>> NOTE: I’m looking forward to speaking at the Calvary Tucson evening services this Wednesday night. Please join us if you can.
Jordan’s King Abdullah II needs our prayers. He is a man trying to lead his country into a more peaceful, prosperous and democratic future. But he faces extraordinary challenges — the implosion of Syria to the north and the possibility of an Israeli-Iranian war are just two, but they are the most urgent at the moment.
“Looking from the Jordanian point of view and the challenges that Jordan faces as we look around the region, the challenges of what the Israelis and the Palestinians that we faced in 2012, the instability as you’re seeing in Syria, we have the concerns as what’s happening in Iraq,” the King noted during a press conference with President Obama on Friday, “any military action at the moment, whether Israeli or Iranian, to me at this stage is Pandora’s box, because nobody can guarantee what the outcome will be. So hopefully there is another way of resolving this problem. At a time with so much instability in the Middle East, we just don’t need another thing on our shoulders.”
“President Obama and King Abdullah II of Jordan warned Friday of the mounting danger Syria’s widening civil war poses to this neighboring kingdom but offered only fresh demands that the Assad government step down immediately,” reported the Washington Post. “Appearing for the first time in an Arab nation since his 2009 address in Cairo, Obama pledged an additional $200 million in aid to Jordan this year to help address the growing needs of almost half a million Syrian refugees, equal to roughly 10 percent of the kingdom’s population.”
“But Obama, speaking inside a cavernous dark-wood hall alongside the king, also raised the question he said preoccupies his administration regarding Syria,” noted the Post. “His concern is how the fighting, which has killed an estimated 70,000 people, will shape the religious and cultural makeup of a long-repressed nation. He warned that Syria could become a beachhead for Islamist extremism, adding “that is why the United States has a stake” in the war’s outcome. Abdullah, too, warned that the increasing sectarian cast to the war threatens to pull the country apart. Asked by a Jordanian journalist why ‘the leading superpower’ does not intervene in Syria, Obama suggested that the unpredictable nature of the civil conflict has left him no policy option that would guarantee more good than harm, either through a direct military strike or by arming Syrian rebels.
“The sight of children and women being slaughtered that we’ve seen so much I think has to compel all of us to say, what more can we do?” President Obama said. “And that’s a question that I’m asking as president every single day.” But, he added, “ultimately what the people of Syria are looking for is not replacing oppression with a new form of oppression.”
HEADLINES WORTH TRACKING:
- Syria turning into ‘one big ball of fire’ — Resignation of opposition leader Mouaz al-Khatib creates vacuum of instability; in Egypt, Brotherhood tries to shut down anti-Morsi media (Times of Israel)
- Iraqi PM Maliki resists Kerry’s call to halt flow of Iranian arms to Syria (Los Angeles Times)
- Israel fights off locust scourge on Passover eve (Times of Israel)
- Syrian Opposition Leader Resigns (Wall Street Journal)
- Syrian army fire directed at soldiers; IDF returns fire (Jerusalem Post)
- Amidror: We initiated apology to Turkey, not the US — National security adviser confirms Syria at heart of decision to end rift, says Erdogan now likely to stop verbally attacking Israel (Times of Israel)
- Syrian Rebels Pick U.S. Citizen to Lead Interim Government (New York Times)
- American Islamist Selected to Run Syrian Opposition (Investigative Project on Terrorism) — “The man chosen Monday to head Syria’s opposition government is a naturalized American who worked closely with Muslim Brotherhood affiliates in the United States, the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report (GMBDR) reported. Ghassan Hitto spent years in Texas where he actively supported defendants in the Hamas-support prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF). The charity and five former officials were convicted in 2008 on 108 counts of illegally routing money to Hamas.”