Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Jordan, Egypt and the gas crisis - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Over the past few weeks, Egypt has ceased pumping gas to Jordan without providing any real or convincing justifications for this, and despite the binding agreements signed between Cairo and Amman in this regard. Whilst within the past 48 hours, Egyptian sources announced that Egypt would resume pumping gas to Jordan. So why did Egypt stop pumping gas to Jordan in the first place?

What is strange is that there are no logical or legal or indeed political reasons for Egypt’s actions. There is no justification to suspending a legal agreement based on political differences – if this should be the case – particularly as Egyptian gas stopped being pumped to the Kingdom of Jordan at the same time that it continued being pumped to Israel. Despite the clamour surrounding this case, from issues regarding tariff rates to other accusations made against symbols of the former Mubarak regime, gas continued to be exported to Israel, and we did not hear any problems in this regard. So, how can gas exports be stopped to Jordan based on such flimsy pretexts, particularly as there are no security justifications for this, such as terrorists targeting gas pipelines and so on?

The strangeness surrounding this case does not stop here, for according to information I heard from sources that are well informed about this particular issue, some Muslim Brotherhood affiliates in Jordan offered to mediate between Amman and Cairo over Egypt resuming to export gas to Jordan. This is something in itself that can be considered a dangerous indicator regarding the forthcoming period in terms of relations between Arab states, in addition to a warning bell regarding the manner in which the Brotherhood is managing its sphere of influence in the region. This is also something that strengthens the grave doubts over the Muslim Brotherhood’s intentions in the region. The targeting of the Kingdom of Jordan at this particular time by using a sensitive issue such as gas is a serious issue and a worrisome indicator, patricianly as there are those in Jordon who are seeking to provoke a crisis to incite the Jordanian street to pull the country as a whole into the so-called Arab Spring camp, under any circumstances, and for whatever reasons, even if they are feeble. It is no secret that those most keen to do this are the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan. There can be no doubt that Egypt halting its gas supply to Jordan is considered helpful towards provoking an internal Jordanian crisis, particularly in terms of the repercussions this has on Jordanian citizens. Egypt stopping its gas imports to Jordan is akin to adding fuel to the fire, and this is very dangerous and concerning, particularly if we take into account the threat represented by the al-Assad regime towards Jordan, which is preoccupied with Syrian refugees, not to mention al-Assad security forces daily violations of Jordanian territory.

It is true that the Egyptian leadership, ever since President Mursi was elected, has sought to reassure Arab states, particularly the Gulf States, sending reassuring messages to them that Cairo will not seek to export the Brotherhood ideology. Yet politics is not just talk, but this is actions and maintaining one’s interests. Therefore Egypt cutting off gas to Jordan is a concerning message to everyone, especially the Gulf states that are keen on Jordan’s security and stability based on a number of real and strategic reasons. The questions that must be asked here is: Why is Amman’s security being threatened? Why are all those who are keen on protecting the security of the Kingdom of Jordan being provoked?