Syrian President, Hafez Al-Assad, arrived in Amman on Tuesday (10 June) for a three-day visit to Jordan -- the first by a Syrian ruler for 20 years.
Syrian President, Hafez Al-Assad, arrived in Amman on Tuesday (10 June) for a three-day visit to Jordan -- the first by a Syrian ruler for 20 years. Such an event was unthinkable only months ago because Jordan's King Hussein had led his country progressively into deeper isolation rom the rest of the Arab world -- especially the militant Syrians.
Hussein's suppression of Palestinian commandoes within his borders in 1970 led to an abortive invasion by Syrian tanks.
The rapprochement between President Assad and King Hussein bodes ill for Israel as it raises the spectre of having to fight on a third eastern front in any new fighting in the Middle East. In the 1973 October War Hussein refused to join the Arab forces -- mainly because of his kingdom's lack of air cover and vulnerability to Israel air strikes. However, after an arms buying trip to the U.S. in May that gained a guarantee for the supply of a sophisticated anti-aircraft missile system, Jordan began initiatives to re-enter the Arab fold. This was fostered by Egypt's President Sadat.
It was therefore important that the first day of President Assad's trip should feature a trip to a frontline Jordanian air force base to view a showing of jet fighters and aerial weaponry.