Jordan’s role in Yemen part of its commitment to Arab stability: analysts

A Saudi air campaign was launched overnight which has already resulted in the elimination of several Houthi leaders

Raed Omari
Raed Omari - Al Arabiya News
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Jordan is participating in the Saudi-led “Decisive Storm” military operation against Yemen’s Iran-backed Shiite Houthi insurgents with the strategic aim, according to analysts, to defend the Arab national security.

The state-owned news agency, Petra, quoted an unnamed Jordanian official on Thursday as confirming his country’s participation in the “Operation Decisive Storm” against the Houthi coup in Yemen launched primarily with the aim of supporting the legitimate President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

The source also linked the Jordanian participation in the military campaign to supporting legitimacy in Yemen and its security and stability, reiterating that the security of Saudi Arabia and Gulf countries is a strategic interest of Jordan.

Jordan supports legitimacy in Yemen, said the source, declining to give further comments on whether the Kingdom would take part in a possible ground assault against the Houthi militias.

A Saudi air campaign was launched overnight which has already resulted in the elimination of several Houthi leaders, Al Arabiya News Channel reported, adding that Yemen air space is currently under full control of the Saudi Royal Air Force.

The Saudi-led coalition is made up of all GCC countries, barring Oman, in addition to Sudan, Egypt, Morocco, Pakistan and Jordan.

Interviewed by Al Arabiya News on Thursday, Jordanian political analysts linked their country’s participation in the campaign to its “pan-Arab” obligations towards defending the Arab world’s national security and its territorial integrity that is being violated by Iran in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Lebanon.

All the interviewed political commentators also agreed that Jordan’s participation in the anti-Houthi alliance is part of a larger Arab security coalition already formed, combining Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Morocco.

Saleh Qallab, former media minister and now a senator, described Jordan’s participation in the military operations against Yemen’s Houthis – so far in the form of intensified airstrikes – as “inseparable from defending the Arab world’s national security.”

“What matters most in the whole scene is not the Houthis inasmuch as it is Iran’s violations of the Arab world’s national security and its territorial unity,” Qallab said, adding, “Jordan has managed many times, through diplomatic channels, to persuade Iran to shy from intervening in inter-Arab affairs but all in vain.”

Earlier this month, Jordan’s Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh visited Tehran and met with high-ranking Iranian officials, including President Hassan Rouhani.

Plus, Qallab said, Iran has deployed thousands of its militias, backed by Lebanon’s Shiite Hezbollah, to southern Syria on the border with Jordan in “complete disregard of the kingdom’s sovereignty.”

Since the beginning of January, Iran has been reported as pushing hard into Syria’s southern front on the border with Jordan through an intensified military campaign against the Western-backed Syrian opposition using, in addition to its forces, Lebanon’s Hezbollah, pro-Iranian Iraqi militias and also Shiite Afghani fighters.

“Jordan’s participation in the military campaign in Yemen is also at the heart of defending its national security.”
Describing the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen as “highly needed,” Qallab noted that the Decisive Strom Operation should not be classified as “interference in another state’s affairs” as it was requested by Yemen’s legitimate President Hadi.

“Iranian warplanes had participated in the airstrikes that targeted Hadi’s presidential palace in the southern city of Aden.”

Qallab also said that Jordan has once suggested the formation of an Arab security coalition to defend the Arab national security and to stand firm against Iran’s interference. “The Arab forces now fighting side by side in Yemen are in fact part of the long-awaited Arab security coalition.”

The same remarks were raised by Jawad Anani, former Royal Court chief and several-time minister, who said, “It’s no way that Jordan acts unilaterally from an alliance comprising Cairo, Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and other GCC states.”

“Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE and all other GCC members in addition to Morocco, are Jordan’s strategic and longtime allies that Amman can’t afford to fail or act unilaterally,” Anani said, adding, “Culturally, historically, economically and strategically,

Jordan’s security is inseparable from the security of the Gulf states and Egypt. I wasn’t at all surprised to hear about Jordan’s participation in the anti-Houthi alliance.”

“The operation in Yemen is aiming primarily at defending the Arab world’s security and ending the Iranian intervention in a key Arab state.”

On whether Jordan’s participation in the military campaign in Yemen would exceed the level of airstrikes to sending ground troops, a Jordanian retired colonel said,” Yes, this might be an option.”

The ex-colonel, who requested anonymity, explained that there might be no need for ground operation in Yemen against the Houthis. “Intensified quality airstrikes can do the whole job.”

“But if the participating Arab states in the ‘Decisive Strom Operation’ think of another further step, Jordan will be ready.”

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