Regional prestige and the requirements of the crucial role

Dr. Ibrahim Badran

Jordan enjoys an intermediate position among the countries of the Middle East. In addition to its geographical mediation, the moderate policy of the Jordanian state, and not attracted to biased or non-peaceful blocs, has made handling it from all sides easy and without complications, and in most cases it is desirable.
As a result, several calls and ideas were launched in the Jordanian administration, especially among them: a call made by the king 20 years ago, which is that Jordan should be a regional center for information technology. A second idea is that Jordan should be a center for food security in the region. The third was presented by a former prime minister, to the effect that Jordan would be a center for energy distribution in the region, especially to Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine, and the fourth was that Jordan should be the logistics center in the region be. facilitate trade and transport movement, and the fifth idea that Jordan should be a magnet for foreign investment and projects, and a sixth idea that it is Jordan a diplomatic center for all countries in the region, and other similar ideas.
Of course, these and similar ideas are of great importance from a political, economic and regional perspective, and deserve all the attention. Jordan has the human capital and regional and international relations that will enable him to achieve success if he decides to participate in hard work. But the real challenge before the state is not only to release ideas and suggestions about their importance, but to implement these ideas and make them a national project, so that it becomes a reality for the citizen to experience, especially if the state is the center. and the starting point.
The potential partners (with the exception of the Zionist entity) not only look at the maps and make the decision in their light, but they look primarily at the governance mechanisms and the infrastructure associated with the issue and the partnerships that will work with it. . , and whether they are able to handle new strategic projects and thus carry new burdens. If there is no suitable infrastructure, no efficient and effective administrative machine, and no partners far from the control of wealth and bureaucracy, then no one is worried about the issue.
In the field of information technology, many countries have unfortunately preceded us, and today Jordan ranks 7th in the region and 64th in the world, while a small country like Cyprus ranks 32nd in the world. In terms of our ICT index, it is 50 (out of 100), and Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Kuwait are ahead of us in this area. It is with the availability of our human capital of technicians, engineers and experts.
In terms of transportation and logistics, it is true that Jordan could be a regional center connecting the Gulf states with the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea through Aqaba and then Egypt, thus shortening thousands of marine kilometers in the Gulf and then around the Arabian Peninsula. . , but the question is, is public transportation organized within Jordan? Where are the modern transport systems? Why has there been no serious interest in developing it over the years? Knowing that modern transport is one of the main pillars of economic and social development.
What prevents work from establishing a national railroad that connects northern and southern Jordan, connects governorships, connects cities with towns, and maintains a balanced demographic distribution? At that time, Saudi Arabia could build a supplement to it in Saudi countries as far as the Persian Gulf.
This is while we remember that the Hijaz railway entered Jordan 114 years ago. Why is the construction of a system of pipelines for oil and oil-derived instruments ignored, and content with individual transportation by tankers, to transport more than 100,000 barrels per day, knowing that the Tapline entered the country 75 years ago? It is often said that the United States and Israel behind it placed obstacles in front of the Aqaba railways to the north of the Kingdom in preparation for an Israeli Gulf network beginning in Haifa to cross northern Jordan and in Saudi Arabia. Arabia ends. , as part of the occupying power’s strategy to control the vital joints of the Arab East.
In the field of energy, it is true that we have an electrical connection with Syria and the transmission line can extend to Lebanon, and it is true that we have an electrical connection line with Palestine, and that an agreement has been signed for a similar line with Iraq.
But the important question is, can Jordan export electricity in reasonable quantities on a regular basis? And for long periods of time and at what cost? How can Jordan export electricity in acceptable quantities and at competitive economic cost, while being an importer of the fuel needed to generate electricity? The cost of fuel today is more than 80% of the total cost of electrical energy. In the sense that the basis of competitiveness is not based on the mere availability of generating capacity, as is the case with us, but mainly depends on the availability of fuel at reasonable and guaranteed prices for a medium or long period.
The feasibility of interconnection projects with the aim of exporting electrical energy depends to some extent on the price of fuel. Unfortunately, despite the suspension of the Tapline 35 years ago, we have not yet signed a long-term agreement with Arab oil or gas producing countries such as Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Qatar or Algeria to import fuel. A few weeks ago, the Iraqi government decided to abandon the proposed oil pipeline project from Iraq to Aqaba, despite years and years of research and negotiation on the project and the preparation of documents, plans and letters of intent.
It appears that the Iraqi government is on its way to Syrian territory to reach the Mediterranean Sea via Baniyas. The only agreement that extends for 15 years is the Israeli gas agreement.
Will Israel be the source of fuel for the electricity exported to Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine? For Jordan to be just a transit area, like crossing the Tapline for a small fee, it adds nothing to the national economy. In addition, Israel’s dependence on gas will open wide space for it to control and blackmail, and Jordan will be in a weak position in terms of its commitment to the source of fuel and its commitment to electricity importers.
It is clear that Israel is seeking economic networks with Lebanon and Iraq through electric power through Jordan. The issue is more economically and politically complex than it seems at first glance, especially after Israel’s ongoing and unexplained contributions to the depletion and disintegration of Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.
For Jordan to be a regional center for food security, that’s all right. However, it requires modern technological facilities for the production, storage and transport of food of all kinds, in addition to excellence in the science and technology of modern, aquatic and smart agriculture, in addition to the mechanization of agriculture and the expansion of desalination and water generation. What we did not program in large steps moves. It is noteworthy that Israel has been trying for years to take on this role.
The instability of laws and regulations, the selective successive structural, administrative and legislative changes, and the failure of many investors without serious initiatives to address, all push investment in the opposite direction, placing Jordan in a less advanced position. the ease of investing, as we occupy the 75th place in the world, and we are ahead of ourselves in the ease of investing. Morocco 53, Cyprus 54, Saudi Arabia 62, Oman 68.
Finally, it must be acknowledged that the chronic problem we have in this area is due to three main reasons: the first is that the government is content to praise the idea and spread it in the media, then it goes to the corners of the oblivion. Ignore international competition, and that the project that is not implemented by its owner, is implemented by others and they have the leadership and superiority.
The better future requires Jordan to move practically to play a crucial role in the region and to control the vital joints that others are trying to hijack.

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