Three Civil Wars

The news world seems a bit abuzz with HM King Abdullah’s reference to the possibility of three civil wars emerging in the region, yesterday on “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos. I find it a bit odd since the international media is treating this like the King has just discovered a problem no one knew about when in fact it’s more like pointing out an obvious reality that granted not many world leaders are willing to go as far as describing. Perhaps it comes from apprehension. There are estimates that on average 100,000 Iraqis have been fleeing monthly to Jordan and Syria. The conflict in Lebanon since the summer has seen an upsurge of Lebanese in the country as well. The question thus becomes how long can a country like Jordan continue to play host without in effect collapsing economically.

“We’re juggling with the strong potential of three civil wars in the region, whether it’s the Palestinians, that of Lebanon, or of Iraq,”

…”I don’t think we’re in a position where we can come back and revisit the problem in early 2007,”

“When it comes to things exploding out of control, I would put today, as we stand, Palestine and probably a close tie with Lebanon,” he said. “Iraq, funny enough, although as concerned as I am with Iraq and the major problems that might bring to us, is in third position.”

The United States, he said, needs to look at the “total picture” and be ready to talk with all parties in the area — including Syria and Iran — about a wide range of issues.

“We can possibly imagine going into 2007 and having three civil wars on our hands,” Abdullah said. “And therefore, it is time that we really take a strong step forward as part of the international community and make sure we avert the Middle East from a tremendous crisis that I fear.”

The King’s decision to appear on the show briefly seems to have a hint of political strategy to it as the American administration is in the neighborhood this week with President Bush in Jordan to meet the Iraqi PM, and VP Cheaney in Saudi Arabia.

Those words will probably be reiterated this week but I doubt any good will come of it. How long the country can survive with relative stability while the dominoes fall around us is something that’s yet to be seen.

In my opinion, a civil war in either Lebanon or Palestine has the larger potential to contain itself within its own borders whereas Iraq is the personification of spillover.


  • Collapse? Jordan is thriving off the war in Iraq. Foreign investment in Jordan has increased through the roof, and the US military uses your beloved country to ship its weapons through the military airport just East of Amman.

    The King may say he wants an end to the war because he has to politically, but the economists, without a moral compass to be seen, want to the war to age on. Without it, Jordan’s economy really will collapse.

  • ammani: strange how one calls themselves ammani but uses the patronizing “your”, perhaps even with a hint of orientalism.

    in any case…jordan has indeed benefited from the war economically but at a significant cost. in a country of 5 million, nearly a million have now been added on to count in less than 3 years which is a large influx in a short period of time. consumption has driven up demand which has driven up prices to an all time high and the average JO is worse off economically today than they were before the war. add to that the fact that most of the investment is not from iraq or iraqis but from the kuwait and the gulf. most, if not all, investment is focused on driving real estate prices up and in long term (10 years +) projects that have yet to yeild any advantage for the average JO.

    with a million iraqis in the country and geographical barriers, long term instability in iraq will spillover to instability in jordan and any foreign investment will come to a grinding halt.

  • Maybe it a warning to the arab people that either they accept the dictatorships in the arab world or u will face what the new-born democracies in Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq are facing which is civil war.

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