Ammon News, Editor's Choice

Experts call for more aid to Jordan for Syrian refugees

[7/14/2019 3:49:30 PM]

AMMONNEWS - Experts have called for increasing aid to Jordan as the country has so far received less than 6 percent of its financial needs to help provide services to Syrian refugees. According to figures released recently by the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, the funding for the 2019 Jordan Response Plan, which seeks to help Jordan overcome challenges ensuing from the Syrian crisis, reached only 5.7 percent of the target figure at the end of the first half of the year. "Jordan has been very generous providing services for the Syrian refugees and the international community needs to honor its commitments to the Kingdom," economist Wajdi Makhamreh told Xinhua on Sunday. "The decline in aid will severely affect the level of services provided for refugees and host community, there is a need to drum up support to the Kingdom," he added. Economist Hosam Ayesh called for more support to Jordan, which is hosting some 1.3 million Syrian refugees. "Jordan needs continued support to be able to provide all types of services...The economic situation in Jordan is difficult and Jordan needs all the support it could get at this stage," he told Xinhua on Sunday. *Xinhua

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Turkish ambassador commends Jordan's successful policy in region

[7/14/2019 10:06:23 AM]

AMMONNEWS - Turkish Ambassador to Jordan Murat Karagoz said Jordan is leading a very successful policy under very difficult circumstances in the Middle East, and that the Kingdom is playing a vital and moderate role in the region. The ambassador noted in a press conference marking the third anniversary of the failed coup attempt on July 15, that the coup failed thanks to the Turkish people. "The coup attempt was one of the bloodiest attempts in Turkey's history, during which many buildings were shelled, more than 251 Turks were killed and 2,000 others were injured," he said. The ambassador praised the stance of the Jordanian government and people on the coup attempt, solidarity with Turkey and the closure of the school funded by Fethullah Gulen. The ambassador praised the level of Jordanian-Turkish relations, pointing out that there are mutual and continuous visits between the two countries' leadership. He noted that His Majesty King Abdullah II and President RecepTayyip Erdogan met five times during the past two years, pointing to visits by heads of parliament, senate and government officials that focused on boosting relations between Jordan and Turkey. He pointed out that the number of Jordanian tourists to Turkey is constantly increasing, pointing to air flights between Amman and the Turkish cities. Regarding trade relations, Karagoz said: "Although the trade agreement between the two countries has been suspended, relations are still ongoing, pointing out that there is a trade document that is ready to be signed between the two countries." The document aims at finding a new mechanism for trade relations, and will be signed during the visit of the minister of industry and trade to Turkey soon. He pointed out that a Jordanian trade delegation will visit Turkey in September, adding that the visit will also focus on promoting tourism in Jordan. Karagoz said that the Jordanian-Turkish work committee will visit Jordan to discuss joint cooperation projects in various fields and meet with Prime Minister Dr. Omar al-Razzaz. "The year 2020 will be the year of culture between Turkey and Jordan and there will be cultural days between the two countries that will help in promoting tourism in the Kingdom," the ambassador added. With regard to the deal of the century, he said that Turkey supports the rights of the Palestinian people and believes in the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital on the 1967 borders. Turkey also supports the Hashemite custodianship over Al-Aqsa mosque and holy sites in Jerusalem," he added. The ambassador criticized the US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the transfer of the US embassy to it, as well as the US' decision to recognize Israel's sovereignty over the Golan. "These measure he said, will not contribute to achieving peace in the region and the Deal of the Century will not achieve the aspired peace," Karagoz added. With regard to Turkey's purchase of Russian missiles, he said: "Turkey needs land and air missiles, and ten years ago it specified the sources from which it can obtain such missiles." He said that his government held negotiations with NATO countries but did not reach any results, and with time and with the Syrian crisis, there was an increasing need for these missiles, and therefore, Turkey decided to buy them from Russia to meet its urgent needs. He pointed out that his country needs other defense systems that may be purchased from the United States or other countries.

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Steady rise in teen terror recruiting in Rukban camp

[7/11/2019 8:34:48 AM]

AMMONNEWS - The number of cases when militants recruit teenagers from the Syrian Rukban camp has considerably grown over the past month, according to a joint statement made by heads of the interdepartmental coordination headquarters of Russia and Syria Mikhail Mizintsev and Hussein Makhlouf on Wednesday. "According to the relevant UN structures, despite the withdrawal of more than 16,000 Syrian citizens from Rukban, the situation in the camp is rapidly deteriorating. It is due to the fact that most of those who managed to leave this ‘death camp’ are teachers, medical workers and small entrepreneurs who organized food sale, and after they had left violence and children’s mortality grew in the camp. Besides, the number of cases of recruiting teenagers by different armed groups soared during the past month," the document says. The heads of the coordination headquarters expressed serious concerns over the reduction in the number of refugees leaving Rukban as caused by the strive of US-controlled criminal groups staying there to keep "human shield" in the person of the camp residents as long as possible. "For this purpose, the militants are constantly increasing prices for people’s access through the 55-km-long Al-Tanf zone to the Jleb crossing point. We expect the United Nations to provide more assistance in the implementation of practical moves for Rukban’s resettlement. Everything is ready for it on the part of Syria’s government," the statement says. The Syrian administration guarantees security to returning citizens as well as observance of the world organization’s requirements for their orderly settlement. "We call on the American side to observe human rights and insist on urgent moves to provide free access for the camp’s residents," the document says. The Rukban camp was established on the Syrian-Jordanian border in 2014 after Amman had closed the border out of security concerns. Illegal armed groups control the neighboring region, which led to a tough humanitarian situation in the camp. *Tass

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Jordan will continue support to Palestinians, says Transport Minister

[7/7/2019 10:11:46 AM]

AMMONNEWS - Transport Minister Anmar Khasawneh on Sunday stressed Jordan's ongoing support for Palestinians in all political, technical and service issues. During a meeting with his Palestinian counterpart Asem Salem, Khasawneh said: "We discussed several issues of common interest, facilitating transport operations in all its forms, and simplifying the procedures of transporting people and goods between the two countries, with the aim of developing economic ties and simplifying procedures to use the Aqaba port through the King Hussein Bridge." He pointed out that some amendments have been discussed regarding the cooperation protocol on the transport of goods and people currently in force between the two countries, in terms of allowing the entry of ambulances and bicycles. On rail links between the two countries, the minister stated that Jordan halted the matter pending the agreement of the Palestinian side and the other party on the points of convergence in the area of Bisan or Jenin. During the meeting, the Palestinian Minister expressed keenness to increase Palestinian imports through the Aqaba port and making it the main point of import due to its unique location and facilitations. Salem noted that the Palestinian Authority is seeking to dispense with the use of the Port of Ashdod to import goods, and choose the Aqaba port as a substitute.

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Can The Bahrain Conference Lead to Peace in The ME Region?

[6/26/2019 7:05:34 AM]

AMMONNEWS - The Trump administration sees the two-day “Peace to Prosperity” summit in Bahrain’s capital this week as marking the first step in a grander plan aimed at resolving the decades-old conflict between Palestinians and Israelis. Yet, due to a host of factors, this conference in Manama has left many Arab leaders nervously facing a predicament. The Jordanian government is particularly unsettled by this summit and the ramifications for the region as well as possible turmoil in the Hashemite Kingdom. Although details of the so-called “Deal of the Century” are not known to the public, reports indicate that the US peace plan entails the consolidation of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land outside of the Jewish state’s internationally recognised borders and Jordan being required to absorb descendants of Palestinians who were ethnically cleansed during the Nakba of 1947-1948. Put simply, most experts believe that the “Deal of the Century” dismisses the notion of Palestinian rights, grants nearly everything to Israel, and does so at the expense of Jordan’s vital interests. Many observers consider the intended purpose of this “workshop” to be the establishment of the foundation for the “Deal of the Century”, placing Jordan’s leadership in an awkward position as Amman does not want to see Jordan as an “alternative homeland” for Palestinians. Considering the potential marginalisation of Jordanian interests, it is not difficult to understand why so many have taken their anger against the “Deal of the Century” to the street. On June 21, hundreds of Jordanian supporters of the Islamic Action Front (the country's largest opposition group) in Amman protested the “Deal of the Century” and called on their government to boycott the “workshop” in Manama, chanting “O Trump, O Trump, go away from us. Jordan is steadfast and we will never kneel...No to normalisation with Israel... down, down with the Bahrain conference.” Amman is under pressure from Washington and Riyadh, which supplies the Hashemite Kingdom with much economic aid, to attend the conference and possibly help lend Jared Kushner some degree of credibility in his “peacemaker” role. As there are growing signs of discontent within Jordan as well continued calls for major reforms, striking this delicate balance between Jordanian citizens and allies will be challenging for the leadership in Amman. To engage with the Trump administration and show support to Gulf kingdoms without being perceived as having betrayed the Palestinians, Jordan will attend the summit but while also opposing plans that do not call for a sovereign, independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. From a domestic standpoint, embracing any solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict other than the two-state solution would be political suicide for Jordan’s leaders, thus, Jordanian officials are reluctant to attend this conference. Amman also has further concerns about this “workshop” triggering a grave and existential crisis for Jordan. Throughout the Hashemite Kingdom, there is concern about how the US, Israel, and certain Gulf states are dealing with the Palestinian issue in ways that severely threaten stability in Jordan. Many experts believe that if Jordan would absorb the Palestinian refugees, the international community would eventually drop the Palestine file and forget the “right of return” as established under international law. Under such circumstances, Jordan would pay a significant price, and the country’s communal tensions could easily flare up because of the demographic implications of the “Deal of the Century” moving forward. Tribal Jordanians, who have roots in the East Bank and who have historically served as a foundation of support for the Hashemite Kingdom’s monarchy, have fears about such demographic changes that would result from Jordan officially granting Jordanian citizenship to these Palestinians who would become a new voting majority in Jordan. What will unfold at this “workshop” in Manama? As admitted by Kushner, who will set forth a vision for the Palestinians’ economic development at this conference, the summit cannot achieve anything if political problems, which this conference will not address, are not resolved. Scores of businessmen, investors, and government officials will attend this summit. The Palestinian leadership is boycotting the event, but there one report states that a Palestinian business delegation will attend. Israeli officials will probably sit out too. The “workshop” will be nothing more than a “kabuki show” as one former US ambassador put it. All the Arab states which are sending representatives understand that nothing will be achieved at this summit, yet their interest in currying favour with the White House has given these governments incentive to participate. Although nothing positive can likely come out of the conference, there are many reasons why regional governments have been on alert as the summit kicks off. Some analysts have raised the possibility of Iran, which accuses the Arab Gulf states that are hosting/attending of betraying the Palestinians, provoking a conflict with the Israelis via Tehran-backed militias in Gaza such as Islamic Jihad. At the same time, further protests in Jordan and Palestine are expected, as this summit will inevitably trigger anger among Jordanians and Palestinians who oppose the decision of Arab states to engage with Kushner and others in the Trump administration, which has broken with its predecessors by rejecting the two-state solution as the basis for resolving the conflict. Jordan rightfully sees the Trump administration’s vision for the economic development of the Palestinian people as disingenuous. Ultimately, channelling in money from the Gulf and elsewhere to steer a technocratic solution to the crisis between Palestinians and Israelis without even acknowledging the basic fact that political problems sit at the heart of this conflict is not a realistic plan for establishing lasting peace or prosperity. *TRT World

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Saudi Arabia a strategic depth to Jordan, says political affairs minister

[6/17/2019 4:19:30 PM]

AMMONNEWS - Minister of Political and Parliamentary Affairs, Musa Maaytah, described the Jordanian-Saudi relations as "solid and firm," adding Saudi Arabia "is a strategic depth for Jordan". The minister's remarks came during his meeting on Monday here with Chairman of the Saudi Parliamentary Brotherhood Committee, Saleh bin Manea al-Khalewi , who is visiting the Kingdom heading a delegation representing the Saudi Shura Council. During the meeting, Maaytah stressed the depth of Jordanian-Saudi relations at various levels under the leadership of His Majesty King Abdullah II and Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. The minister expressed his hope to promote joint Arab solidarity, amid the crises experienced by some countries in the region. On the ministry's parliamentary activities, Maaytah said the relationship between the government and the Parliament is "complementary". For his part, al-Khalewi described as "historic, firm, and distinguished" the relations between the two countries, and are "getting closer continuously" to serve the two brotherly peoples. The positions of the two countries are always in support of the Arab and Islamic nations' issues, he noted, lauding the level of continued coordination and consultation between the two wise countries' leaderships.

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US-Based Jordanian Sentenced to 15 Years in Jail for Trying to Join ISIS

[6/15/2019 9:15:19 AM]

AMMONNEWS - A Jordanian citizen who was living in Ohio has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for attempting to join the ISIS terrorist group. US District Judge Walter Rice also sentenced Laith Waleed Alebbini to 25 years of probation Thursday, but the 28-year-old Alebbini likely will be deported after his prison term. Alebbini was arrested at the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport in 2017. Prosecutors say he was trying to fly to Turkey or Jordan before joining with ISIS fighters in Syria. He was charged with conspiring and attempting to provide support to a foreign terrorist organization. Federal authorities said Alebbini wanted to become a suicide bomber. The Dayton Daily News reports Alebbini told the judge he has always been against terrorism and he never "thought of harming the American people." *Asharq Al-Awsat

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