Jordanian Diplomacy in The White House

Published July 18th, 2021 - 05:54 GMT
King Abdullah (L) Joe Biden
King Abdullah (L) Joe Biden (AlBawaba)

The meeting between King Abdullah with President Joe Biden in the White House is very definitely a plus for Jordanian diplomacy and the beginning of a new era and a chapter between Washington on Amman. Jordan and the United States always had a strong strategic partnership, going back to the 1950s, and this current meeting, the first by an Arab leader to the White House under a new US administration, is likely to re-emphasize and reboot US-Jordan relations to greater heights.

The White House meeting with King Abdullah being accompanied by Queen Rania and Crown Prince Hussein, is likely to be a reinvigoration between the two countries across many fields, political, diplomatic, security and economic fields that is likely to emphasize Washington commitment to the stability and well-being of Jordan and its role in peace-making and Middle East politics because of its strategic location.

Under the previous administration of Donald Trump this commitment has been wavering and lessening because of the ‘Deal of the Century’ which the former Republican president sought to push forward at the expense of the Palestinians and Jordanian security and which King Abdullah saw as a dangerous path.

But all this is now put aside with the elections of Joe Biden and the new Democratic administration in the White House which stresses the importance of the strategic relations with Amman and the traditional two-state solution to end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and establish a just peace for the benefit of all rather one or two parties with Israel being the favorite.

Trump may have made a lot of damage to basic principles shared values between American and Jordan leaders about a solution to the intrepid Arab-Israeli conflict that was going nowhere because of Israeli intransigence. He, Donald Trump, wanted basically, to increase Israeli sovereignty over occupied Palestinian territory, legitimate Israeli settlements in the Palestinian West Bank and recognize Jerusalem as capital of Israel which Jordan holds dearly with King Abdullah seen as the custodian of the holy places.

Trump was in the process of doing a U-turn on policies that long kept Israel in check, and he wanted to do this through Israeli normalization with the countries of the Arab world which become a sour point when Israeli, with American blessing, signed normalization deal with the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco.

While part of the damage may not be undone, with Biden in the White House most of these policies are likely to be turned or indeed rethought as a new US approach to the Middle East is being reconsidered. Biden and the US administration are continuing to bide their time with new across-the-board policies to the region starting with Yemen, Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, Syria and much more. The new White House meeting surely points out to the increasing role Jordan at the behest of the guiding hand of King Abdullah and where it s being called upon to play in the reshaping of such US thinking towards the Middle East.

The White House meeting underlines the chemistry between the two leaders. King Abdullah and president Joe Biden have known each other for a very long time, frequently rubbing shoulders and with the fact that the American president made a visit to Jordan in 2016 during the Barack Obama administration and as vice-president had been in the loop on the Middle East foreign policy making with regard to Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry who tried to kick-start the Arab-Israeli peace process.

Biden and King Abdullah had been in constant communications about the complexities of peace-making and Middle East diplomacy regarding the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the Arab Spring protests which engulfed the region post-2011 and the subsequent rise of terror groups like the ISIS which sought to add greater turmoil and fracture in states like Iraq, Syria, and across to Tunisia, Libya and elsewhere in this region of the world.

Under the new administration as well Jordan’s traditional role vis-à-vis the Palestinians, Jerusalem and Arab politics is likely to be understood, reinvigorated and reclaimed with diplomacy becoming active again and replacing isolationism and reshuffling of the cards which Donald Trump tried to reinstitute and remake.

Amman can now become, once again, a pivot, to the Arab world via the Americans, because of the traditional Jordanian diplomacy that has been built over the years that long started with the late King Hussein who sought to build bridges of understanding with the West, and is now being carried on by King Abdullah through his training and understandings in western academic institutions in America.

Joe Biden and the US administration know all too well the role Jordan played in fostering relations with Arab countries, like Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Gulf countries and states like Lebanon, the Palestinian National Authority, in Gaza, Lebanon and Syria where the Jordan Embassy remains open there.

The US has a commitment to supporting Jordan. Amman is already one of the biggest recipients of American aid at $1.5 billion yearly as part of a $6.4 billion aid package that ends next year but which the Jordan government is confident that it will be renewed because of the rough ride the Kingdom has experienced as a result of the economic recession spurned on by Covid-19 pandemic and the deep economic impact it has on society and unemployment it created.

The White House has already continued to express support for the Jordan King and his system of government as directly stressed by Biden himself after the rift within the royal family and which became out in the open but soon brought under control after the perpetrators were tried and sent to jail.

American relations with Jordan is today is on a firm grip and likely to remain so for the next four years because of the cordial relations between King Abdullah and President Joe Biden.

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