Jordan Might Be The Most “Unlucky” Country In The Middle East: Why Is That?

Jordan is a “geographical buffer-zone” located between Israel and Iran. The presence of US army on its lands makes Jordan -not only a geographical buffer-zone- but also a “biased militarized buffer-zone”.

The recent dangerous escalation between Iran and Israel has left the whole world anticipating what might come next in the Middle East – the world’s most volatile region. The escalation between these two powerful countries is not only a regular one, but rather a serious escalation that would easily impact the security, stability, prosperity and economic growth of the whole region. In the midst of this volatile times, some countries suffer from such tensions more than others. The Kingdom of Jordan is no-doubt one of the most affected countries in the Middle East.

The geographical location of Jordan has made it in the center of crossfire between Iran and Israel. Iranian Missiles targeting Israel will most-likely fly over Jordan, Israeli missiles targeting Iran will mostly choose the same path. It is not only that, but also, most of the intercepting/defensive missiles launched from both sides would hit their targets over the skies of Jordan. This recent escalation does not only keep the Jordanian military on high alert but also push Amman to shut its Airspace several repetitive times, not to mention the risk of falling missiles, over civilian and industrial areas, intercepted in mid-air while over Jordan.

Moreover, Jordan hosts multi US military bases on its soil, which in their turn have intercepted and shot down Iranian missiles/drones heading towards Israel, and they would continue to do so in the future. This fact means, Jordan is no more a third party in the equation but rather a player – A secondary player but still a player. In other words, Tehran does not only view Amman as an observer but as an American ally, providing all logistical and geographical support to the US forces to be able to target Iranian missiles.

Accordingly, political tensions between Amman and Tehran will steadily rise over the next months. The two states are currently dragged into a closer confrontation without genuinely seeking it, but rather by the present reality of alliances in the Middle East. Logically speaking, Tehran doesn’t seem to be interested in exploiting the sovereignty of Jordan, but for military reasons, the shortest distance for its drones to reach Israel is to cross Jordan. However, Amman considers the Iranian decision to use its airspace a direct violation of its sovereignty, and as a result, the Jordanian army has the right to intercept any foreign objects flying in its skies with no permission. 

Observing through a “realist view”, Iran and Israel are both considered to be “regional superpowers”, they are both in the middle of a “Cold War” intensifying and expanding day by day, thus, they apparently keep favoring their interests over the sovereignty of weaker countries in the region. For instance, Israel keeps bombing Iranian targets inside of Syria and Lebanon, while Iran recently violated each of the Iraqi and Jordanian airspace to attack Israel. Unfortunately, the modern history of the Middle East clearly proves that smaller/weaker countries are mostly trapped in the midst of bigger power’s conflicts. And sometimes these countries are dragged to take sides in such vast conflicts, whether they are interested in doing so or not.

The tensions in the Middle East do not only affect the stability and security of Jordan but also the economy. Jordan is known for being one of the most popular destinations in the region, whether for its ancient ruins, Arabian nature, authentic culture, or for its famous Dead Sea and Red Sea resorts. In other words, the militarization and involvement of Jordan in the Middle-East battles, makes it less popular touristic destination to visit – due to security and safety concerns. Beside all that, Jordan has not yet finished fighting its war on drugs along its northern borders. The influx of the infamous “Captegone” drug, from Syria, is considered to be one of the major spillovers of the Syrian Conflict, as the Jordanian government has repeatedly warned against “tenths of tons of drugs” being smuggled deep inside its borders.

Based on the above, it’s highly probable, the Kingdom of Jordan will continue to suffer consequences of the rising tensions in the larger Middle East, specifically when it comes to Iran and Israel. This new and unpleasant Jordanian reality is mainly linked to political and geographical reasons. In the upcoming few months we might witness an increased militarization of Jordan with the help of Western countries – mainly US and UK. At end of the day, Jordan is a “geographical buffer-zone” located between Israel and Iran. The presence of US army on its lands makes Jordan -not only a geographical buffer-zone- but also a “biased militarized buffer-zone”.

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