Jordanian prince urges US to come out for Iraq
Jordan is urging the United States to abandon its neutral stance in the Iran-Iraq war and to support Iraq as Iran surges forward in the conflict.
Crown Prince Hassan of Jordan, in a recent meeting with Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig Jr. and in an interview with the Monitor, emphasized his country's fears that unchecked Iranian advances will undermine security in Jordan and in the Arab Gulf.
''There has to be a reevaluation of US policy in this conflict,'' he told the Monitor. ''US hopes to benefit from attrition on both sides of the war could lead to the potential Balkanization of the region,'' he added, stressing that this would increase Soviet influence. Jordan has actively backed Iraq's President Saddam Hussein in the war. Along with Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, and Egypt, it fears an Iranian victory would foment ethnic, religious, and political conflicts throughout the Arab Middle East. ''Iran supports and exports revolution and radical anti-Western sentiment,'' the prince said.
Prince Hassan's recent private visit was aimed at sounding out US policy in other related areas of concern to Jordan and its Arab allies. These included the question of US arms sales to Jordan and of US receptivity to the revival of the Saudi-originated ''Fahd peace plan'' as an Arab alternative to the Camp David accords.
According to Prince Hassan, Jordan has made no formal request to the US for new advanced arms. But the prince's public speeches were part of a coordinated Jordanian effort here to counter a growing campaign by Israel and its supporters in the US to prevent sales to Jordan of advanced F-5 jet fighters and mobile antiaircraft missiles.
Prince Hassan linked the need for a new Arab peace initiative to Jordan's security concerns. It was necessary, he said, to ''avoid final polarization of the area.'' For the United States ''to limit the process of peace just to the formula of Camp David as it exists is not statesmanlike at this stage, . . .'' he added.
Prince Hassan suggested that rather than pursuing autonomy negotiations over the fate of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, the US should restate and clarify its position on the ''principal issues'' connected to the Camp David accords. ''The US hasn't said for some time that (Israeli) occupation is illegal. The US changed their language on (Jewish) settlements on the West Bank from 'illegal' to 'obstacle to peace.' The US hopefully might make a reference to 'self-determination' as the goal for the Palestinians.'' A US white paper clarifying these principles ''in itself would change the context (of Camp David) quite clearly, . . .'' he said.
Prince Hassan also called for a restated US commitment to UN Resolution 242, which calls for exchange of Israeli-occupied territories for peace and forms the basis for the Camp David accords. He said that Israeli opposition to more territorial withdrawal after Sinai leaves ''no common ground shared by the parties (to the Mideast conflict) for the first time in l5 years.''
Prince Hassan reiterated Jordanian support for the ''Fahd peace plan'' as the Arab alternative to the Camp David accords. Proposed last August by Crown Prince Fahd of Saudi Arabia, the eight-point plan calls for Israeli withdrawal from territory occupied in l967 and establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Arab east Jerusalem as its capital. It includes ''recognition of the right of all states in the region to live in peace'' but makes no specific mention of Israel or of peace negotiations.