The Russo-Jordanian Reproach and the Fate of Daraa

Not much has been leaked over the media on His Majesty’s latest meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, a few days back, and on whether the summit addressed key development on the Syrian field, primarily the Syrian Army’s recent victories and the possible fate of Daraa, or just general issues, and whether there were any clarifications on future intentions, regarding vital and complicated regional issues.

However, the Summit itself, the uninterrupted communication between the two countries, and the good relationship between the King and Putin, all indicate a new pattern formulating of Jordanian-Russian relations. It is not an exaggeration to say that ties and the subsequent accords on regional issues have greatly advanced to an unprecedented level over the decades.

So, what enabled this advancement of Russo-Jordanian relations and the outcoming reproach?

Well, it has a lot to do with the King’s view on Russia’s intervention in Syria, which gained massive military momentum by the end of September 2015.

His Majesty, since the very beginning, maintained that Russia’s interference will definitely lead to a serious political resolution in Syria, sooner or later, because it is in Russia’s best interests.

Notably, Jordan too shares Russia’s anxiety over the growth of Islamist movements north of the borders, seeing also that the intervention diluted Iran’s influence in Syria.

To Amman, Moscow’s approach on Syria is obvious, and it does not vary from Jordan’s, especially in regards to the transitional phase with Assad’s regime in office, unconditioned by the regime’s immediate departure, at least until a political resolution is actualised to mediate a gradual transition from the current Presidential system to Parliamentary; including amendments to the Constitution and the political constructs, all the while guaranteeing the Secularity of the Syrian State, in order to prohibit the Islamists’ arrival to power

Needless to say, Russia’s intervention filled in the international vacancy, according to His Majesty’s views, in light of America’s hesitation and inability to construct an active approach on Syria, under Barack Obama’s presidency.

Meanwhile, the new US Administration seems to be more leaning towards cooperating with the Russians and giving them priority in Syria.

Ethically, as well as Humanitarianly, the Russian interference was catastrophic —literally; tragic— to us as spectators and proponents of the Syrian people’s right to freedom and liberation. But for the decision maker in Amman; while not in contraire, Jordan’s strategic interests happen to be tied to power balances in the field, and there is only a limited number of possibilities for how things are expected to pan out in Syria, and all are equally worrying.

First, there is the scenario in which Iran’s proxy dominion, via Hizbullah, is fulfilled, raising sectarian tension to levels unprecedented.

Second, there is the possibility that ISIS’ influence grows; Jordan’s prime public enemy, along with the Fath al-Sham front, formerly known as Nusra.

The third option, of course, would be the continuation of civil conflict and war.

That said, and because there is no fourth scenario wherein the Syrian opposition could establish a political victory that would preface a peaceful political transition, the decision maker in Amman sees Russia’s intervention as key to resolution, not escalation.

Nonetheless, a major issue remains the fate of Daraa, south of Syria.

It is obvious that the Syrian Regime, along with their Iranian allies and Hizbullah, are aiming to retake the south next, once they’re finished with the east Ghouta and the totality of the Damascus outskirt.

Specifically speaking, previous Russo-Jordanian accords were to neutralise the Syrian south —militarily— last year, and keep it unengaged.

As the fight heads south, closing in on our northern borders, how will the Daraa situation unfold? And What are the Russian and Jordanian sides thinking?

Jordan doesn’t mind, and probably prefers to deal with the Syrian Regime on the other side of the border.

Nonetheless, it is indispensable that a concessional solution be advanced, in order to avoid another Aleppo situation in Daraa; only this much closer to Jordan. Would that be at all possible?

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic version, published by AlGhad.

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