Jordan is urging the Obama administration to intensify efforts to find a political settlement to the Syrian conflict, warning that its northern neighbor appears increasingly headed toward either anarchy or a breakup that could imperil the region for decades to come.
Jordan’s monarch, King Abdullah II, presented a blunt assessment of the two-year-old conflict during meetings this week with congressional leaders and White House officials, citing evidence that a long-feared splintering of Syria along sectarian and tribal lines appears to be speeding up.
At the White House on Friday, the king described a ‘fragmentation of Syrian society, which is becoming more and more alarming.’ “We’re now seeing the surge of the second threat appear; which is that of militant terrorist organizations that have risen over the past several months,” Abdullah told reporters at the start of the meeting, his second with President Obama in a month.
Despite military gains by the rebels in some parts of Syria, Jordanian intelligence officials see potential for a protracted struggle lasting many more months or even longer, with neither side capable of a decisive victory. Left on its current trajectory, the conflict will result in “a Taliban-style failed state, or a series of small mini-states,” said a senior Jordanian official, insisting on anonymity in discussing intelligence assessments. “We’re looking at the potential for sectarian spillover, threatening the whole region.”