Skip to comments.Jordan renews territorial dispute against Syria
Posted on 10/29/2004 9:50:51 AM PDT by Mount Athos
Jordan has decided to renew a long dormant territorial dispute with Syria, and has issued Damascus with a formal demand to return territory illegaly seized in 1970.
This has been confirmed by western intelligence sources. Jordanian officials have refused to comment.
In September 1970 Syria attempted to invade Jordan and overthrow King Hussein, under the pretext of assisting the PLO uprising against the Jordanian government, in what became known as Black September.
Syrian president Nura din Attassi sent his 5th Armored division to invade Jordan and assist embattled PLO leader Arafat, who was besieged in Ammans refugee camps after having launched an unsuccessful uprising against the Hashemite dynasty.
The invasion collapsed after Syrian air force commander Hafez Assad refused to allow his air force to provide air cover to the Syrian armor, out of fear Israel would send its air force to the aid of the Jordanian monarch. RJAF gave their ground forces effective air cover, almost annihilating the Syrian tanks in Jordan.
In the wake of the debacle Assad succeeded in overthrowing Attassi in a bloodless coup, and assumed the presidency. However Syria retained in control of some 125 square kilometers (48 square miles) of Jordanian territory, which it holds to this day, and in which some 17,000 Syrians have been resettled.
Prior to his death in 1999, King Hussein made several demands of Syria to return his land, but to no avail. Some 20,000 Syrian settlers now occupy the site under the protection of Syrian soldiers and police.
The renewed Jordanian demand is based on the 1923 map, which delineated the border between what was then the British controlled East Palestine and French occupied Syria. The Jordanians claim the map clearly shows the disputed land belongs to Jordan.
In addition to the map, the claim also includes a subtle hint that force could be used if all else fails, was made at the behest of Washington. The US is angry and frustrated at Syria, which has brazenly flouted promises and commitments to end its clandestine cooperation with the Sunni insurgents in Iraq. In addition Syria has refused to honor a UN demand to live up to its commitment to vacate Lebanon. Instead Assad has acted to increase Syrias hold over Beirut, replacing former premier Al Hariri with a hand picked stooge.
As reported in Maariv International about a month ago, Syria has also, in coordination with its Iranian ally, allowed al Qaeda operatives to set up base on the Lebanese coast, in an area controlled by Hezbollah. Washington gave Jordan the go ahead after US intelligence caught wind that Damascus was two-timing it. On September 27, after the military cooperation accord was supposed to have gone into effect, Syrian vice president Abdel-Halim Khaddam paid a secret visit to the Syrian frontier town of Abu Kamal, across from Iraq's al-Qaim. The purpose of the visit was to discuss with the tribes who live in the border region and control the smuggling industry how to continue to allow the Iraqis to continue funneling arms, money and information across the border without being noticed by Uncle Sams prying eyes.
The move also hints that the US may be coming closer to accepting Israels position regarding the future of the Golan Heights. Syrias justification for keeping the land is that some 20,000 Syrians currently live there. This is almost the exact same number of Israelis living on the Golan. Golan "linkage" is the last thing Syria needs as tensions with Jordan heat up.
Taiwan has been a reasonable ally, why should that inspire Jordan?
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