Terror blacklist: Jordan faces tough time

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Amman, Dec 1: Jordan has been given an impossible task of blacklisting terrorist organisations fighting in Syria. The assignment has been given to the kingdom by the International Syria Support Group is part of efforts to launch negotiations between the Syrian regime and the so-called moderate opposition early next year.

The move announced by Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on November 15, is also tied to Article 6 of the support group's Oct. 30 Vienna Communique, which states, ISIS and other terrorist groups, as designated by the UN Security Council, and further, as agreed by the participants, must be defeated."

Jordan gest impossible task

"Selecting Jordan for this task illustrates the international community's recognition of Jordan's capabilities and the efficiency of its military and security apparatuses," Jordan's Minister of State for Media Affairs and Communications Mohammad Momani was quoted as saying reported Al-Monitor citing Jordan Times.

"The assignment might put Amman in a bind, given its special relations with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries, including the United Arab Emirates, its intelligence contacts with the United States and Europe, and its particular knowledge of the groups in Syria," said Mohammad Abu Rumman, an expert on Islamist groups.

"This is a complicated issue that could compromise Jordan since adding more groups to the list will provoke their backers and threaten the kingdom's stability," added Rumman.

Al-Monitor in its report said "The support group has already agreed to include ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra on the list. Ahrar al-Sham, al-Sham Front and Jaish al-Fatah (Army of Conquest) are also likely to be added in the list."

"Some of these Islamist groups fall in a gray area. Some will argue that they are radical, while others will claim they are moderate," said Abu Rumman. This, he added, is part of the challenge facing Jordan. The survey group's designations could affect alliances among the anti-regime groups - for instance, Jaish al-Fatah's affiliation with the already designated Jabhat al-Nusra - and weaken the opposition on the ground, especially if foreign backers stop financing some of them, Abu Rumman noted.

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"Aman will face tough situation in dealing with this mission amid conflicting interests and goals among the regional and international players involved in the Syrian conflict," added the report.

"Saudi Arabia, a major supporter of some groups in Syria, including Ahrar al-Sham, is planning to hold a conference in mid-December for the Syrian opposition to foster a unified position among factions. The conference is supposed to include the various representatives from the Syrian opposition and military factions," said the report.

Rintawi warned, "The Saudis must not exclude or marginalize groups that are not on close terms with Riyadh." What the Saudis do stands to have some effect on Jordan's task. "The conference could give recognition to groups that might end up on the Jordanian list," he said.

There are unconfirmed reports that Amman is already being pressured by Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

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