Syria’s economic problems eased this week, albeit slightly, after Jordan opened the land border with its northern neighbor, a decision that raises different considerations, and some policies, about the international situation of Syria, the bulk of which has been isolated for many years before the civil war that began in 2011.
The opening of the Jaber-Nasib border crossing between Jordan and Syria will have economic and commercial repercussions on several countries in the region. But the question remains whether this move also has political ramifications for the Damascus government, an issue that ultimately depends on what the lax administration of Joe Biden decides.
Jordan and the relationship with the Syrian regime
According to a report in the newspaper,El Publico“Spanish, Jordan, is a small country that lives under strong pressure from Arab countries, especially from Israel and the United States.
Despite this, King Abdullah II acts with determination and courage in the international issues that affect him, within the limits of his limited options, of course, especially with regard to the Palestinian issue.
According to the translation of “Watan” newspaper, it is clear that Abdullah II would not have been able to reopen the borders had it not been for the explicit approval of Washington, which in this case was somewhat implicit, but it is also true that this step would not have been achieved, had it not been Jordan navigates with remarkable skill through the turbulent waters of the Middle East.
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The newspaper adds in its report that the reopening of the Jordanian-Syrian borders will benefit Lebanon by facilitating access to gas and electricity.
In the same context, Jordan has a peculiarity represented in the visit paid by Prime Minister Bishr Al-Khasawneh to Beirut.
This visit came last Thursday, a day after the opening of the border with Syria, where Khasawneh discussed with his Lebanese counterpart an energy agreement to transport Egyptian gas, from which Lebanon will benefit mainly, but it also concerns Syria and Egypt in addition to Jordan.
What did Bishr Al-Khasawneh suggest to the Lebanese?
Al-Khasawneh suggested the possibility of Jordan exporting electricity to Lebanon, and here Syria will appear again in the middle because the power lines will move through Syria.
In fact, in some Syrian regions, work is underway to facilitate the export of Jordanian electricity to Lebanon, which will be completed within three months, according to al-Khasawneh.
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Host President Michel Aoun praised the decision to reopen the Jordanian-Syrian border and acknowledged that this step would benefit Lebanon. In the first place, because Syria is the only land exit from Lebanon. Also because it will facilitate access to gas and electricity, and finally because it will allow Lebanese trucks, to transport agricultural products to the Arab Gulf countries via Syria and Jordan.
Do other Arab countries normalize relations with Syria?
The direct question is whether other Arab countries are preparing after these events to normalize relations with Syria, and the answer is negative in principle.
Although the State Department spokesman on Wednesday ignored the issue of the opening of the Jaber-Nassib crossing, there is no further indication that the Americans will adjust their policy toward Damascus.
The differences between Trump and Biden are minimal, if any, regarding the Middle East and Syria
It should be noted that in the final weeks of his term, Donald Trump signed the Caesar Act that went into effect on January 17, 2020, three days before he left the White House, including a series of sanctions against Syria. The Caesar Act also prescribes penalties for those who do business with the Syrian government, so the decisions mentioned above may involve sanctions against Jordan, at least in theory.
But it is clear that Oman received assurances not to impose sanctions, otherwise it would not have taken this step. But this does not mean that the Joe Biden administration will correct Trump’s policies.
A questioner may now ask, to what extent the implicit agreement between Washington and Amman can reach, and whether it will take time to find out whether there are other Arab countries that are close to normalizing relations with Damascus, even if slightly, as Jordan does, and under any circumstances, Can relations be normalized?
The suffering of millions of civilians
The Syrian Prime Time Zone are in a painful situation, especially because of the US sanctions and the Caesar Act. Economically, the country sank after the terrible civil war that began in 2011, led by Western and regional powers, but no one seems to be concerned or affected, by the suffering of millions of civilians.
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It is worth noting that the Jaber Nassib crossing was opened, after a meeting of Syrian and Jordanian officials who set conditions for its reopening. The two sides agreed on facilitating the movement of goods and trade after some Arab countries linked to Damascus recently in a limited and fragile way.
In Amman, it is noteworthy that the sanctions imposed by the United States on Iraq excluded Jordan in another similar case, as a gesture aimed at saving the Jordanian economy from collapse, which is similar to what is happening now with Syria. In fact, the geographical proximity of the two countries is beneficial for the two countries in that it allows Jordan to export its products by land to Syria and Turkey, and similarly Syria can export its products to the Arabian Gulf.
In conclusion, Jordan and Syria have only relations of purely economic priority, since the opening of the Jaber-Naseeb corridor, and the circulation of gas and electricity, which benefits both countries, but the economy usually has other political repercussions, so it will be necessary to wait a little, to find out what If these relations have a broader political scope.
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