“Staring at the abyss” in the Middle East
Marc Lynch at Foreign Policy paints a fairly depressing view from his recent visit to Jordan:
My conversations with more than two dozen Jordanian officials, political activists, journalists and analysts suggest that on this, at least, the King reflects a widespread Jordanian consensus. Jordanians are growing increasingly frustrated with the Obama team’s approach, alarmed at Netanyahu’s unpunished intransigence, and downright frantic about the trend in Jerusalem. If we don’t start seeing progress soon, with stronger American leadership, then the “tinderbox” could explode..
…Jordanian officials and the public alike are deeply, profoundly worried about the course of Israeli-Palestinian relations. Worried whispering about (or eager anticipation of) the outbreak of a new Intifada was everywhere. Confidence in Obama’s ability to deliver, especially with regard to Israel, has collapsed. But most still hope that it’s not too late for Obama to reverse course. His words at the UN General Assembly rallied their spirits briefly. But it won’t last absent clear progress towards resuming the talks based on a clear, mutually acceptable framework for negotiations. If that doesn’t happen by the end of the year, then we could be staring at the abyss.
I’ve been thinking about this since Marc blogged last night. I was in Jordan during the height of Obamamania – yes, I will call it that – and I remember the huge interest people had in the man who would then go on to become President. But the future of Palestine plays heavily on the minds of people there. And I often think that Jordan doesn’t get enough credit for that. Its not just about the amount of refugees the country has absorbed since 1948 or that they have a vested interest in the peace process; but to give it a more literal twist, it is also because you can actually look across into the border of the country that has become a living hell for its inhabitants. The clock is ticking – it has been for over half a century now – and yet any semblance of peace remains as elusive as it ever was.
Meanwhile, we’ll let you know when applications to join the next intifada open up.