January 26, 2017 – The Mideastwire Blog
Translated in today’s Daily Briefing by our(for a free trial email info@ )
On January 25, the Qatari-owned Al-Quds al-Arabi daily carried the following report by its Amman Office Chief Bassam Bdareen: “The Jordanian political compass is about to change, though slowly, amid increasing talk in the closed decision-making rooms surrounding the need to alleviate the tone towards Iran, and prepare to deal with it as a “realistic” option. On the other hand, it was decided that King Abdullah II should head to Moscow to meet with its President Vladimir Putin, at a time when Kremlin announced that the bilateral summit will discuss the “anti-terrorism” plans. So, there was no need for Amman to wait for President Donald Trump’s inclinations to start seeking its interests in Moscow, seeing how Egyptian President Abdul Fattah es-Sisi is doing it, while Walid Fares, the advisor close to Trump’s administration, called on the Jordanians to pay attention, because from now on, all the regional files will be discussed in light of the American assignment to Russia.
“Something unannounced is happening behind the scenes in this regard, enhancing the conviction that talking to Moscow regarding any Jordanian file related to Syria would be the productive path to follow… As for the summit meeting between Abdullah II and Putin, it might end with the activation of the Russian security coordination centre against terrorism in Amman. And at this level exclusively, Amman is telling all the sides that the famous MOC 1 base, which was like an operations room for the support of the Syrian opposition, is closed, no longer exists, and is out of service, while the activities of its technical and political cells today are limited to the fighting of terrorism. Therefore, in light of the new equations, there is nothing preventing Moscow from truly considering the establishment of a Russian version of MOC 2, whose task would be limited to deterring the Islamic State organization, seeing how An-Nusra Front’s card is contained on the Jordanian and Israeli levels…
“In the meantime, fresh information acquired by Al-Quds al-Arabi revealed that the campaign of arrests which recently targeted 19 activists in the context of what was dubbed the “death or reform” meeting had regional roots, and followed the assessment of the Karak Castle terrorist operation, which was considered to be a regional message by a specific party. For its part, Moscow seems open to the discussion of details that are worrying Amman, and the presentation of guarantees regarding some basic Jordanian conditions, namely the containment of the movement of militias affiliated with Hezbollah, the Iraqi An-Najba’ Movement and the Revolutionary Guard around and inside Daraa, and the launching of actual discussions surrounding the recovery of the official crossing.
“What is pushing Jordan to take studied and slow steps in diversifying its contacts is its command’s wish to avoid any surprises that could thwart or downplay the importance of the Arab summit, which will be hosted by Amman at the end of March… This political diversification action, which former Prime Minister Samir Rifai had proposed through Al-Quds al-Arabi earlier, was apparently prompted by two noticeable and important developments, i.e. the wide retreat of the Saudi and American economic aid, and the public rivalry proclaimed against the Jordanian regime by the scenarios of the Israeli far-right…”