The new Levant: Jordan’s golden opportunity

(Photo: Jordan News)
Trump’s political hurricane came at a huge price in the Middle East, old plans were shelved and the new plans were presented yet rejected by many.
اضافة اعلان
Back in 2014 the World Bank issued a 314-page paper under the name “Over the Horizon: The New Levant”. It set out a plan for economic cooperation among Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, and Turkey; an initiative that was accepted by the political powers in the region. Those in power started collaborating with the World Bank to formulate unified policies and execute requested reforms in order to prepare the scene for the New Levant Initiative, where each country can adopt the role set out for it in the document.

This hope of unity in the region was obstructed by the Trump administration in 2016, putting the initiative on hold. Trump didn’t just ignore the US’ role in the region, but he also abided by his son in-law Jared Kushner and Benjamin Netanyahu’s vision. He put forward a counter offer in a 180-page peace plan, the so-called “Deal of the Century”.

Trump brought something unprecedented, yet rejected by the concerned parties, mainly Palestine and Jordan, and tried to give the Arab Gulf (Saudi Arabia and the UAE) a leading role in the region instead of Levant countries. It is worth mentioning that both plans aimed to restructure power in the region and recruit new allies.

Trump’s deal of the century started by giving Israel everything without any concessions, in return for future economic benefits for the Palestinians. It deprived the Palestinians of the right to negotiate on the right of return, Jerusalem, and totally ignored the UN resolutions 242 and 338. It also opened the doors wide for Israel in the Arab Gulf.

Although Trump and his plans stalled the region for four years from executing the World Bank’s vision through the New Levant Initiative, the outcome seems to have turned the tables, not only on Trump but also on Netanyahu and those in the region who rode the wave.

After the arrival of the Biden administration, Jordan’s role came back to what it was: a leading role to reactivate the New Levant Initiative, releasing pressure on the Kingdom. Jordan played the oldest diplomatic game in the book, “time and patience” and it seems that the Jordanian patience has paid off once more.

Taking all of this into consideration, Jordan can now breathe for the next four years of the Biden administration’s White House, which speaks the language of diplomacy. Jordan can continue unifying the reform policies in the region, altering and updating laws and putting Jordan on the map as a business hub — one that provides services, energy, and minerals (as mentioned in the World Bank’s document). The Jordanian government needs to support the King in this journey at every possible level by enhancing communications and relationships.

Furthermore, the government needs to take a deep dive into discussions with members of the “New Levant”, to provide the World Bank with a plan over the next four years to show Jordan’s commitment to the initiative.
It is a golden opportunity for Jordan to force, as quickly as possible, all sorts of reform internally and regionally since now we have the full support of the US, the World Bank, and our partners in the region. The question that remains is: Will we seize the opportunity?

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