Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh met with Aldy Mansour, the Interim Egyptian President on Sunday in Cairo. According to Ammon News, Judeh said that he hoped Egypt would keep playing the role that it has played in the region internationally. Judeh also told Mansour that Jordan sought closer relations with Egypt, which was reciprocated by Mansour who said that he valued King Abdullah’s attempts to to conduct regional diplomacy aimed at bringing about peace. The article also mentions other topics they discussed including the crisis in Syria, as well as Judeh’s meeting with the Secretary General.
What does this mean? Was this an introductory meeting between Judeh and Mansour as the Jordanian regime attempted to gauge how Jordan would be affected by the political developments in Egypt? Or it it something more? Perhaps it is a mission intended to signify Jordan’s support for the military’s removal of former President Mohamed Morsi, although the Jordanian regime wanted to avoid stating this specifically. There are indeed some reports that Jordan was “relieved” by the downfall of Morsi but this should be taken with a grain of salt – this article does not quote regime officials but only analysts (though we should note the regime’s actions against the Islamic Action Front). Another obvious reason for this meeting is that Jordan considers its relationship to be extremely important, particularly because of the Jordanian economy’s reliance on frequently interrupted exports of Egyptian gas. About a week ago an attack on the pipeline in Sinai interrupted supplies once again.
Ultimately, the overthrow of former President Morsi may spur the hopes of many within the Jordanian regime who view it as a form of vindication of their resistance against reform. By taking action against the Islamic Action Front they perceive themselves as having taken steps to prevent events such as those in Egypt from happening in Jordan.
However, there is also another lesson to be learned from Morsi’s downfall. He was seen as incompetent, authoritarian, and unwilling to bow to demands of protesters due to the fear of being seen as weak. Much of the anger was no doubt due to the fact that he promised that he would govern differently and then failed to deliver on it. This lesson about Morsi’s removal may be less comfortable to loyalists – that he was removed for pledging reform and than failing to deliver.