Jordan-GCC relations in context of the Makkah Summit

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Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman called for a four-nation summit to be held in Makkah on Monday, June 11 in order to discuss financial support for Jordan. The summit came days after widespread protests in Jordan against the economic crisis and a proposed increase in income tax, which led to the resignation of the government and the withdrawal of the bill. The final communiqué of the summit included the commitment of the three countries to provide a package of economic aid to Jordan totaling $2.5 billion. This would include a deposit in Jordan’s Central Bank, World Bank guarantees for Jordan, budgetary support for five years, and financing for development projects from development funds.

It is undeniable that the Jordanian popular demands are justified, yet there are some who want the Kingdom of Jordan to end up in a dark tunnel and to become a failed state that is politically unstable, institutionally challenged, and subject to external interference; a state for which some neighboring countries provide a good example.

It is worth recalling that Jordan suffers from three main issues, which I think are significant factors in the current crisis. Firstly, a regional crisis caused by revolutions, especially in Syria and Iraq, which led Jordan to close its borders with Iraq and Syria as Daesh (the self-proclaimed IS) seized control of large areas in those countries. Secondly, the burden of giving asylum to more than 1.5 million Iraqi and Syrian refugees by a country that has a population of 10 million and that is poor in its economic resources. Thirdly, the failure of the international community to fulfill its moral obligations toward the refugees and the host country.

The standpoint of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states with regard to providing financial assistance and supporting peace and security in Jordan is not the result of the current exceptional circumstances, as the security and stability of Jordan affects the security and stability of GCC member states. I would like to briefly point to the cooperation between Jordan and the Gulf states within the framework of the GCC which was officially launched at the Consultative Summit (13) of GCC leaders in May, 2011 when the leaders decided to strengthen cooperation between the GCC and Jordan. Accordingly, several meetings were held during 2011 to discuss the areas of cooperation and the scope of the desired partnership.

In December 2011, in light of those meetings, the Supreme Council of the GCC issued a resolution to provide financial support for development projects in Jordan. In May 2012, that support was agreed upon in the form of grants worth $5 billion over five years to finance development projects in Jordan. It was also agreed that a joint committee of senior officials from the two parties would be formed, which would meet periodically and work to identify the main areas of joint cooperation. It was further agreed that a draft work plan would be prepared for joint cooperation during the coming period (2012-2017) that could include the identification of proposed areas of cooperation and the proposed mechanisms and plans of action to achieve them. The said draft work plan was agreed upon and subsequently approved at the Joint Ministerial Meeting held on 7 November 2012. In implementation of this, joint working groups were formed and detailed work plans were approved at the meeting of the Joint Committee of the GCC and Jordan. Thus, cooperation between the GCC states and the Kingdom of Jordan is good and covers all areas with a detailed execution plan and specific timetables.

Finally, Jordanian-Saudi-Gulf relations are distinguished and deep. Saudi Arabia and the rest of the GCC states give great importance to the security and stability of Jordan and there is cooperation as mentioned in all fields, as well as harmony in their views on many regional and international issues. This summit confirms the nature, the strength and the depth of this relationship.

— Dr. Ibrahim Al-Othaimin is a Middle East affairs specialist and security analyst based in Riyadh. He can be contacted at Ibrahim.othaimin@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @Alothaimin


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