It is not strange that Washington prohibited the export of drones to Jordan, despite the war Jordan is waging and that the war is not solely Jordan’s war in the region and in the world.
The U.S. magazine Foreign Policy mentioned that Jordan forwarded a request to purchase Predator drones in spring of 2014; the request was denied last November, approximately two months ago, and Jordan is still being denied the purchase now.
This type of plane, manufactured by General Atomics, is used in observation, intelligence reports, and to launch the Hellfire missiles, which the U.S. has used in assassinations in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen.
Amman was outraged after the U.S. denied Jordan's request for the provision of these drones. Amman was outraged because Jordanians don't understand how Washington perceives its allies and opponents. We Jordanians are sentimental and believe that we are partners with Washington and that Washington is obliged to respond to all of Amman's official requests.
Contrary to many people's expectations, the truth is that Washington can't completely fulfill all requests; sometimes, it offers partial responses even to its closest allies because Washington has its own calculations, which explains the limited financial aid. Washington can't go beyond its limits to solve Jordan's problems. Furthermore, Washington — through its regional impacts — can't exceed the limits that have been pre-set in its relationship with Jordan, which explains how economic rating or notation governs its direct relationship with Jordan, or its relationship with Jordan via the countries it has an impact on and are capable of helping Jordan.
As for the drones, we have to honestly remember that Washington does deliver military aid to Jordan, but it also doesn’t want Jordan to turn into a superpower country. We have seen similar objections to the drone request in other cases, such as the Jordanian nuclear request and Jordan’s wish to purchase a reactor. Many don’t know that prominent figures in the U.S. administration and Congress went crazy when Jordan voiced interest in obtaining reactors because, at the end of the day, the security of Israel is more important to Washington than any other entity.
Washington also denied Jordan the procurement of military technologies during different phases even before the current regional turmoil; Washington depends on Jordan a lot, but this doesn’t mean that the U.S. will grant Jordan's wishes without limits, warnings, or grounded calculations that fear for the future.
Above all, the timing of the last U.S. rejection was sensitive because it stirred feelings that Jordan has to go through the wars of the region and the world at its own internal expense and at the expense of its social and institutional structure. In an agitating way, the U.S. objection to the drones implies that Washington doesn't guarantee stability in Jordan, or else it would have accepted the drone deal in Jordan. It didn't do so because it says that the future fate of the drones is unclear (as if the fate of the whole region is unclear, and no one knows the destination point of all the countries in the region?!).
Indirectly, maybe Washington realizes that Amman wants to employ the chance of war against the Islamic State group, in a smart way, in order to enhance its capacities on all levels. In this case it does seek a strong Jordan, but at the same time, it doesn’t want to increase Jordan’s strength too much in order to keep Jordan’s logistical dependence — on all levels — on Washington without its capability to be partially independent.
The fact that Washington denied Jordan the purchase of the drones is not peculiar; peculiar is the emotional and sentimental reading of the relationship that governs the coalition with Washington, as it is a relationship that is not void of details, conditions and adaptations.