07/10/2021, 12.00
ISRAEL - JORDAN
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Israel (and the United States) helping Jordan to preserve stability in the Middle East

King Abdullah and Israel’s new Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, met secretly last week. Israel will boost water supplies by 50 million cubic metres this year. The Jordanian king is set to travel to Washington to be the first Mideast leader to visit the White House. Some believe the Muslim Brotherhood played a role in last April’s attempted coup in Amman.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) – Israel and the United States are currently trying to boost their ties with Jordan’s King Abdallah in order to shore up his leadership, fearing that a fall of the Hashemite monarchy might have a negative impact and cause instability in the Middle East region.

According to the latest news, King Abdullah and Israel’s new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met secretly in Amman last week to talk, among other things, about the kingdom’s water shortages, with an historic deal to increase water supplies, tensions within the royal family, and the economic crisis.

On Tuesday, the US administration announced that the Jordanian monarch would travel to the United States later this month, the first Mideast leader to visit the White House since Democrat Joe Biden took office in January.

In announcing the visit, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki stressed Jordan’s role as “a key security partner”, noting that the visit will “showcase Jordan’s leadership role in promoting peace and stability in the region.”

On Thursday, Israel accepted Jordan’s request to raise water supplies to counter the kingdom’s water crisis.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and his Jordanian counterpart Ayman Safadi also met to discuss the issue.

Under the deal, Israel will supply Jordan with an additional 50 million cubic metres of water in 2021.

Yesterday, it was also confirmed that Prime Minister Bennett and King Abdullah met last week at the crown palace in Ammann, the first summit between the two countries’ leaders in three years.

The Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamic State (IS) group are using Jordan’s water crisis as a pretext to weaken King Abdullah. However, the drought is not the only danger to the kingdom.

Jordan’s poor economy and high unemployment (at 25 per cent at the end of 2020), both aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the ruthless political repression, have also undermined the country’s stability.

Despite the lack of evidence, some believe that members of the Muslim Brotherhood were involved in last April’s coup attempt by King Abdullah's half-brother, Prince Hamzah.

For its allies, Jordan is too important to be left to its fate and Bennett came to help Israel’s neighbour with much needed resources.

In addition to water, Israelis and Jordanians are finalising trade agreements to strengthen cooperation and support the Palestinian people, allowing for greater trade between Jordan and the West Bank.

Up to now, apart from some isolated incidents, Jerusalem and Amman have always had good relations, partly because Jordan, as custodian of Muslim and Christian holy places, has always contributed to regional peace, acting as a mediator between Islam and the rest of the world.

According to some experts, Biden and Bennett are helping Jordan in order to maintain a reliable buffer against hostile forces in the east, first Iraq and more recently Iran.

A weak regime in Amman could lead to a power vacuum and encourage jihadi infiltrations along the border.

This also explains why the coup attempt in April was met with a harsh crackdown, including the arrest of the king’s half-brother.

Asked by The Times of Israel, John Hannah, a senior fellow at the Jewish Institute for National Security of America, noted that the family saga raised more than one concern in Washington and Jerusalem.

“Jordan is such an important piece of the puzzle in securing our interests and achieving some level of stability and security in the region,” Hannah said.

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