April 23, 2015 Special Dispatch No. 6034

Jordanian Columnist: Arab Countries Have Abandoned Jordan, Causing It To Seek Refuge With Israel

April 23, 2015
Jordan, Jordan | Special Dispatch No. 6034

In his April 12, 2015 column in the Jordanian daily Al-Dustour, columnist Maher Abu Tair accused Arab countries of turning their backs on Jordan and abandoning it. According to Abu Tair, this has pushed Jordan into Israel's lap to the point that it has become completely reliant on it, economically and politically. He also spoke of the inconsistent Jordanian foreign policy, which he said stemmed from its unstable relations with its neighbors, and called to seek an alternative to relying on Israel.

The following are excerpts from his article:

Maher Abu Tair (Image: Al-Dustour, Jordan, April 12, 2015)

"It is very saddening that Jordan has grown so weak that it has completely thrown itself into the lap of Israel, contrary to public sentiment and [at the expense of] its honor... This is the unfortunate reality, and those who follow events can see Jordan's headlong rush towards Israel and the overlap of [their] political and economic interests. It is as if Jordan is saying one of two things: that all Arab doors are closed to it, or that Israel is its safest ally and the only refuge in the region. Alternatively, perhaps the former is pushing Jordan towards the latter.

"Jordan has grown weak to the point of total reliance on Israel, as part of which Israel will sell us the Palestinian natural gas [it has] stolen as an alternative to the Egyptian natural gas that is denied [to us] by the mujahideen of the [Sinai] desert. [Also as part of this reliance, Jordan and Israel have agreed on] the massive Two Seas Canal project and [the issue of] the Aqaba Airport [referring to the issue of the Ramon Airport that Israel is building near Eilat]. In the past Jordan threatened to oppose [the building of the Israeli airport] but now it has withdrawn its objection on the condition that takeoffs and landings be coordinated [with the Aqaba Airport]...

"The naked truth is that Jordan no longer has any Arab allies, and today its only ally against the entire Arab east is Israel. If the Arabs had wanted a strong Jordan that did not throw itself at Israel, they would not have abandoned it economically and besieged it politically to the point that its foreign policy became fickle. [Nowadays] we go to bed supporting Tehran and wake up opposing it in Yemen.[1] At other times we are against Istanbul and with Tehran. We go to bed with [the PA in] Ramallah but wake up with Hamas...

"Our relations with our Arab and Islamic neighbors have become based on variables, while those with Israel are based on constants. The relations with Israel are longstanding, and currently take a new, friendlier form in terms of economics, agriculture, and coordination on all levels. It is as if Jordan is saying that it knows who holds the secret key to the regional gates and is turning directly to those who hold the keys to ensuring its existence, namely Israel.

"This correspondence between [our relations] with Israel and Jordan's existence is dangerous, unsafe, and full of [unpleasant] surprises. We cannot rely on it, even if some in Amman believe that relations with Israel could provide protection against Washington's and the Arabs' betrayal.

"Today more than ever in Jordanian history, the relations with Israel are overt, on all levels. There are many reasons for this, but we must find a different formula to protect our existence. Even if all the equations around us are unstable and dangerous, and even if Amman instinctively feels that Israel is its only option, we must find another solution that ensures our ongoing existence but does not entail agreeing to pay Israel the price...

"It is saddening to see that Jordan's only option today is [the country] to its West [meaning Israel]. We don't know who to blame [for this]. Should we blame ourselves, for desiring it despite our stated objections? Or the [situation], because the Arabs have left us no other option or because recent history is rife with dangers and turmoil, forcing us to defend ourselves even at the price of dealing with the devil?! The question is open for debate."




[1] In the weeks before Operation Decisive Storm in Yemen, Jordan and Iran began growing closer after eight years of disconnect. This was manifest in a visit by Jordan's foreign minister to Tehran, in Jordanian King 'Abdallah sending his best wishes to Iranian Leader Khamenei and President Rohani on the occasion of Nowruz, in articles in the Jordanian press calling to improve relations with Iran, and in the Jordanian tourism minister's announcement that Iranian tourists would be allowed to visit Jordan despite the restrictions that formally apply to them. However, on March 26, 2015, immediately after Operation Decisive Storm was launched, Jordan aligned itself with Saudi Arabia and announced that it supported the operation and was part of the Arab coalition fighting the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen.

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