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Jordan between Two Summits - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The Jordanian capital turned into a center of regional activity, starting with the Saudi-Jordanian summit on Monday after the arrival of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz to Amman, which will be followed by the Arab League Summit that will be held on Wednesday in the Dead Sea area.

These are two important political events linked to the complicated and dangerous regional issues.

If you ask Jordan’s neighbors about their opinion on this country, the answer will mostly be the same: Jordan is the most capable country in tolerating crises and dealing with them.

Since the Palestinian refugee crisis, the fall of the West Bank, Iraq’s multiple wars and the disasters of the Arab Spring revolutions, Jordan had always been a country capable of handling upheaval.

The Hashemite Kingdom has had an alliance with Saudi Arabia for a long time now. For Saudi Arabia, Jordan has been a key regional ally since the 1960s, ever since the first war of Yemen. It has carried out significant roles while confronting dangerous crises in Iraq and Syria. Both kingdoms have carefully dealt with crises and addressed them in a realistic and calm manner.

The new aspect of relations between Riyadh and Amman is the efforts to establish a formula for long-term economic cooperation, which is not governed by support and aid.

Politically, Saudi Arabia has been very active, for months now, in weaving a network of regional and international relations. It included King Salman’s tour of the Far East where he visited Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan and China.

After coordinating Saudi and Jordanian positions, the Arab League annual summit will be held amid difficult circumstances with four major regional wars raging in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya.

Reports that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad may attend the conference have been dismissed as rumors.

All sides have admitted however that they are surprised that he has been capable of remaining in power after six years of a massive revolution against his regime. Assad’s return to the Arab fold may be possible if he can get rid of his Iranian ally on the ground and not just by making pledges for the future.

Yet, this is unlikely because his forces are weak and Iranians control important aspects of the Syrian state through claims that they are supporting it.

At the same time, everyone is shocked by the Syrian rebels’ ability to go on with their war against Assad despite the siege imposed on them, the millions of deaths and displaced, and the failure of regional and international powers in supporting them.

In Syria, the regime and opposition both exist and no one expects a magical solution from the Russian negotiator or UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura, whose attendance of the Dead Sea Arab League Summit will be his last major appearance.

Iran must be at the top of the agenda of the Arab leaders’ discussions. Tehran is close to the leaders, breathing the same air, and they can almost feel it with its strong military presence in neighboring Iraq and Syria.

There is a growing feeling at the Arab League that Iran is a threat to everyone, not just to Gulf countries, as it was thought in the past.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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