Jordan and the US after the Afghan exit

Jawad Anani
Jawad Anani is an economist and has held several ministerial posts, including former deputy prime minister and former chief of the Royal Court.
Jordan and the US are strategic partners. King Abdullah’s meeting with President Joseph Biden was testimony to that fact. Their July 20, 2021, meeting cemented that relation; the US extended more aid to Jordan, has assigned Jordan a bigger regional role and the two countries’ military and intelligence cooperation was intensified and widened.اضافة اعلان

However, if a change in the US congressional structure shifts in favor of the Republican party, this strategic cooperation could be put to test. 
It must also be emphasized that the US foreign policy makers, the Pentagon and the security organizations value Jordan’s importance when it comes to their interests in the region. 

A US soldier aboard a Chinook helicopter over Kabul, Afghanistan, on Sunday, May 2, 2021. (Photo: AFP)

Not only has Jordan escaped unscathed the perils of insecurity since 2011, it has also deftly took on the added burdens of refugees and domestic uproar over certain decisions to cooperate with Israel, and withstood the acid test of COVID-19 with flying colors.

Jordan’s economic challenges are being contained with the help of the US and others, but Jordan is shouldering a huge responsibility.

Jordan has shown extreme diplomacy in dealing with Gaza, the occupied West Bank, Syria and Iraq, maintained working relations with the Gulf states, and is instrumental in fighting terrorism and in efforts to see parties in conflict reconcile in Yemen, Libya and Lebanon.

The exit of US troops from Afghanistan has helped bolster Jordan’s position with the US. It may be said that the US intends to exit the Middle East, but I disagree.

There is a huge difference between repositioning and leaving. The US, I believe, is repositioning in the hope that the Middle East will witness a period of calm that will enable the US to focus on its foreign policy   priority, namely China.

It is in the interest of the world community to see the US and China come to an agreement over trade, currency, space and environment, and to see the brewing tensions in the Pacific arena cool down.

With dependable allies like Jordan, the US can afford to see the regional partners in this part of the world take more direct initiatives to resolve their disputes and rivalries. 

Leaving Afghanistan was inevitable. Former president Donald Trump shrunk US military personnel there from 12,000 to 2,500. Yet, the weighted importance of withdrawing the last 2,500 troops was much greater. The messy withdrawal was criticized, but it had to happen. The cost of denying Taliban the opportunity to take over Afghanistan would have been very hefty and most likely fail.

Jordan proved its worth to the US, and showed its capability to help solve the Palestinian crisis.

Jordan is important to solving this longstanding problem. The US should make the current Israeli government respect Palestinians’ rights for the Israelis not to lose theirs.

Jawad Anani is an economist and has held several ministerial posts, including former deputy prime minister and former chief of the Royal Court.

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