earlier in 2021, the kingdom had put forward an initiative to resolve the Syrian issue, but the results were very limited.
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The circumstances seem different than ever before regionally and internationally, encouraging Jordan to re-put forward an initiative for a solution in Syria. Examples are Russia’s rearrangement of foreign policy priorities as a result of the conflict in Ukraine, Turkey’s new orientation towards the relationship with the Syrian regime, and the demonstrations that have erupted in Iran and made it more preoccupied with its internal reality.
However, other key factors push Jordan to launch the new solution initiative in Syria, namely:
- The issue of Eastern Mediterranean gas and the completion of any obstacles to the discovery of gas by Israel. This issue does not concern Jordan directly but is driven by the United States or Israel, especially in light of the approaching Israeli-Lebanese consensus on the demarcation of the border and the push of Western countries to Israel to increase its production and expand the fields invested. The Jordanian initiative is thus in the context of ensuring that the Syrian regime does not disrupt any future discovery, extraction or exploration operations.
- The issue of Arab depth is driven by emotions rather than real positions. Several initiatives have been put forward in this regard since the initiative of the Arab League to resolve the Syrian crisis, recently Egypt’s initiative on the new Levant project, and the attempts of the Gulf countries inappropriately to remove Iran from the region, but the previous circumstances were not feasible. It is expected that the new initiative will come to exploit the new regional and international reality.
- The issue of drugs and weapons entering Jordan through Syria, where it seeks to stop smuggling by agreeing with the regime. However, recently Amman has reached two points: First, the regime’s inability to stop smuggling operations once and for all, in terms of the inability – rather than the desire – to control the border. Second, fears have receded that groups inside Jordan will acquire large quantities of weapons by exploiting the ease of the border with Syria.
Overall, Jordan’s initiative appears to be an attempt to maintain its presence as a regional and international actor despite the regime’s unwillingness and keeping it close to it to influence its security policies in preparation for any future intervention or influence as circumstances dictate. However, no qualitative breakthrough is expected in the new initiative except to demonstrate the kingdom’s ability and willingness once again to play the role of mediator in the Syrian conflict.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.