Monday

12th Nov 2018

EU concerned about potential instability in Jordan

  • King Abdullah II is known abroad for his high society wife, Queen Rania (r) (Photo: World Economic Forum)

With all eyes on violence in Syria, some EU countries are becoming increasingly concerned about the risk of instability in neighbouring Jordan.

A senior EU diplomatic contact told this website on Wednesday (8 February) that the Arab Spring is taking a nasty turn inside one of the West's main allies in the region. "The problem now is if things get worse and spill into Jordan," the source said.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Ruled by King Abdullah II - better known abroad for his high society wife, Queen Rania - the Bedouin tribes which form the bulk of Jordanian society and its security forces have been grumbling about the royal clique's monopoly on wealth and power for the past year.

In recent weeks, they stopped calling for reform and started calling for the king to step down.

"The mood has shifted quite sharply. There is a loss of support in the Bedouin bedrock which is turning quite antagonistic at this stage ... I am not saying it's on the brink of instability, but there has been a qualitative change," Alastair Crooke, a former EU advisor on Middle East security affairs who now runs an NGO in Lebanon, told EUobserver.

"It's another artificial state. It's a very fragile country," Ali Ben-David, a defence expert for Israel's Channel 10 TV station, said.

With Jordan currently home to some 750,000 reguees from Iraq, including some Islamist radical groups, he added that if Jordan begins to unravel, it could create a security nightmare for Israel. "Tens of thousands of terrorists in Iraq lost their job and they are looking for their next target ... If things begin spilling into Jordan, you could get both Al-Qaeda and the Iranian revolutionary guard camped on the other side of the Jordan river," he said.

North of the border in Syria, some 2,500 EU citizens are believed to be still in the country amid escalating violence.

Around 90 percent are dual EU-Syrian citizens and are expected to see out the crisis no matter what happens.

France - a former colonial power in Syria - has the largest group among the remaining 10 percent. The French foreign ministry says that despite reports of mass-killings in Homs over the past weekend, the situation in the rest of the country has not significantly deteriorated.

"We haven't started the launch code for an evacuation. We haven't even closed our embassy. The only thing we've done is recalled our ambassador for consultations, which is a political gesture," a French diplomat said.

Meanwhile, Lebanon - the most volatile country in the region in contemporary history - is looking the most stable for the time being.

A speech on Tuesday by Hassan Nasrallah - the chief of the main military power in Lebanon, Hezbollah - in which he said he does not take orders from Iran, might mean he will not start a war with Israel to take the heat off his allies in Damascus and Tehran.

The British foreign office says people should avoid all but essential travel to anywhere east of the mountains which bisect Lebanon from north to south, due to risk of kidnapping and Syrian military incursions.

For his part, Crooke, who lives in Beirut, said a traveller would have to go well off the beaten track into militant training camps in the foothills, Palestinian refugee camps in the south or smuggler villages which straddle the Lebanon-Syria border, to get into trouble.

"If you are using ordinary routes, the Bekaa valley [the eastern half of the country] is quite normal - people are crossing it every day to go to Damascus and back," he said.

EU considering global summit on Syria crisis

UK foreign minister William Hague has said EU countries my convene a global summit on how to bring down Syrian leader Bashar Assad despite a blockage in the UN.

EU points to oil reserves after Iran threat

The European Commission has noted that "there is a lot of oil around" inside reserves in EU countries even if Iran makes good on threats to stop shipments next week.

News in Brief

  1. UK seeks swift use of new EU chemical weapons blacklist
  2. Barnier briefs EU ministers: intense negotiations continue
  3. Romanian minister preparing EU presidency steps down
  4. Finland says Russia possibly behind GPS jamming
  5. German AfD leader under fire for Swiss campaign funding
  6. Seehofer announces he will step down as CSU party leader
  7. EU condemns elections in Russia-occupied eastern Ukraine
  8. German Greens pick two top candidates for EU election

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. Romanian leaders trade jibes over upcoming EU presidency
  2. EU warns Romania not to abuse GDPR against press
  3. EU 'Magnitsky Act' must bear its proper name
  4. Fear of nationalist surge marks European memorials
  5. Liberals ally with Macron for election, but no candidate yet
  6. Revealed: Link between MEPs CO2 votes and domestic car jobs
  7. All Quiet on the Eastern Front?
  8. Merkel and Brexit in spotlight This WEEK

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us