Jordan receives $1 billion from Gulf aid package

Jordanian King Abdullah II receives the finance ministers of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the UAE at Al-Husseiniya Palace in the capital Amman. (AFP/ JORDANIAN ROYAL PALACE / YOUSEF ALLAN)
Updated 04 October 2018

Jordan receives $1 billion from Gulf aid package

  • Finance ministers from the three countries officially signed off on the commitments at a meeting in Amman Thursday.
  • Cash-strapped Jordan, a close US ally that relies heavily on donors, has struggled to curb its debt since securing a $723-million loan from the International Monetary Fund in 2016.

AMMAN: Jordan on Thursday received over $1 billion in financial aid from three key Gulf backers as part of a broader package to help ease an economic crisis, a government source said.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait in June offered a $2.5-billion (2.2 billion euro) lifeline to Amman after a wave of protests.
Finance ministers from the three countries officially signed off on the commitments at a meeting in Amman Thursday, state news agency Petra reported.
“Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have both deposited $333.3 million with the central bank, while Kuwait has transferred $500 million,” the Jordanian government source said.
Cash-strapped Jordan, a close US ally that relies heavily on donors, has struggled to curb its debt since securing a $723-million loan from the International Monetary Fund in 2016.
Austerity measures tied to the IMF loan saw prices of basic necessities rise across the kingdom — culminating in angry demonstrations over tax proposals that forced the prime minister to resign.
In response to the unrest the trio of Gulf states stepped in to help out Amman with a plan including deposits with the central bank and five years of budget support.
Riyadh and Abu Dhabi have pledged $250 million each for the Jordanian budget, while Kuwait has pledged $500 million in credit from early 2019 to finance projects, the government source said.
Petra reported that the UAE will also provide guarantees worth $200 million for the World Bank.


Will European arms ban impact Turkey’s Syria operation?

Updated 14 October 2019

Will European arms ban impact Turkey’s Syria operation?

  • Several European countries imposing weapons embargoes on Turkey

ANKARA: With an increasing number of European countries imposing weapons embargoes on Turkey over its ongoing operation in northeastern Syria, Ankara’s existing inventory of weapons and military capabilities are under the spotlight.

More punitive measures on a wider scale are expected during a summit of EU leaders in Brussels on Oct. 17.

It could further strain already deteriorating relations between Ankara and the bloc.

However, a EU-wide arms embargo would require an unanimous decision by all the leaders.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned last week of a possible refugee flow if Turkey “opened the doors” for 3.6 million Syrian refugees to go to Europe — putting into question the clauses of the 2016 migration deal between Ankara and Brussels.

“The impact of EU member states’ arms sanctions on Turkey depends on the level of Turkey’s stockpiles,” Caglar Kurc, a researcher on defense and armed forces, told Arab News.

Kurc thinks Turkey has foreseen the possible arms sanctions and stockpiled enough spare parts to maintain the military during the operation.

“As long as Turkey can maintain its military, sanctions would not have any effect on the operation. Therefore, Turkey will not change its decisions,” he said.

So far, Germany, France, Finland, the Netherlands and Norway have announced they have stopped weapons shipments to fellow NATO member Turkey, condemning the offensive.

“Against the backdrop of the Turkish military offensive in northeastern Syria, the federal government will not issue new permits for all armaments that could be used by Turkey in Syria,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told German newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

Following Germany’s move, the French government announced: “France has decided to suspend all export projects of armaments to Turkey that could be deployed as part of the offensive in Syria. This decision takes effect immediately.”

While not referring to any arms embargo, the UK urged Turkey to end the operation and enter into dialogue.

Turkey received one-third of Germany’s arms exports of €771 million ($850.8 million) in 2018. 

According to Kurc, if sanctions extend beyond weapons that could be used in Syria, there could be a negative impact on the overall defense industry.

“However, in such a case, Turkey would shift to alternative suppliers: Russia and China would be more likely candidates,” he said.

According to Sinan Ulgen, the chairman of the Istanbul-based EDAM think tank and a visiting scholar at Carnegie Europe, the arms embargo would not have a long-term impact essentially because most of the sanctions are caveated and limited to materials that can be used by Turkey in its cross-border operation.

“So the arms embargo does not cover all aspects of the arms trade between Turkey and the EU. These measures look essentially like they are intended to demonstrate to their own critical publics that their governments are doing something about what they see as a negative aspect of Turkey’s behavior,” he told Arab News.

Turkey, however, insists that the Syria operation, dubbed “Operation Peace Spring,” is undeterred by any bans or embargoes.

“No matter what anyone does, no matter if it’s an arms embargo or anything else, it just strengthens us,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told German radio station Deutsche Welle.