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An SOS reminder from Jordan’s King Abdullah

Jordan’s participation in the fight against ISIS was a complete surprise as it had been expected to not go beyond intelligence and logistic support

Raed Omari

Published: Updated:

As the leader of a country at the heart of the Middle East’s complicated politics and at the forefront of its never-ending unrest, there was much of uneasiness in Jordanian King Abdullah’s speech at the 69th U.N. General Assembly. This is especially the case when it comes to the region’s three mega issues: Palestine, Syria and now, terrorism.

On such issues, Jordan has been showing an unaltered stance, favoring a comprehensive political solution to the Syrian crisis and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and decisiveness when it comes to terrorism. In his speech, King Abdullah has in fact reiterated a steady Jordanian position.

To better address the region’s woes, the king called on the world to work collaboratively and decisively, reminding the audience of the centrality of the Middle East in the world’s security and stability. “The security of every nation will be shaped by the fate of the Middle East,” he states, adding, “Together, we can and must undertake urgent humanitarian and security measures create durable solutions for today’s crises and provide new opportunities for dialogue, reconciliation, prosperity and peace.”

However, the king’s remarks also reflected his weariness at the word’s inaction on the region and his dismay with some countries for detaching themselves from the regional crises; “In my region, the challenges have grown significantly since I spoke here last. Those who say, this is not our business are wrong.” At least when it comes to Syria, It is beyond doubt that the situation there would have never been the way it is now if it had been addressed with more international responsibility.

Refugees in the spotlight

Since the early days of the Syrian crisis, Jordan’s official rhetoric on the Syrian war and its accompanying refugee influx has been marked by dissatisfaction with the inadequate amount of international assistance it receives compared with what is taken from its depleting budget.

Jordan’s participation in the fight against ISIS was a complete surprise as it had been expected to not go beyond intelligence and logistic support

Raed Omari

Such an SOS reminder to the world has been raised by King Abdullah who said that the world’s response to the refugee crisis and his kingdom’s resulting woes “has not kept pace with the real needs.” Reminding the audience that his resource-poor country is sheltering nearly 1.4 million Syrians, the king called for “a concerted effort to get humanitarian assistance flowing inside Syria, and to support host countries and communities, including Jordan.”

Participating also in the recent Clinton Global Initiative opening panel discussions, the king said, “Jordan has been a country that always welcomes refugees because it is the right thing to do.” However, the monarch cited last year’s situation in which most of the aid that came from donor countries and organizations only accounted for 39 percent of the assistance Jordan needed. The king added that the cost of taking in refugees is expected to reach $4 billion this year, while Jordan has received only 40 percent of the anticipated aid so far.

Tackling the global threat

King Abdullah described terrorism in Syria and Iraq as a “global threat”, calling for collaborative international efforts to eradicate the phenomena through action on the ground and through counter intellectual measures, so to speak, to spread the true essence of Islam that abhors radicalism and extremism.

In addition to his country being a member in the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), King Abdullah said Jordan supports “a number of initiatives to counter extremism. As representative of the Asia-Pacific bloc on the U.N. Security Council, we look for a strong outcome of the council’s Summit on Threats to International Peace and Security Caused by Terrorist Acts, chaired by President Obama.”

In fact, Jordan’s participation in the fight against ISIS was a complete surprise as it had been expected to not go beyond intelligence and logistic support. But Jordan has decided to send its jet fighters to Syria after seeing long-awaited U.S. decisiveness on the war-torn country and also with regards to terrorism nearing its doorsteps.

The centrality of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in the region’s dilemma has been also highlighted by the king who, instructing the world on the necessary course of action, has reminded Israel that the way to security and welfare within the region lies in its commitment to the two-state solution. For the king, the two-state solution encompasses mutual interests for the Israelis and Palestinians alike, granting security to the former in exchange of statehood for the latter.

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Raed Omari is a Jordanian journalist, political analyst, parliamentary affairs expert, and commentator on local and regional political affairs. His writing focuses on the Arab Spring, press freedoms, Islamist groups, emerging economies, climate change, natural disasters, agriculture, the environment and social media. He is a writer for The Jordan Times, and contributes to Al Arabiya English. He can be reached via raed_omari1977@yahoo.com, or on Twitter @RaedAlOmari2

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.