Pundits react to King’s warning about void being filled by Iran

Russian forces will not leave Syria soon, experts say

NY DC (544)
His Majesty King Abdullah speaks during an interview with H.R. McMaster in Washington, DC, for the Battlegrounds series by Stanford University’s Hoover Institution (Photo: Royal Court)
AMMAN – Local and regional pundits reacted to His Majesty King Abdullah’s warning, in an interview on Wednesday at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, that Iran and its proxies will be filling a vacuum left by Russia in southern Syria, adding that this could lead to issues along Jordan’s borders.اضافة اعلان

Political experts interviewed by Jordan News said that the King’s statements indicate both Jordan’s concern with what was happening at its northern border and its readiness to deal with any event that may occur in the near or distant future, ruling out at the same time the complete withdrawal of Russian forces from Syria anytime soon.

Political analyst Labib Kamhawi told Jordan News that he ruled out a withdrawal of the Russian forces from Syria, noting that “talk about the weakness of the Russian forces is inaccurate”.

“Thinking about this issue stems from the hopes and dreams of some that Russia will exit the region,” he said, stressing that the Russian position “is very strong despite all these gossips and rumors”.

Jamal Al-Shalabi, political analyst and a professor of political science, told Jordan News that the King wanted to send “national and international messages”.

At national level, for example, the message is “that we are ready for all developments and transformations that may occur”, he said, adding that “Jordan was able to confront the penetration of terrorists into the Kingdom, along with that of drug dealers”.

Jordan, he said, “is a transit point en route to many Arab countries, which poses some threat”.

He stressed that the King is aware of what is happening in the world and wishes to express his concerns over possible shifts in Syria that could change the geopolitical realities in the entire region.

“Some of these changes could have dire consequences on the Jordanian situation,” he said.

“Jordan is trying to create a balance in its international relations; the upsurge in Russian-Jordanian relations was curbed by the Russian-Ukrainian crisis,” Shalabi said.

When Russia intervened in the Syrian crisis in 2015, in support of the regime, Jordan welcomed the Russian intervention, which was seen as curbing Iranian expansion.

“It is not possible to imagine Russia’s exit from the region,” he said, adding that “there may be a redistribution of forces, but I completely rule out that there will be a complete exit.”

Political analyst Amer Al-Sabaileh told Jordan News that “for Jordan, the Syrian crisis differs from the Iraq crisis, since there is a great overlap between Syria and Jordan in the economic, social, and geographical fields”.

“Jordan cares not to have hostile organizations close to its northern border,” he said, adding that “Jordan is ready for all scenarios, especially since the situation is worrying”.

Sabaileh stressed that “the Russian forces in Syria will not be leaving anytime soon, but may be forced to change their priorities and redeploy in parts of Syria, and this is what worries Jordan”.

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