Jordan is in the heart of a tectonic region that faces increased commotion and mayhem. Syrian conflict to the north, which resulted in the influx of more than one million Syrians to Jordan, seeking shelter and security, adding further burdens to its economic predicament and security issues. Moreover, the war in Syria has enthused Islamist fanatics, who receive political, media, financial, ideological, and social backing from some countries and individuals, to act against the Syrian regime from Jordan in the beginning of the Syrian war. The second issue that Jordan has been facing for many years is insecurity in Iraq due to al-Qaeda and Daesh threats, conducive to border closure. The third is the Palestinian-Israeli conflict which has put Jordan between the anvil and the hammer. The situation has become more complex with American administration to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This will add salt to the Jordanian injury, as Jordan considers any unilateral act without taking the guardianship of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan on the Holy Sites in Jerusalem as a coup.
King Abdullah II has been the first to use the term Shiite Crescent in 2004 in an interview with Washington Post during his visit to the US in December that year. He expressed concern that a pro-Iranian Iraqi government would come to power in Baghdad, paving the way for Iran to rule the region from Tehran to Beirut through Baghdad and Damascus, forming military and political pressure on Jordan.
The king also predicted this crescent 14 years ago and only he knows the risks that the Middle East region would undergo in the coming era, not only as a military officer, but as an incumbent politician. As Jordanians believe now the era is on the verge of a tectonic shift that precedes the real storm which would not only affect Jordan, the Levant, Iraq, Iran and the Gulf but will also have deteriorating ramifications on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) states.
The American pullout of the nuclear deal with Iran, the American embassy transfer and the confusing US policies towards a number of MENA conflicts indicate that the storm is coming to the MENA, paving the way for internationalizing Jerusalem file and setting up an international coalition against Iran and its militias.
The story with King Abdullah started when he was the first Arab leader to be invited to visit Washington, shortly after President Trump’s inauguration. The king was very successful to make a point when he warned Trump that any decisions regarding the final status of Jerusalem should be taken in accordance with a two state solution and should not be determined before a final status of the holy city.
Though Jordan witnessed some terrorist and security loopholes in the past two years, the kingdom has been deemed secured compared to many other countries neighboring Jordan such as Syria and Iraq.
Jordan has so far tackled various waves of turmoil that the Middle East has engulfed since December 2010. However, in 2018, the country has to counter many challenges emerging from various sources of threats that would destabilize Jordan as a moderate state with an open-minded leadership. It is the first time in the country’s history that not only the king but also the people face a mishmash of external and internal challenges that affect the social fabric and solidarity of the Jordanian community. Moreover, spillovers of any war in southern Syria on Jordan will be catastrophic. Many politicians believe that the “hot zone” is between Jordan, Syria, and Israel where military entanglement is highly potential that would lead to influx of many Syrian refugees to the borders, causing chaos and further pressure on Jordan’s scarce resources and poses high threats on its security apparatuses.
In Jordan, there is a high sense of frustration amongst the youth who seek to improve their country but unfortunately they have not been given any chance with most of them unemployed. As the youth consists 70 per cent of the country’s population, they can be an easy target due to the absence of real educational and orientation systems that warn them of the real dangers their country is facing if external influencers start to tamper in the Jordanian community. This would aggravate as there is a very sluggish dawdling political reform in Jordan which has turned into a snowball in the recent few years that have prompted many Jordanians to take to the streets in mass rallies and sit-ins.
A quick poll amongst Jordanians would reveal that Jordan is the only country that has not suffered an Arab Spring the way other countries have; yet, that is not enough for a country where billionaires are numerous in a poor country, who dictate on the government what should be done rather than what the people really need. Jordanians are loyal to their leadership; however, they started to lose confidence in the deep state which runs the country that would potentially trigger a popular outrage once the Syrian issue is over as the closure of Jordanian borders with Syria has worsened the economic conditions in the kingdom where hundreds of thousands of people have lost their sources of living from commercial activities with Syria.
Instability of Jordan would be ignited through various means: isolationism policy of the Islamist movements, marginalisation of West Bankers and defection, alienation and disaffection of East Bankers. Each of these is highly risky to the country which is undergoing tectonic economic hardships that would threaten the country’s security and stability in the coming period.
External powers are playing with Jordanian mosaic, trying to suppress them, mainly East Bankers, to act against the regime in a form of Harak similar to that of 2011 just to streamline the “Century Deal” which was proposed by the Americans and approved by the Israelis and blessed by some Arabs at the expense of Jordanian and Palestinians.
As a youth who represents a large segment of people, the only solution to Jordan’s immunity is to address the needs of the poor who have more than doubled in the past few years with the almost depletion of the Middle Class, and estrangement of those who work for their country for the sake of those who are politically and financially corrupt as well as those nouveau riche. Jordanians fear marginalisation and indifference to their grievances that would drive them to believe that they are given an isolationist smudge which would conjoin them around a party or a movement to address their rights.
The king of Jordan is facing internal and external challenges that are detrimental to the stability of the country. Such challenges are the hardest since the kingdom was established. The difference between old days and now is that in the past Jordanians were advocating the monarchy and the regime and now they feel isolated and targeted as the government does not address their grievances. Every day that passes without solving their issues, Jordanians lose more confidence in the regime and they become less supportive to its strategies. Will the king be able to get rid of the deep state members who tamper with the Jordanian community and their future? He can, but that depends not only on internal support but also on an international cover.