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September 28 2021 3:05 PM ˚

The Royal visit to Washington: The most significant in decades

Khalid Dalal (Photo: Jordan News)
Khalid Dalal (Photo: Jordan News)
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His Majesty King Abdullah’s ongoing visit to Washington is historic, and might be the most significant one in decades to the White House, for obvious reasons.اضافة اعلان

This is His Majesty's first visit to the most influential capital in the world in the post-Trump era, after the former administration's policies brought about a state of chaos and deepened instability to the region, which narrowly escaped the nonsensical Trump-sponsored so-called Deal of the Century. Jordan, in particular, was placed under a lot of pressure by the US leadership at the time, which harassed Amman for its support of Palestinian legitimate rights and adherence to its historical duty as the custodian of the holy sites in Jerusalem.

The King's visit to the US also comes while the world is recovering from COVID-19 and the ensuing strained economies at the global level. Jordan was no exception, of course, and any economic assistance from the vital ally would make a big difference under these circumstances.

It also marks the first visit after the "sedition" — the plot designed to destabilize Jordan — was nipped in the bud. The King received unquestionably sincere support from President Joe Biden then, whose historic message to His Majesty was: "You have a friend in America. Stay strong." In fact, Jordan has come out stronger from the short-lived episode, exhibiting a rare unique relationship between the people and their leadership.

In Washington, His Majesty will surely be talking on behalf of Arab nations on issues that are relevant to every Arab, foremost of which is the Palestinian cause, as indicated by his meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas just before leaving for the US.

The July 19 talks with Biden also come after the tripartite summit in Baghdad, which brought together King Abdullah and the Egyptian and Iraqi leaders. The meeting, the subsequent communique, and follow-up work are hoped to trigger a genuine Arab economic alliance, which is supposed to be good news to the US. A look at the list of mega projects the partners plan to execute in the future opens a wider window for cooperation with US companies, the expertise of which can be utilized for realizing the plans.

A case in point within the context of this bloc is that it provides Iraq with an opportunity to break free from the chains of Iranian influence, as seen by observers and even Iraqi officials. This is naturally something Washington encourages, especially since the presidential elections in Iran brought to office a hardline president, Ebrahim Raisi.

Maybe it is too optimistic, but a Palestinian-Israeli peace deal would definitely add more partners to the emerging economic bloc, including Israel and a newly born sovereign Palestinian state, prompting the region into an age of cooperation, prosperity and progress; the same future promised by the Arab Peace Initiative, provided that Israel listens to the voice of reason and wisdom.

In fact, Jordan seems more hopeful about a possible peace with the fall of former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu after 12 years in office, who, all this time, posed a real hindrance to peace and trust-building efforts. The two-state solution has a real chance now, especially as Biden supports this formula and has shifted his foreign policy priorities to re-focus on the Middle East.

Speaking of the Middle East, a region that has not seen stability and proper peace in decades, the fact that His Majesty the King is the first leader from this part of the world to meet the newcomer to the White House signifies the importance of the King's role and his influence on the future of the region. Historically, the US has always been eager to listen to the leaders of Jordan when it comes to Middle East developments, and it takes their views as an important input in relevant policy-making.

In this context, Jordan and the US share concerns about the future of Syria. Being a neighbor of the war-torn country and a host of hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees, the Kingdom will have a key role in any solution to this issue, and Washington knows it can rely on Jordan in this regard.

Jordan is re-emerging as a key and strong player in regional geopolitics and the outcome of His Majesty's visit to the White House and Capitol Hill will prove that. What Amman needs to do in light of this is to capitalize on the expected gains to serve its national interests, and help make the desirable change in a region so thirsty to lead a normal life like the rest of the world.

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