During the past year, His Majesty King Abdullah met with US President Joe Biden twice, confirming the close friendship and enduring partnership between the US and Jordan. In fact, a recent statement from the White House said: “Jordan is a critical force for stability in the Middle East and strategic partner and ally of the United States.”
There is currently high tension in the West Bank, and Jordan’s role in the Holy City is under serious threat. The King’s most recent visit may garner American support to maintain Jordan’s historical role.
Positive Jordanian-US relations are critical to guaranteeing Jordan’s active role in the region and protecting its interests. However, Jordan should also pay extra attention to its domestic challenges, like increasing economic hardship, post-pandemic problems, social frustration, and kick start essential development projects in various areas of the country.
Jordan needs a clear plan for economic development involving strategic alliances that can help it build key projects in the fields of transportation, energy, and agriculture.
And while economic hardship is a serious issue, delicate regional dynamics and the potential implications on Jordan’s internal stability must be the priority for Jordan’s strategic thinking.
Jordan’s security challenges are not limited to the situation in the Palestinian territories, but are much broader, as deteriorating economic circumstances test the region as a whole. The borders with Syria and Iraq are proving increasingly challenging, for example.
Jordan needs to cope with dynamic regional changes but also manage internal difficulties; achieving this balance will require new ways of developing and implementing policies, new communication strategies, more efficient ways of policy implementation, and competent politicians.
Such new approach will convince people that serious change is taking place, and can restore credibility and citizens’ trust; concretely, it should transform the economy, boosting local industries, increasing productivity, and food security.
The support that Jordan has from its allies, and in particular the US, can help it play a vital role in the region. But to play this role and protect Jordanian interests, it is imperative to concentrate on solving domestic challenges. Moreover, it is important to ensure that the state is portrayed as the protector of the people’s rights and liberties.
Dr. Amer Al Sabaileh