Jordan’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, Ayman Safadi, on Thursday spoke on the phone with Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, and the two senior officials discussed bilateral relations and regional developments, Petra, Jordan’s state news agency, reported on Thursday.
The two ministers agreed to continue holding security meetings to continue the political communication between their two countries, to reach understandings that establish future relations, consolidate cooperation, and contribute to enhancing security, stability, and cooperation in the region.
This, folks, is very bad news. Israel’s border with Jordan is the longest, 192 miles, starting at the Gulf of Eilat, passing through the Arabah desert, the Dead Sea region, the Jordan Valley, and the Beit Shan Valley, concluding at Hamat Gader in the southeastern Golan Heights, the border triangle of Israel, Jordan, and Syria. Should Iran be able to encroach into Jordan and spread its militias along this very long border, as it has done in Lebanon and Syria, this would easily double the security burden on Israel.
Thursday was a busy day for Foreign Minister Amir-Abdollahian. As Arab News reported, he held another important phone call, this time with Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan. The two discussed the next phase in their renewed relations through a deal that was brokered by China. Between March 4 and 6, both ministers were the guests of China’s President Xi Jinping in Beijing and became friends. Iran promised to end the constant Huthi attacks on the Saudis, and the Saudis promised to stop raiding Yemen in search of those Huthis.
This is what the Middle East looks like when the man in the White House stops caring. Iran’s stellar diplomatic victory in Saudi Arabia was bad enough, but the fact that it came after President Biden had visited the kingdom personally to beg the Saudi heir apparent MBS (Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud) to increase oil production to help the US fight its runaway inflation––and was refused (even ridiculed on Saudi TV), that made the Iranians practically glow.
But wait, there’s so much more: after re-establishing diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia, Iran’s foreign ministry said in mid-March that Tehran wants to improve relations with Egypt, too. Egypt is the only Arab country without an embassy in Iran. Their relationship went downhill following the 1979 Camp David Accords when Egypt recognized Israel. Later, Egypt supported Iraq in its eight-year war with Iran. And there was that time when Iran praised Khalid Islambouli, the man who assassinated President Anwar Sadat.
Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Nasser Kanaani told a press conference last month that “Egypt is an important country and the two states (Iran and Egypt) attach significance to each other. The region requires the positive potential of Tehran and Cairo.”
He also revealed that Iran and Egypt had held talks on the sidelines of the second Baghdad Conference for Cooperation and Partnership that was held in Jordan in December 2022.
See how it all ties up? Oh, but there’s so much more. Last January, in an interview with Bloomberg, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani urged the Persian Gulf Arab nations to enter a dialogue with Iran, saying the time was right for Doha to broker negotiations now that the neighbors have begun to patch up their own differences. Most Gulf Arab states are harassed by Iranian proxy militias, they suffer regularly from Iranian support for dissident movements within their borders, and, of course, they are terrified of what might happen the day after Iran gets its nuclear weapon. This fear has made the Gulf States Israel’s natural allies. But now, with the prospect of a Chinese-brokered agreement with the devil next door, there’s no telling how many signatories of the Abraham Accords would resist the temptation to drop their reliance on Israel in favor of the peace of the cowards.
Frankly, you can’t blame them. With the US reluctance to meddle in regional affairs––which both the Trump and Biden administrations advocated––the Gulf States’ logical move would be to rely on China to curb the Iranian enthusiasm.
Iranian Deputy Minister of Roads and Urban Development for Transportation Affairs Shahriar Afandizadeh on April 6 announced that with the launch of the Shalamcheh-Basra Railway, Iran will be connected to countries like Jordan, Syria, and other neighboring countries in addition to Iraq. The new railway will be 32 kilometers long and when it is launched, Iran’s railway network will be connected to Jordan, Syria, and also other neighboring states. This relatively short stretch of rail represents a major shift in regional trade relations, with Iran starring once again as a legitimate player.
It’s a setback for Israel, with terrible potential consequences. It’s a disaster for the US role in the Middle East whose erosion is now almost complete.