News from the Arab Press

Saudi Arabia And Jordan: The End Of A Romance?

By Asaf Zilberfarb | The Media Line

December 18, 2017

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Al-Arab al-Youm, Jordan, December 15

One of the most interesting developments following U.S. President Donald Trump’s Jerusalem declaration is the disparate responses by Arab states. The most notable discrepancy was between the reactions of Jordan and Saudi Arabia, the latter of which was faint. The House of Saud issued a weakly worded statement and provided almost no coverage of the announcement or the protests that ensued in the Arab world. Many political commentators believe the Saudis received prior warning about the Jerusalem move and even okayed it in advance. By contrast, the Jordanian monarchy was quick to condemn Trump’s decision, with King Abdullah II publicly vowing to protect the holy city and the Al-Aqsa Mosque. He immediately reached out to Turkey, which has long been viewed as a leader in the region, and called for a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Istanbul. This divergence between Riyadh and Amman is an interesting one. The two countries have long stood by each other and coordinated their foreign affairs positions closely. In extending a warm embrace to Turkey, however, Jordan signaled to Saudi Arabia that it will no longer accept being in the kingdom’s shadow. While Amman might be able to tolerate matters relating to ISIS, Hizbullah and the Syrian war, for example, it is simply not willing to back down on its red line: Jerusalem. The Saudis might project a sense of power and confidence, but they will soon realize that losing Jordan, one of its most important allies, is something that it cannot afford. By marginalizing Abdullah and disregarding his stance on Jerusalem, Riyadh added fuel to fire. It will now have to reevaluate its loyalties and re-align its position sooner than one might think.  – Mahmoud Abu Hillal

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