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Smart Take | Jordan Caught in the Crossfire Between Israel and Iran

April 16, 20242:22

Jordan shot down dozens of the Iranian drones that were targeting Israel, prompting Iran's government to warn Jordan against further action. Merissa Khurma, Director of the Wilson Center’s Middle East Program, provides a deep dive into the impact on a country­­ caught in the crossfire of the escalating conflict. She covers how Jordan reacted to the barrage of drones and missiles, tensions between the Iran and Jordan's governments, and how Jordan is grappling with Iran-backed militias on its territory.

Video Transcript

  • This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.

    There was a sense of fear and uncertainty over this past weekend, when Iran launched over 300 missiles and drones, targeting Israel. Of course, for countries like Jordan, they did with what any other sovereign country would do. They protected their airspace. They protected their territory and their civilians, and they shot down some of these, drones that were heading towards Israel.

    That, of course, caused a little bit of rising tensions within Jordan itself and there were also tensions with the government of Iran because it noted that it will attack any other country that would aid Israel. And so these tensions were rising, between the Iranian government and the Jordanian government. The Jordanian foreign minister summoned the Iranian ambassador in Jordan, and then the regime in Tehran retracted some of these threats that had been communicated earlier, the day before.

    For Jordan in particular, it's not just dealing with a Palestinian-Israeli conflict on its western border and the war in Gaza, which is, a very deeply felt, conflict for many Jordanians of Palestinian descent, but also for a very large segment of the Jordanian population who are also registered Palestinian refugees.

    But in addition to that, Jordan has to deal with the Iranian threat, which is not only coming, you know, verbally, the way that we had seen it, this past weekend, from Tehran. But it is also very much alive on Jordan's border with Syria as well as Jordan's border with Iraq, where Iranian militias, have targeted, basically Jordanian territory through the drug trade in the north of Jordan, but also pro-Iranian militia targeted US military personnel on Jordan's territory a few months ago.

    And so Jordan is really caught in the middle of this.


Merissa Khurma

Merissa Khurma

Director, Middle East Program
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Middle East Program

The Wilson Center’s Middle East Program serves as a crucial resource for the policymaking community and beyond, providing analyses and research that helps inform US foreign policymaking, stimulates public debate, and expands knowledge about issues in the wider Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.  Read more