Despite the fact that the Jordanian Labour Minister Samir Murad visited Doha and before that, the Minister of Higher Education Adel Tuwaisi, their visits occurring within less than two months of each other, the diplomatic representation is still at a low level, as there has been no exchange of ambassadors between the two countries so far.
We do not know the true and practical reason behind the delay in raising the level of diplomatic representation, as the regional fears and concerns are at their lowest levels. In addition to this, we are witnessing significant growth in economic relations and mutual visits between the two countries, including a visit to Amman by Qatari officials.
On the outside, Qatar seems to be initiating this by proving grants and inviting ministers, but the truth is deeper than this. The relationship is existent and the Qatari measures are a result of this evolving reality, i.e. a response to a condition as the late Shaarawi said. A condition (diplomatic and economic activity) would not exist without the response, i.e. a strong relationship and common interests bringing the two countries together.
Qatar has announced a large grant to Jordan, which included aid and investments worth half a billion dollars and the provision of 10,000 jobs for Jordanians. The details of this were announced after the visit of the minister of labour to Doha on Tuesday 17 July.
Despite the development in the Jordanian-Qatari relations, they are being managed timidly and on partial ministerial levels (education and labour), bypassing the ambassadors. This reflects the regional concerns and fears of Arab parties cautious of this openness and development. While Qatar urgently wants to recover from the Gulf crisis and the siege imposed by the Arab quartet (UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain), it also highlights Jordan’s strong need to recover from the economic crisis and undeclared siege it is suffering from due to the regional crises and the prevalent state of uncertainty in the neighbouring countries.
The indicators confirm the difficulty of improving the regional environment surrounding Jordan within the next few months or years, especially since Riyadh and Abu Dhabi are preoccupied with their internal economic and political situations and their war in Yemen as well.
In terms of important issues affecting Amman is the fact that despite the Syrian regime’s advancement in the south and its control of the Nasib crossing, the opening of the crossing will require time, perhaps even several years. Meanwhile, in Iraq, despite the gradual recovery resulting from the defeat of Daesh, the trade movement and transit involving unloading shipments at the crossings in order for Iraqi trucks to deliver goods, there is still considered an obstacle to developing commercial movement. This is faced with fierce competition from the Arar crossing between Saudi Arabia and Iraq, as well as a crisis situation in the Iraqi arena, whose direction we are not sure of.
In light of these facts and indicators, Qatar and Jordan are capable of building a stable relationship that overcomes the concerns given the lack of alternatives and the lessening political and economic impact from regional parties. Qatar will provide Jordan with a social and economic outlet, as 10,000 jobs translate to major financial transfers that will revive the economy and commercial activity, including property (the purchase of land and flats by expats). It will also lessen the intensity and impact of the social crises caused by the economic crisis, most notably unemployment, low marriage rates and poverty, as there is great dependence on expatriates to contribute to the treatment of these crises and to provide social support, which in turn will move markets.
Rushing to develop relations between Doha and Amman has direct implications for the Jordanian society and is a matter not hindered by the expected regional repercussions. The 10,000 jobs are considered much more important than the grants, as it affects all of the social classes.
Raising the levels of representation and comprehensive openness is an important element for the Jordanians in order to activate the relationship between the two countries and societies and to maximise the economic and political gains and benefits. It will also send messages to the region regarding the distinction of this relationship and its vitality.
In conclusion, it has become known that the delay in raising the level of representation due to the fears and concerns resulting from the regional repercussions and the forces concerned by the development of the relationship between Doha and Amman is considered a pure loss for both counties and has no significant return. The political and regional concerns are no longer of much relevance and countries conflicting and competing with Qatar can limit their conflict and battle to the ICC in The Hague or the International Civil Aviation Organisation in Canada (ICAO). This will free the region from the repercussions of a crisis that has achieved only losses in the Arab world amounting to more than half a trillion dollars.
This article first appeared in Arabic in Arabi21 on 19 July 2018
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.