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Fool containment

Jordan has inexplicably decided to give the Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) leaders asylum and permission to conduct political activities in the country.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II popularized the deceptive expression Shia Crescent and made accusations against Iran a few months after Saddam Hussein’s Baath regime collapsed.

Saddam and the late King Hussein had historic and longstanding relations, and Jordan’s open support for Iraq during the 1980-1988 war against Iran is part of the historical record.

In its most important assistance, Jordan even gave Iraq access to the strategic port of Aqaba throughout the war.

Official reports from the eight-year war also reveal that thousands of Jordanian soldiers fought on the Iraqi side.

After Saddam’s fall in March 2003, Jordan started a new game. It signaled its agreement with the United States Greater Middle East Initiative but also started providing overt and covert support for Salafi terrorism in Iraq.

The West has turned a blind eye to the fact that Jordan has allowed Baathist remnants and Salafi terrorists to enter Iraq through its borders.

In addition, since the downfall of the Baath regime, Saddam’s family has been living in Jordan as the guests of King Abdullah II, despite the fact that many Middle East experts say Saddam’s family is one of the sources of terrorism in Iraq.

After Saddam was executed, with the support of the Jordanian government, his family was allowed to hold a magnificent semi-official ceremony in honor of the former dictator.

Meanwhile, Interpol recently decided to issue an arrest warrant for Saddam’s daughter Raghad for supporting terrorism in Iraq.

The latest anti-Iranian move by the Jordanian king, i.e. the decision to give asylum to MKO members, is much more serious than the previous actions.

Since the Mojahedin Khalq Organization carried out terrorist acts during the years Saddam gave them asylum in Iraq, U.S. forces restricted them to camps after taking control of the country.

When the pieces of the puzzle are put together, it is clear that the West is encouraging Jordan to take the role Saddam’s Iraq once played in confronting and attempting to contain Iran.

Yet, Jordan’s government has been facing a serious wave of social unrest since the final days of King Hussein, particularly in 1999 and 2000, which proves that Jordan is too weak to become a regional player able to contain Iran.

It would be wise for the Jordanians to reflect on the fate of Saddam, who once cooperated with the West in confronting Iran but later was found to be no longer useful.

There is no doubt that the establishment of a new anti-Iranian pole in the Middle East can seriously alter current political equations. However, the implementation of such an out-of-date formula meant to limit Iran’s regional influence will only increase tension and undermine the West’s regional interests.

Sept. 15 Tehran Times Opinion

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