April 15, 2024 | Flash Brief

Sidestepping Tensions With Israel, Jordan Helps Repel Iran With U.S.-Led Coalition

April 15, 2024 | Flash Brief

Sidestepping Tensions With Israel, Jordan Helps Repel Iran With U.S.-Led Coalition

Latest Developments

The Jordanian Air Force joined a U.S.-led coalition to help repel Iran’s weekend attack against Israel, shooting down dozens of drones in Jordanian airspace overnight between April 13 and 14. The United States, United Kingdom, and France also participated in the effort to defend against the Iranian drone and missile assault. A Jordanian cabinet statement said, “Some shrapnel fell in multiple places during that time without causing any significant damage or any injuries to citizens.”

Jordan’s contributions over the weekend come at a time of heightened political tension between Amman and Jerusalem. Since Hamas’s October 7 massacre, Amman has heaped one-sided blame on Israel, accusing the Jewish state of committing genocide and war crimes in Gaza. In a phone call with President Joe Biden on April 14, Jordan’s King Abdullah stressed that Jordan “won’t be an arena for a regional war” and that “escalation by Israel would only widen the circle of conflict.”

Expert Analysis

“Jordan continues to serve as a crucial piece in the U.S.-led architecture of the Middle East. After months of truly unhelpful and even dangerous rhetoric, the kingdom came through when it mattered. It should be noted, however, that this was not exactly joining Israel against Iran. Jordan defended its own airspace in coordination with the United States. This is positive, nonetheless. And it must be encouraged as tensions continue to rise in the region.” — Jonathan Schanzer, FDD Senior Vice President for Research

“The primary motive behind Amman downing Iranian explosive drones is Jordanian sovereignty, which the late King Hussein defended and maintained against all odds. King Abdullah understands past lessons and has similarly put national interests above populism and emotions. That Jordan’s interests align with those of Israel but not Iran is no surprise.” — Hussain Abdul-Hussain, FDD Research Fellow

Jordanian Activists Rally Against Israel

In late March, thousands of Jordanian activists converged daily near Israel’s embassy in Amman to demonstrate against the Gaza war and demand an end to Israeli-Jordanian peace. Jordanian security forces increasingly struggled to contain the unrest, at times resorting to riot tactics to disperse the protestors. On March 26, police fired tear gas and beat protesters who attempted to storm the embassy. On March 31, a group named the Jordanian Youth Gathering renewed their call to converge at the Israeli embassy “to support the resistance in Gaza,” petition to cancel Jordan’s 1994 peace treaty with Israel, and demand that Amman “cut all ties” with the Jewish state.

Israel and Jordan Share Cold Peace

Despite its decades-old peace treaty with Israel, Jordan has maintained a cold relationship with the Jewish state. Its official rhetoric about Israel has grown increasingly negative, if not vitriolic. During the May 2021 Israel-Hamas war, Jordan effectively sided with Hamas by echoing the terrorist group’s talking points that wrongly blamed Israeli security forces on the Temple Mount for sparking the conflict.

Meanwhile, Jordan seeks to collaborate with Israel in certain arenas. On March 3, Jordan asked Israel for a one-year extension on a water-for-energy deal that the two countries signed in 2021. The project was due to launch formally in December 2023, but relations between Jerusalem and Amman deteriorated in October after Israel launched its counteroffensive against Hamas. To get the deal back on track, Jerusalem reportedly asked Amman to tone down its anti-Israel invective and return its ambassador to Tel Aviv. Jordan had recalled the diplomat on November 1 in protest “of the raging Israeli war on Gaza.”

Iran Attacks Israel With Drone and Missile Barrage,” FDD Flash Brief

Jordanian Activists Demand End to Peace With Israel,” FDD Flash Brief

Neither Here Nor There: Jordan and the Abraham Accords,” by Jonathan Schanzer


Arab Politics Iran Iran Missiles Iran-backed Terrorism Israel Israel at War Jordan