U.S.-Jordan Defense Pact Good for Israel, Stability in Mideast

eHezi Governance, History, Israel, Jordan, Middle East, People, Political Analysis 3 Comments

JNS (Jewish News Syndicate) Writer Ariel Ben Solomon.

AMMAN, JORDAN / JNS — March 26, 2021  — “The new agreement reflects Jordan’s increasing importance as a logistical and operative center in anticipation of further U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq and Syria at a time when the need for a U.S. military presence increases rather than decreases,” said Hillel Frisch. 

The Jordanian government publicly acknowledged a new defense agreement with the United States this week that allows free entry for American forces, boosting Israel’s unstable eastern neighbor and providing a base from which these forces can potentially act in Syria, Iraq and Iran.

The deal was signed in January and approved by the Jordanian government last month after bypassing parliament, which drew criticism.

His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan at SOFEX conference opening in Amman. Credit: Ahmad A Atwah/Shutterstock.

According to an Agence France Press (AFP) report, the agreement allows the United States to move in forces, aircraft and vehicles freely in the country. Quoting the local media website, Ammon, the deal will allow U.S. forces to carry and transport weapons in Jordan.

“The new agreement reflects Jordan’s increasing importance as a logistical and operative center in anticipation of further U.S. troop withdrawals from Iraq and Syria at a time when the need for a U.S. military presence increases rather than decreases,” Hillel Frisch, Middle East expert and a professor at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Israel, told the Jewish News Syndicate (JNS).

“Jordan has long been a vital United States ally and since 2014 has been the third-highest beneficiary of United States military aid in the region behind Israel and Egypt,” he said.

He added that “neither the Iranian nor the ISIS threat is going to disappear anytime soon.”

Jordan is part of status quo Arab powers that oppose revolutionary Islamist movements and governments that seek to upend their regimes. Turkey, Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS are the main threats to Jordan and like-minded states such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

These moderate Arab states cooperate among themselves and seek the support of the United States and even Israel as a hedge against regional enemies.

In the latest example, on Wednesday, Egypt and Jordan signed seven cooperative agreements in fields such as technology, defense and water resources.

Keeping radical groups in check regionwide

Efraim Inbar, president of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies, said, “If the defense agreement strengthens the Jordanian regime against attempts to destabilize it by Iran and other radicals, it is good for Israel.”

However, he continued, “I doubt whether we will see a serious American military presence in Jordan, as the U.S. still wants to disengage from the Middle East.”

Israel, which has a peace treaty with Jordan, sees it as a significant security wall against radical forces in Syria, Iraq and Iran. Geographically, Jordan separates Israel from Iran-dominated Iraq and Iran.

Jordan’s stability also concerns Jerusalem as there is a sizable Islamist opposition, mainly from the Muslim Brotherhood, and public opinion is heavily anti-Israel. King Abdullah’s government keeps a lid on radicals that could come to power if the regime would fall. A similar worry is Egypt, whose strongman, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, keeps the Muslim Brotherhood and other radical groups in check.

Then there is the Palestinian issue, which can inflame a Jordanian population that is estimated to be 60 percent of Palestinian origin.

The country continues to struggle economically; earlier this month, Jordanian Prime Minister Bisher al-Khasawneh reshuffled his cabinet. He appointed six new ministers under the aegis of King Abdullah, who assigned him to restore order after continuous failures by a series of governments to improve its citizens’ lives, reported Reuters.

The economy contracted 3 percent last year primarily because of the coronavirus pandemic and resulting economic losses due to a lack of tourism.

From America’s perspective, Jordan provides its military with a flexible base. It can rotate its forces and launch cross-border operations against terrorists and other destabilizing forces in neighboring nations. Additionally, an estimated $425 million in annual U.S. military aid boosts Jordan and strengthens their alliance.

From Israel’s perspective, the new pact is a sign of continued U.S. military presence and action in the region against familiar foes, despite what appears to be a U.S. shift towards more isolationist policies and a drawdown of forces in both Iraq and Syria.

eHeziU.S.-Jordan Defense Pact Good for Israel, Stability in Mideast

Comments 3

  1. I’m a proud Jordanian from Yonkers
    I’ve noticed over the past few years there has been tremendous involvement with local politics.
    Some in our community have used us for personal gain. When I see corrupt organizations like MPAC who continue to harass people for money under the auspices of Mediterranean Community.
    There is not one legitimate member of our community who is involved in MPAC. It’s a personal fund for the khader family. I never imagined someone could be so greedy for money and use his community. It’s corrupt organizations like MPAC who hurt good honest Arab Americans. I really hope we get change in our community. I plan on voting against khader , these solicitations and shakedowns will go away.

  2. It’s great to read Middle East political analysis from sources that actually understand the region. Jordan under the current king and his father have been benevolent Heshemite monarchies that have been very protective of their Christian minority probably because they both married Christian Lebanese Arabs.Since it’s split from British Trans Jordan’s Jewish quarter now Israel it’s been on the just and pragmatic side of history for the most part.
    Benjamin Netanyahu said it best when he said “In the Middle East, the enemy of my enemy is still my enemy!” Sunni Jordan, Egypt and the Gulf Arab states understand that Israel is their only real protection against the Iranian Persian Shiite Armageddon theology. They also understand that the United States is their only real protection against Sunni Turkey who like Russia is looking toward the East and the past glory of the Ottoman Empire and USSR. Eventually those two super powers will have to clash. Having said this the only two competent military powers in the Middle East are the Israelis because they are brave and sophisticated and the Turks because they are ruthless and sophisticated.

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