MidEast

Israel and Jordan Intensify Cooperation as Iran Tightens Grip on Southern Syria

Israel and Jordan have intensified diplomatic relations over the last weeks as a response to the changing situation on the ground in Syria and Iraq, Haaretz reported Wednesday.

The two countries have noted with growing concern the renewed strength of the Assad regime in southern Syria, particularly in regards to the role played by Iran. Tehran is propping up the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad in order to consolidate power in Syria and Iraq, as well as to ensure that its proxy Hezbollah has the continued capability to wage war against Israel.

The United States has also warned about gains made by Iran-backed Shiite militia along the Iraqi side of the border, which eventually linked up with forces affiliated to the Assad regime in Syria.

Iran will likely try to exploit recent territorial gains made by the Assad regime and its proxies by deploying forces from the Islamic Revolutionary Guards and allied Shiite militias along the Syrian borders with Israel and Jordan.

The Hashemite kingdom is both under threat from Sunni Islamist groups like Islamic State and the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as Iran’s growing influence in the region. Since the stability of Jordan is a priority for Israel, American and Arab sources have reported that Jerusalem has provided the kingdom with intelligence and security assistance to better equip the Jordanians against the threats they face.

Disturbed by a report a few months ago from Israel’s ambassador to Jordan, Einat Schlein, who painted a grim picture of the security situation inside the kingdom, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot is said to have promised behind closed doors that Israel would lend support to the Jordanians if needed. It is not clear what manner of assistance he had in mind.

[Photo: World Economic Forum]