Amer Al Sabaileh
IN view of the increasing tensions and complexity in the region, Jordan should focus on strong bilateral relations with Syria and Iraq, making it a national security priority.
There is no doubt that regional politics are heating up even more, and Jordan’s ties with the Gulf countries, especially Saudi Arabia, have changed, particularly regarding economic support and aid.
The evolving Saudi role in the region may have a negative impact on Jordan, as this might drive to a regional settlement and normalisation of relations with Israel, which might marginalise any Jordanian role in the region.
While Jordan’s relations with the US remain strong, American priorities have shifted dramatically and are built on strategic and economic common interests.
The deterioration of relations between Israel and Jordan puts more pressure on Amman and could also lead to negative outcomes, not least concerning developments in Palestine.
In this environment, Jordan must change the way it manages its political strategy, communicates and engages in the region.
Seeking better relations with Damascus and Baghdad is no longer a luxury, it is a measure that has to be taken if Jordan is to influence the manner in which crises are addressed in order to protect its economic stability and security.
Jordan needs to take another look at how it engages in regional politics and implement a new strategy based on a clear objective.
For that, it needs to change its current mentality and protagonists that led to the deterioration of relations with neighbouring countries, particularly Iraq and Syria; many of these protagonists openly declared anti-Syrian and Iraqi positions.
Adopting the same approach and using the tools is unlikely to be effective in a new phase characterised by common strategic interests with our neighbours.
It is a huge challenge for Jordan; to rise up to it, it needs a clear vision, the right tools and a high level of political flexibility.
It is time to change faces in Jordan, time for new strategic minds to take part in the decision-making process. We must make known to our neighbours that we are undertaking this change and are looking to establish and build strong relations with them and the region.