Centre for Research on Globalisation
Centre de recherche sur la mondialisation
Stratfor , 26 September/ septembre 2002
The United States is working on a plan to merge Iraq and Jordan into a unitary kingdom to be ruled by the Hashemite dynasty headed by King Abdullah of Jordan with Amman as the capital of the proposed new country, reveals a startling report made available here on Friday.
The idea to unite Jordan and Iraq in a pro-US Hashemite kingdom after an American war is aimed at "ensuring a stable post-war Iraq", according to Stratfor, a strategic forecasting think tank based in the US.
It says that as a US war against Iraq nears both Washington and Middle Eastern players are working to make sure the expected American victory will result in strategic long-term gains. "The idea of a central Iraq populated by Sunni Arabs joining with Jordan to form one Hashemite kingdom is being considered as one way to secure such gains," Stratfor says.
The plan, authored by US Vice President Dick Cheney, was first discussed at an unusual meeting between Crown Prince Hassan of Jordan and pro-US Iraqi Sunni opposition members in London in July.
The plan's goal in Iraq is to create a united Hashemite kingdom embracing Jordan and Iraq's Sunni areas. In a nutshell, the plan involves uniting Jordan and Sunni-populated areas of Iraq under the rule of the current Jordanian regime.
The report says this will be done if Iraqi Sunni leaders "appeal to King Abdullah with such a request, which has a weak but still legally valid justification, as Abdullah is the second cousin of the last Iraqi king, Faisal II, who was overthrown in 1958". The report says the plan will bring strategic benefits to the US, Israel and Jordan.
Benefits for US: The fact that the Western-based Iraqi opposition completely depends on Washington will help the "Hashemite Plan". The US favours the plan because the current goal of replacing Saddam Hussein with a pro-US Iraqi government still would not guarantee long-term US control over the territory and its oil.
"First, it may become too hard for a new government in Baghdad to effectively control the whole country, even with US troop support. An example is Afghanistan, in which the government of President Hamid Karzai still controls only the capital," the report says.
"Second, the new government's attempts to establish control over all of Iraq may well lead to a civil war between Sunni, Shia and Kurdish ethnic groups, with US troops caught in the middle. The fiercest fighting could be expected for control over the oil facilities," it adds. Uniting Jordan and Iraq under a Hashemite government will give US several strategic advantages.
"First, the creation of a new pro-US kingdom under the half-American Abdullah will shift the balance of forces in the region heavily in the US favour," the report says. After eliminating Iraq as a sovereign state, there would be no fear that one day an anti-American government would come to power in Baghdad, as the capital would be in Amman.
"Current and potential US geopolitical foes Iran, Saudi Arabia and Syria would be left isolated from each other, with big chunks of land between them under control of the pro-US forces," according to Stratfor.
"Equally important, Washington would be able to justify its long-term and heavy military presence in the region as necessary for the defence of a young new state asking for US protection and to secure the stability of oil markets and supplies. That in turn would help the US gain direct control of Iraqi oil and replace Saudi oil in case of conflict with Riyadh," it adds.
The richest oil areas would not go to the Hashemite kingdom but to a widely autonomous Kurdish region that still will be formally a part of the Hashemite state. To make sure the Kurds don't upset US ally Turkey by declaring an independent state, US will have the excuse of deploying its forces in the Kurdish region, with new bases located just next to oil fields in areas such as Kirkuk.
"Washington then will be able to offer the new Hashemite kingdom as a model for other Arab states, combining what the Arab masses see as the advantages of a traditional monarchy with the benefits of a US alliance," the report says.
"The potential combination of educated Iraqis, US aid and military assistance, and oil revenues might help the new state become a beacon for the Arab world to follow," it adds. Were more states to adopt this example, the geopolitical influence of both Saudi Arabia and Egypt would decline, making it easier for Washington to deal with them.
"In case of a future conflict with Saudi Arabia or Iran, US forces would be in the ideal position to strike not only from sea but also from land by using new bases in the Hashemite kingdom and the Kurdish region," the report reveals.
Benefits for Israel: "Iraq, arguably Israel's most determined foe, will be eliminated and Baghdad's end will deprive the Palestinians of much financial and other assistance, which can reduce the effectiveness of attacks against the Jewish state."
Benefits for Jordan: "King Abdullah will vastly expand his role and prominence in the region with a joint Hashemite state, becoming the second-most important US ally after Israel. In addition to his huge territorial gains, he also will get a chunk of Iraqi oil.
"And Palestinians, who currently make up half of Jordan's population, will become a minority in the new state, with much less potential to stir up trouble," the report adds.
Copyright STRATFOR 2002. For fair use only/ pour usage équitable seulement .
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