Tehran’s Strike and the Jordanian Response

Nobody in Jordan, in my opinion, would have wanted or desired the interception of Iranian drones over their territory. From the outset of the aggression on Gaza, both the state and the people of Jordan stood alongside Gaza and its population and opposed the Israeli atrocities. Jordan took the lead in diplomatic efforts against Israel, diligently working to debunk the Israeli narrative. It was the first country to breach the Israeli blockade by airlifting aid and declared that any displacement of Palestinians outside Palestine would be considered an act of war by Israel, potentially terminating the peace treaty between the two nations.

This isn’t to frame Jordan’s stance defensively, but rather to remind us of its strategic and political position regarding the aggression on Gaza. Jordan has remained committed to this stance, even amidst the relocation of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and the announcement of the “Deal of the Century” by former U.S. President Donald Trump. Jordan has vehemently opposed any attempts to resolve the issue and has worked tirelessly, both diplomatically and politically, in the opposite direction. It has also been cautious about what’s termed “regional peace,” or the Abrahamic Accords, which seek to normalise relations without addressing the Palestinian issue. In line with this, Jordan rejected the idea of an “Arab-Israeli NATO” to counter the Iran-led alliance, a proposal that circulated within Israeli and American circles.

So, what is the Jordanian message in intercepting the Iranian drones over Jordan? In short, it’s primarily about sovereignty, a fundamental issue in international relations that represents a measure of respect and dignity. Jordan might have overlooked the incident if, for example, there had been prior Iranian permission or notification to Jordan, and vice versa. When the Jordanian decision-maker decided to intercept the drones, the message wasn’t just for Iran but also for Israel and the United States, as mentioned by the Jordanian Foreign Minister, Ayman Safadi, on Al Mamlaka TV the day after the Iranian attack. Ayman Safadi’s words were not merely symbolic or intended to stir emotions; they accurately conveyed Jordan’s genuine decision, which was based on both public declarations and hidden calculations. The evidence for this was that Jordanian warplanes continued to fly over Amman during the following nights to prevent any further incursions. The message was clear to the Israelis until the mysterious Israeli attack on Iran occurred, but it certainly did not involve crossing or flying over Jordan.

There’s indeed no trust between Jordan and Iran. Iran views Jordan as an advanced American base, something that decision-makers in Amman are aware of and have addressed in past secret discussions with the Iranians. On the other hand, Jordan doesn’t have fundamental enmity with Iran; rather, it’s a recognition that Iran’s agenda isn’t friendly towards Jordan. The attack wasn’t intended to help the people of Gaza but was rather a part of a game for regional influence and hegemony, aimed at reinforcing certain conflict rules, especially after the consulate attack in Damascus.

Certainly, the Iranian strike wasn’t a theatrical act; it had significant strategic implications. Jordan, on the other hand, refused to allow troops, aircraft, and missiles to use it as a stage for these exchanged messages. Jordan wanted its response to be clear, not just concerning this incident but for any potential future developments, whether on land, air, or sea. As a reminder, the security chief of the Kata’ib Hezbollah group in Iraq (a pro-Iran faction) stated a few days ago that the “resistance in Iraq” was ready to supply what they call the resistance in Jordan (which doesn’t exist in Jordanian terms) with weapons and missiles to attack Israel and disrupt land routes!

This isn’t the time to discuss or evaluate Iran’s policies in the region, but the point is that the Iranian strike stemmed from very complex and calculated considerations, where matters of influence and strategic interests were far more important than the Gaza war. The same goes for Turkey, which has been relatively quiet. Given this context, Jordan acted to protect its national security and strategic interests. Its commitment to its stance on the aggression against Gaza, the radical Israeli right-wing, and the dangerous plans for forced displacement and Judaization of Jerusalem has not wavered.

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