Jordanains fear fate of Syria

Jordanians said Saturday they were concerned about Syria’s fate with the escalating, multi-national demands for it to withdraw its forces from Lebanon.

Although Syria has been publicly urged to withdraw from Lebanon by Saudi Arabia, the Palestinian Authority, Russia, the United States and France, among other nations, some Jordanians reportedly believe the U.S. demands are a pretext by Washington to execute plans it has had for Damascus for some time.

Jordanians who spoke to United Press International said they believe the same U.S. scenario implemented in Iraq was being prepared against Syria. Khaled Walid, 25, said what happened to Iraq with the American threats before the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003 was now being repeated in Syria, "but with different pretexts."

Source: [New Kerala]

Is this article trying to say that the Jordanian public is siding with the Syrians? I wonder. Since I have been away from Jordan for a couple of months, I’m perhaps not as in touch with the Jordanian public’s reaction to recent Lebanese political developments. But I’m really interested to know what the Jordanian reaction is to the "people power" in Lebanon? Was it jubilation, disapproval, or even envy? Is there anyone who can shed some light on this?

14 thoughts on “Jordanains fear fate of Syria”

  1. I still hope that nothing like what happened to Iraq, is being, or has been cooked to Syria. But I always disliked Syrians contolling Lebanon. I hated when I had to cross the boarders from Jordan to Syria when officers behaved like what they did. Cheap . Clinex, ciggarets, few dollars ! thats all what they cared about. It looks to me that Bashaar is much less arogant than Saddam, and he understands the lesson. He is backing down and I am sure he will not give any future chance to Syria to go into the same what Irak is going through right now.

  2. Natasha,
    Can you tell me if Rami Khouri went to Syracuse University in Syracuse, NY. I believe he did and that he was there in the years between 1969 and 1973. I believe that I knew him then and I have always been curious about it.
    Thanks,
    Sherril

  3. Hi Sherril,
    First of all welcome to Mental Mayhem. Hope to see more of you around here.
    You are right. Rami Khouri is a Syracuse University graduate. I just googled him and got the following:
    “He was editor-in-chief of the “Jordan Times” for seven years, and wrote for many years from Amman for leading international publications, including the financial Times, the Boston Globe and the Washington Post. Mr. Khouri has an MSc in Political Science and Mass Communications from Syracuse University”
    http://www1.worldbank.org/mena/governance/subfolders/BeirutAgenda.htm.

  4. There was a feeling of bitterness here about Jordan’s reaction to Assad’s speech. While all Arab countries, the UK, Russia and others welcomed the Syrian move, you read at the Voice of America website: “ISRAEL AND JORDAN REJECT ASSAD SPEECH.” Aha! So Israel and Jordan? “World’s demands are not a condition that Syria can bargain with,” Mr. Hani Mulki said. I am not going to defend the position of the Syrian government or Assad’s speech, and not going to get deep into the complicated Syro-Lebanese politics. I am just wondering how Syrian people would feel when their southern neighbour joins forces with Israel -or at least that’s how it looked like- to exert more pressure on their country. I am curious to know what Jordanians themselves think about their foreign minister’s comments. I hope it was just a slip of tongue…
    http://www.voanews.com/english/2005-03-05-voa22.cfm

  5. Well Ayman,
    Jordan and Israel were not the only two nations that were not satisfied with the speech. Other nations including the US, France, Canada, and Lebanon itself voiced disappointment.
    So it was not a matter of Jordan and Israel against Syria. It only happened that Hani al-Mulki was having a joint press conference with his Israeli counterpart when they said their statements.
    Jordan asked for the pull out of the Syrian troops even before Bashar’s speech, so I think it was expected that they would not be satisfied when Bashar didn’t announce “immediate” withdrawal. I think it was seen as some sort of procrastination.
    I personally thought Bashar spoke really well, and was very eloquent. Ah, well!

  6. Show me actions, not words.
    The era of articulated speeches is over. Remember the most articulate politician (as I believe) Mr. Tariq Azizz; he always made sense to me when he spoke; where is he now ? I thought President Bashaar spoke well, but that was just another ” speech”, not action.

  7. Natasha, my opinion is that the comments of Jordan’s Foreign Minister can either be an intended participation in the US-orchestrated campaign against Syria or -if we think benignly- a terrible public relations mistake by agreeing with Silvan Shalom and by showing Jordan as the ONLY Arab country to announce (from Tel-Aviv!) its dissatisfaction with Syrian proposals.

  8. Regardless of the intent it was a mistake to make such a statement in that environment simply because of how it could be manipulated. It wasn’t a politically savvy decision. I’m sure it went down precisely as the wife describes. But it has become clear in recent weeks that the US is intent on capitalizing on these events and now it appears so are these Israelis. Regardless of how these two nations feel, they should just shut up and stop gloating. It’s smearing the intent of others in the Arab world and diminishing the import of the events unfolding.
    Being the only Arab country to announce from Tel Aviv was simply not a good idea. I’m sure they were put on the spot for comment. The FM should have made a politically sophisticated move and said he would release a full statement within the next 24 hours and then done so from Amman. Now he’s being put in bed with Israel. That certainly isn’t going over well and it just feeds into the paranoia and fear that this is all a big US-Zionist plot. Regardless of what it actually is, political expedience would suggest that you not get mixed into that adventure.

  9. Natasha,
    You have asked about the reaction to the “people power” in Lebanon .. frankly, I do not know what did you mean with the “people power” in Lebanon? Do you really think what is going on is inspired, triggered and fed by what you so-called “people power”, rather than US and France ones armed with partial and systemic propaganda?! The few thousand demonstrators do not, necessarily, represent the overall Lebanese attitude, Hizbollah’s line at least.
    Wisely, The pro-Syria Lebanese nationalists did not take their action, yet. If we want to be fair, we have to say that there are 2 “people powers” in Lebanon, regardless the Palestinian refugees one. I sincerely hope that no clashes will take place among these powers, otherwise all the Syrian efforts to settle Lebanon after the civil war will pass away. From this point of view, you may catch why Mr. Karamy’s government resigned and why Syria emphasized the full and “immediate” withdrawal as you will recognize very soon. “Syria does not want to be unsettling factor in Lebanon” Assad said.
    The temporary withdrawal to Bickaa is corresponding to Attayf accord especially that 1559 did not include any withdrawal mechanism. It is just a “SYMBOLIC” procedure that may last 2 or 3 weeks only, but it has a historical implication: Syria came in favor of Attayf accord and pulled out according to it, Israel came as invader and run away as loser.
    You have mentioned in your comment that “… and Lebanon itself voiced disappointment”. How did you conclude that Lebanon voiced disappointment!? Regardless the names, please consider the standing figures of Lebanon through illustrating the Lebanese president’s declaration on Syrian president’s speech as they are both “presidents”, and they are both (regardless the names) “symbols” of their nations. Furthermore, many of the Lebanese opposition described the speech positive including Mr. Junblat itself. Canada voiced disappointments!!! Does Canada have any weight in the regional policy, whatever?! Please follow up the key and regional players opinion for better judgment.
    Finally, do you know what many Syrians feel nowadays? They are wondering “why do THEY hate us? Why are THEY allied against us?”. The statement was not wise by Mr. Mulki, the head of Jordanian Diplomacy, as Ayman and Jeff described. Widely, the statement is considered offensive by many Syrians especially it sounds exactly as what THEY say.
    “Jordan asked for the pull out of the Syrian troops even before Bashar’s speech”, maybe one week before. However, 63% of the Syrian troops withdrew since 2000 before anybody ask Syria to do that including Jordan and the “people power”. These withdrawals were “actions” not “speeches” as somebody commented! These “actions” sound louder than anybody’s words.

  10. Dear Hadi,
    Not matter how we try to analyze and evaluate the political situation in Lebanon, no on can deny the fact that Omar Karami resigned under pressure, pressure from the Lebanese demonstrators who wanted him to step down.
    They vocally voiced their objection and he obliged. If this is not people power I do not know what else is.
    I do not believe the Lebanese opposition are being Pro-US by asking for the Syrian troops to leave. They are being pro-Lebanon as they want their country liberated from years of occupation by the Syrian army.
    As for Jordan being the only Arab country that opposed Asad’s speech, I would simply say so what? Why should Jordan adopt a Pan-Arab line? Isn’t the concept of pan-Arabism long dead? I think it is about time for Arab countries to stop preaching to the choir and start developing ideas of their own. Jordan has already adopted the “Jordan First” motto, which puts Jordan’s interest above the whole ideology of pan-Arabism. Do I support this motto? Absolutely!

  11. Thanks for the link Ayman. I just read it. Do you have more? I’m glad that we have access to the Syrian point of view. I guess it helps clarify things more.
    As for my own interpretation of Jordan First, I would say it means Jordan the country along with its people should come first.

  12. Natasha please look at the bigger picture you are really oversimplifying the issue.
    Yes Jordan first of course, but regardless of the many mistakes of the past we are still Arabs, even if you do not even believe that, which would be a shame frankly, there is a bare minumum of tact that could be observed, and in all honesty i never thought i would be saying such a thing, but this government is starting to push the limits of people’s feelings a bit too far.
    Syria for all its mistakes, and they are many, for at the end of the day the people in power there are a bunch of thugs, but it also has done Lebanon some good deeds in the past, so while the Lebanese have the right to ask for their country back, turning Syria into ‘the source of all evil’ is wrong, especially at a time like this, when we all know Syria is a ‘targeted’ state.
    At the end of the day like it or not, we all live in a small area next to each other, and we all depend on each other and need each other (I mean Jordanians, Syrians, Palestinians and Lebanese. And then probably even Israelis but thats another story) so its about time we all start learning how to get along.

  13. I believe that people asking for Jordan to have a pan-Arab stand simply suffer from a bad case of short term memory, when have Jordan and Syria ever been on good terms? People forget that at the first signs of instability in Jordan during September 1970 events, Syrian troops overrun northern Jordan and occupied Irbid and the surrounding areas. People overlook the fact that formations of the Jordanian Armed Forces are aligned in a way to foil a Syrian attack.
    I don’t know what role Syria played when they stepped into Lebanon, if what they did helped in ending the civil war then that’s definitely something they deserve praise for. But I think everyone can agree that Syria has long outstayed its welcome in Lebanon, and the purpose of them there no longer became the benefits of the Lebanese people, but rather the benefits of Syria. Assad said it more than once, he wants the withdrawal from Lebanon to be “a part of the peace plan with Israel” but what that really means is that Lebanon was the last bargaining card that Syria was holding on to, and now they’re losing that card.

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