Jordan’s King Abdullah II stated that Iran and its proxies were filling a vacuum left by Russia in southern Syria, warning that this could lead to issues along Jordan’s borders, during an interview on Wednesday at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
When asked about Iran, the king stated that “we want everybody to be part of a new Middle East and to move forward, but we do have security challenges. We’re seeing border attacks on a regular basis and we know who’s behind that.”
Abdullah II stressed that Russia’s presence in southern Syria was a “source of calm” and warned that Iran and its proxies were filling the vacuum left by Russia as it focuses on Ukraine. “Unfortunately we’re looking at maybe an escalation of problems on our borders.”
Recent reports indicated that Russia was withdrawing its forces in Syria in order to reinforce its forces in Ukraine, but these reports have not been officially confirmed.
“Do the politics, the negotiations that are going on between Saudia Arabia, the Gulf countries, the United States, does that move Iran into a more positive light? I hope so. I’m not seeing it on the ground at the moment,” added the Jordanian king.
Abdullah II also addressed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and tensions in Jerusalem in the past month, stressing that Arab leaders in the region realize that “the last month was a difficult one.”
“We had Ramadan, Passover and Easter holidays – but can we afford to go through this again next year?” questioned the king. “So I hope that the dust will settle in the next couple of weeks and then [the question is] how do we get Israelis and Palestinians to the table? Not because of politics but again because of dire socio-economic challenges coming out of COVID and compounded now with Ukraine and Russia.”
“What I see in the past several months is Arab leaders coming together and saying how can we chart a new vision for our region and it’s not just the Arab peninsula,” added Abdullah II. “How do we solve the Israeli-Palestinian issue because no matter what relations Arab countries have with Israel, if we don’t solve the Palestinian issue it’s really two steps forward and two steps back.”
The king stressed that Jordan still believes in a two-state solution, adding that it’s “the only solution that allows Israel’s integration into the Middle East is when we solve the issues for the Palestinians.”
Abdullah II gave the interview during an official visit to the United States, during which he also met with US President Joe Biden.