Jordan and Israel have a long-standing peace treaty, but that doesn’t make them friends. That was on full display on Friday as Jordan’s King tried to mend ties with nearly every nation in the Middle East, even Iran, but only leveled a one-sided and unfair critique of Israel.
The Jordanian Petra News Agency quoted King Abdullah II as saying he doesn’t perceive any “negative impact” of the Iranian nuclear deal, despite the fact that an Iranian terror suspect was caught in Jordan just weeks ago. The threat that Iranian-funded terror could increase as sanctions come off Iran in the nuclear deal is a risk Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned against time and again. In fact, the same day King Abdullah was shrugging off concerns, Netanyahu was voicing them to Russia’s President.
In comments to President Vladimir Putin, and released by Netanyahu’s office, the Israeli premier was paraphrased as expressing his concern about the deal that “hundreds of billions of dollars that will flow into Iran would serve to arm the terrorist organizations that it operates in the Middle East and around the world.”
That threat was evident in Jordan earlier in July, when a member of an Iranian group was nabbed in Jordan with almost 100 pounds of explosives, according to by Al Rai and republished by Al Arabiya.
Yet despite this fresh reminder that Iran remains a threat in Jordan, King Abdullah was seeking to play nice not only with Iran, but also with Iran’s main ally Syria.
First he emphasized that he has no desire to take territory in Syria, or neighboring Iraq, thereby clarifying his previous comments saying Jordan needed to support tribes living in those countries as just being supportive—not aggressive. Syria is embroiled in a multi-faceted civil war, while Iraq is facing off with ISIS.
Abdullah then hit on Syria’s war by saying he hoped for a “political solution” according to the summary of his comments in the Petra news report. The report conveniently ignored the atrocities committed by the Syrian regime against their own people.
Not wanting to avoid other key Middle Eastern states, he underscored the good ties between Jordan and other Arab nations.
Israel received no such treatment. Instead King Abdullah boasted of his nation’s recall of the Israeli ambassador to Jordan as part of an effort that he claimed somehow forced Israel’s hand in regard to the allowance of hundreds of thousands of Muslims upon the Temple Mount to pray.
Israel occasionally limits access to the Temple Mount by younger Muslims for security reasons, as a number of riots—which can turn violent—have started there. For security reasons, Israel also maintains much stricter limits preventing Jews from worshipping on the Temple Mount than Muslims.
So in the same comments where Israel’s security measures were being critiqued by Abdullah, the Jordanian monarch managed to sound positive about an Iranian nuclear deal that could fuel Iranian terrorism—in Jordan. Peace and friendship are two different things indeed.
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastudpate.com, July 30, 2015)