mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
Middle East Muddle
Jordanians Preparing to Enter Syria?

Jordan is getting ready to set up a buffer zone in war-torn Syria to prevent jihadi conquest of the area along its border—and may perhaps do more. The Financial Times reports:

The main aim of the operation will be to create a safe area on Jordan’s border, stretching across the southern Syrian provinces of Deraa and Suwayda, and including the city of Deraa, where the Syrian uprising began in 2011, according to people familiar with the plans. […]
People familiar with the situation say that Jordan is also considering a militarised zone that will segregate the buffer area from Syrian regime forces to the North. It will be manned by existing fighters in the anti-Assad rebel southern brigades, reinforced with a brigade of troops currently being trained in Jordan. The Jordanian military — one of the most capable in the Middle East — will provide support.

The plans are backed by key members of the international coalition against Isis, who are expected to provide behind-the-lines military support and advice but it remains unclear whether Washington will sanction the move: many in the Obama administration are hesitant about backing a ground operation in Syria.

Meanwhile, Turkey is also reportedly considering its own buffer zone in Syria along its shared border—though that plan seems less about keeping away the jihadis than keeping the Kurds down. As of Monday, the U.S. Department of State says it sees no proof that either Jordan or Turkey is in the process of setting up such zones of control.

As Assad collapses and ISIS gathers strength, however, more and more countries are being sucked into the Syrian war. And though Washington may be “reluctant” to get involved, others aren’t—for “key members of the international coalition” willing to supply military backup, read: Saudi Arabia. With the Saudis pouring billions into arming Lebanon, bombing Houthis in Yemen, and now, perhaps, helping to reinforce the Jordanian border, they’re taking the lead in the Middle East while Washington romances Tehran on nukes. Whatever emerges from the battles in Yemen, Syria, and Iraq, the region’s new status quo won’t be stamped “made in the U.S.”—for better or for worse.

Features Icon
Features
show comments
  • George Von Herman

    I can’t wait for the “occupied territory” resolutions coming up.

  • rheddles

    the region’s new status quo won’t be stamped “made in the U.S.”—for better or for worse.

    Probably better for us and worse for them. They don’t yet want to live our way and we know no other.

    • Pete

      Well said — they can’t be civilized.

  • gabrielsyme

    It’s long past time to announce an extension of Jordanian sovereignty over all Sunni-dominated areas of Iraq and Syria, along with a path to independence for the Kurds both in Iraq and Syria. Assad would be reduced to the coastal heartland of the Alawites.

    • rheddles

      Does Abdullah really want Anbar? The Paleos he’s got are burden enough.

      • gabrielsyme

        He might well not – a better plan might be to create Kingdoms for some of his relatives in the Sunni-dominated areas of Iraq and Syria. The point is the same, however: take the one sane Sunni government in the region and replicate it in the mainly Sunni areas of Iraq and Syria. Whether it’s one nation, or a handful of Hashemite Kingdoms is a matter of pragmatic judgement. I’d point out that as a further advantage, a firmly Hashemite Mesopotamia would both act as something of a regional counterweight to the horrible Saudis while also providing something of a buffer against Iranian ambitions in the region.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service