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US warns that Jordanian regime could fall as a result of the Syrian crisis

February 4, 2014 at 10:30 am

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham has expressed his concern that the Jordanian regime is threatened by the ongoing Syria conflict, pointing out that King Abdullah is moderate and America’s ally in the region. Graham called for Washington to take a more decisive stand on Syria.

Presenting four reasons to encourage the Obama administration to “change course on Syria”, the senator stressed that most of his colleagues in the Senate have become more inclined to the idea that the United States should play a greater role in this matter.

While a military official denied that a Syrian aircraft had penetrated the Kingdom’s airspace or that explosions had taken place on the border with Syria resulting in casualties, a well-informed Jordanian political source affirmed on Friday that there is increasing pressure on his country because of the Syrian crisis. The political source told the Khaleej newspaper that King Abdullah told senior US officials in Washington that he absolutely rejects any Jordanian military intervention in the Syrian crisis. “Jordan wants to distance itself from troubling repercussions related to foreign schemes or Syrian reactions,” said the monarch. “The situation leaves us between a rock and a hard place.”

The source neither denied nor confirmed that Jordan could request monitoring batteries on the northern border as a “precautionary” step, but added that there is no formal wish to allow Jordanian territory to be used for attacking others: “Resolving the Syrian crisis peacefully is the first priority on the table for discussion with the leaders.”

Speaking on CBS News programme Face the Nation, Senator Graham said that four things could happen in Syria if Washington did not change its position: First, Syria could become a safe haven for Al-Qaeda and would become a “failed state by the end of the year; it’s fracturing along sectarian/ethnic lines”. Second, there will be enough weapons of mass destruction to kill millions. They could, he claimed, fall into the “wrong hands” and reach American soil.

The third reason relates to Graham’s fears that the Jordanian regime could fall with the flow of Syrian refugees into Jordan, as their number could possibly hit 3 million. Finally, the senator warned that if the US situation does not change, Iran’s nuclear programme could go ahead, with Tehran viewing Washington’s inaction as a sign of weakness.

“If we maintain this hands-off approach to Syria, this indecisive action toward Syria, kind of not knowing what we’re going to do next, we’re going to start a war with Iran because Iran’s going to take our inaction in Syria as meaning we’re not serious about its nuclear weapons programme,” he told CBS News.