Jordan Heads for Split with Israel after Long Military-Intelligence Partnership
Jordan’s King Abdullah is quietly acting to distance himself from Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu – partly as a result of repercussions from the Temple Mount crisis in July.
On July 14, three Israeli Arab terrorists murdered two Israeli border police guarding Temple Mount, a shrine sacred to three world faiths. An outbreak of violent Palestinian riots followed in Jerusalem. On July 23, the turmoil spilled over into the Jordanian capital. There, a security officer at the Israeli embassy shot dead two Jordanians during an altercation after one of them tried to stab him with a screwdriver.
The king, submitting to appeals by the US, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, agreed to help calm the Palestinian turmoil in Jerusalem and allow the embassy to be safely evacuated, provided only that the security officer, who had diplomatic immunity, be put on trial before an Israeli court and given a stiff prison sentence. He also demanded that Israel immediately dismantle the security measures installed for screening would-be terrorists trying to ascend Temple Mount.
At home, Abdullah was faced with angry protests over his consent to allow the Israeli officer to leave.
The Israeli prosecution did indeed launch an investigation against the Israeli security official and its police gave way on security measures at the shrine. However, the king, while saying little in public, is still in a huff and relations are deteriorating.
So far, there has been no effect on the largely covert, though robust, military cooperation and intelligence-sharing that have helped shore up the throne through Jordan’s security and economic crises. They developed over the years from 1994 when Abdullah’s father King Hussein signed a peace treaty with Israel, making Jordan the second Arab nation after Egypt to do so.
More recently, that cooperation provided Israel with access to intelligence on the pro-Iranian militias and Islamist terrorists operating in southern Syria and Iran.
But more than a month after the crisis, the king still refuses to approve the return of the Israeli ambassador and staff to the embassy in Amman until he sees the security guard in the dock. And DEBKA Weekly’s military and intelligence sources see concern in some Israeli and Jordanian military circles that King Abdullah may be dragging the relationship into a deep freeze, if not a cutoff
They point to the following steps:
1. Abdullah has given up his frequent conversations with Netanyahu in search of advice. He confided to American and Arab diplomats that he had lost faith in Netanyahu and believes he is holding back information on Israel’s agenda for negotiations with the Palestinians. The Jordanian government protested sharply – as an “affront to Al Aqsa” – the prime minister’s permission for two Israeli lawmakers to visit Temple Mount on Tuesday, Aug. 29, as an experiment, after the eight-month ban he had imposed on those visits.
2. Abdullah cites understandings for military cooperation in southern Syria, which he said were reached with Netanyahu two years ago and accuses the Israeli leader of letting him down. Abdullah maintains that they had agreed that, when the moment came, the Israeli army would enter Syria and set up a joint Israel-Jordanian security belt in southeastern Syria to defend both their borders against incursion by pro-Iranian Shiite militias and Hizballah. The IDF was assigned with helping the Jordanian army take Daraa on the Syrian-Jordanian border and Jabal Druze in the Sweida region – both vital for Jordan’s security as barriers against pro-Iranian forces.
According to the king, when the critical moment came, Netanyahu reneged on their understandings. Thist happened directly after the Trump-Putin summit in Hamburg on July 7, when the two presidents agreed to set up de-escalation zones in those same sensitive border regions of southern Syria. Abdullah, when he saw Netanyahu backing out of their bargain, jumped aboard the Trump-Putin plan.
3. The king has since ordered his intelligence and military chiefs to set up direct communications with their counterparts in Damascus. DEBKA Weekly’s sources report that, in recent weeks, these bilateral meetings have become more frequent.
Amman and Damascus have made their first item of business the opening of Syria’s border crossings with Jordan and Iraq. This would make it possible to re-acivate the pre-war overland bridge from Turkey to the Gulf emirates, a route which offered the Hashemite Kingdom an important source of income before 2011.
Abdullah is also lobbying Syrian President Bashar Assad to guarantee the distancing of Iranian and Hizballah from the Jordanian border, in lieu of his understanding with Israel.
4. In a direct jab at Israel’s economic interests, Abdullah has asked Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan to redirect Ankara’s exports of cement, iron and other construction materials to the Gulf through Syria and Jordan and bypass the Israeli port of Haifa. During the Syrian war, Ankara shipped its merchandize to Haifa, where it was loaded on trucks and ferried by night to Jordan and on to Saudi Arabia.
2 thoughts on “Jordan Heads for Split with Israel after Long Military-Intelligence Partnership”
Abdullah the King of Jordan AKA Palestine. Netanyahu should send Abdullah a email telling him where he can go… Israel should just annex Judea and Samaria like they were told to do back in 1967 after the 6 day war when they annexed all of Jerusalem and declared it the Capital of Israel..
Totally insignificant news. Who needs this little king? Jordan should collapse. This is, in the long run, in our interests. It is obvious to anyone with common sense except experts
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