Jordan has recently foiled repeated attempts by Syrian cells to smuggle weapons and drugs into its territory. According to reports, these cells are operated by the Syrian security apparatuses, as well as Hizbullah and Iran, and the weapons are intended for Palestinian elements in the West Bank. On December 18, 2023, the Jordanian army announced that it had foiled a large-scale attempt to smuggle drugs, machineguns and – for the first time – rockets into the country, after several days in which the number of smuggling attempts had dropped. The army reported that, early in the morning that day, severe clashes had broken out on the Syrian border between Jordanian border guards and the armed cells that were trying to bring in the contraband, and that Jordanian border guards had been wounded. In response, Jordan reportedly carried out several airstrikes in southern Syria in areas along the border where the smugglers were operating. Jordanian government spokesman Muhannad Mubaidin said that the kingdom's foreign minister, Ayman Safadi, had spoken to his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian about the matter. Mubaidin added: "We clarified to Iran that the smuggling attempts by its militias in Syria must stop."
Against the backdrop of these smuggling attempts, Lebanese journalist 'Ali Hamada published an article in the Lebanese Al-Nahar daily, in which he warned against Iran's attempts to use the war in Gaza as an opportunity to undermine the stability and sovereignty of Jordan. He notes that Iran has long been attempting, by means of the militias it supports in Syria, to undermine Jordan's stability by flooding the country with drugs and by using it as a corridor for smuggling weapons and drug from Syria. Now, he says, Iran and its affiliated terrorist groups are leveraging the war in Gaza to implement their plans. They are encouraging mass gatherings on Jordan's border with Iraq and attempts to breach the border under the slogan of "Solidarity with Gaza." They are also attempting to inflame the Jordanian public with calls to escalate the popular resistance within Jordan, calls which have also been made by Hamas military wing spokesman Abu Obeida.
Drugs and ammunition captured during the last smuggling attempt (Image: www.jaf.mil.jo, December 18, 2023)
The following are translated excerpts from Hamada's article: 
"Observers already know that one of the goals of the Iranian plan for the region is [undermining] the stability of the Jordanian Hashemite Kingdom. The Iraqi factions – which are subordinate to the Iran's Qods Force, headed by Esmail Qaani – are putting pressure on the Jordan-Iraq border by means of mass gatherings at the [Iraq-Syria-Jordan] border triangle, on the pretext of trying to reach the Israeli border via Jordan in order to come to the rescue of Gaza!
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"A quick look at a map of the Middle East would have told the organizers of this popular action that the shortest route to the Israeli border runs through Syria, which has become an open playing field for Iran and the factions subordinate to it. The closest point to the [Israeli] border, where it is possible to put pressure on Israel, is the ceasefire line in the [Syrian] Golan between Syria and the occupied Golan. The organizers of the mass gathering on the Iraq-Jordan border didn’t bother to consider an easier, wider, shorter, more efficient route by which to send the masses [into Israel] – [although] Iran wields decisive influence in Syria, which allows it to send tens of thousands or even millions of people into [Israel] waving numerous slogans. Why, then, the insistence on [organizing] gatherings on the Jordanian border, particularly considering that the latter was firmly opposed from the outset to the use of its territory as a corridor for protests of this kind coming from across the border? The goals are well-known, and the Iraqi factions whose supporters gathered [on the Jordanian border] know very well that any attempt to cross the border will be met with [a response] from a resolute Jordanian force.
A gathering on the Jordan-Iraq border (Source: Qudspress.com, October 13, 2023)
"This is not the first time that Jordan has been a target [for this kind of action]. Prior to Operation Al-Aqsa Flood [Hamas' name for the October 7 attack], there was a severe crisis between Jordan and the Syrian regime – and behind it the Iranian regime – due to everything that is happening in the areas under the control of the [Syrian] regime, [namely the] unceasing weapon- and drug-smuggling attempts over the Syria-Jordan border, which have continued by every means [and] at a very high rate.
"Although the Arab axis has welcomed the Syrian regime back to the fold of Arab legitimacy… Syria has not taken any step to indicate that it has changed its policy that undermines the stability of its neighbors. And although Jordan and all the Gulf states made the normalizing of their relations with Damascus conditional upon [the Syrian] authorities fighting the scourge of drug-smuggling and weapon-smuggling to the Gulf via Jordan, the smuggling [operations] from Syria, which are sponsored by and carried out in coordination with the Iranians and their proxies in Syria and in Lebanon, have [only] increased – to the extent that Amman is very close to carrying out a military strike inside Syria to destroy the sites where [the contraband is] manufactures and packaged and the smuggling operations are planned.
"The Jordanians have never concealed the fact that they are aware of, and have precise information about, the role played by Iran in the administration of this large system, which is aimed at drowning Jordan in drugs and turning it into an immense corridor for the dissemination of drugs and weapons to the Arabian Gulf and the West Bank. (According to Arab security information, this is part of preparations for a coup by Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad against the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank).
"Another component that increases the threat to the security and stability of Jordan has to do with the repercussions of the war in Gaza, and with elements that have security ties to Iran and Hamas that are mobilizing the public under the slogan of solidarity with Gaza. The call from [Izz Al-Din] Al-Qassam Brigades spokesman Abu Obeida, in the speech he gave on the first day of the temporary ceasefire [with Israel], is another indication of the attempt to toy with Jordan's stability. [Abu Obeida] called on Jordanians to 'escalate every type of popular and public resistance action' and added, 'Oh our brothers in Jordan, you are the nightmare of the occupation, which fears your actions and yearns, acts, and makes every effort to neutralize and isolate you from the [Palestinian] issue.'
"One can understand why Iran targets [Jordan], but it is hard to conceive how Hamas [dares to] address [this call] to the citizens of a sovereign state in this manner, although over 60% of Jordanians are [indeed] of Palestinian origin. Jordan will remain Jordan, and it is now under fierce attack."
 Alarabiya.net, December 18, 2023; raialyoum.com, December 18, 19, 2023; jaf.mil.jo, December 18, 2023, Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), December 19, 2023; horanfree.com, December 19, 2023; twitter.com/SAMSyria0, December 18, 2023; t.me/Shajab, December 18, 2023.
 Al-Nahar (Lebanon), November 29, 2023
 Al-Jazeera.net, November 23, 2023.