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Abadi’s visit to Jordan focuses on fate of Anbar

During his first visit to an Arab capital, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi discussed with officials in Amman the possibility of forming a Sunni tribal force to thwart the actions of the Islamic State in the Anbar province.
Jordan's Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour (R) walks with his Iraqi counterpart Haider al-Abadi upon their arrival to meet with Jordan's King Abdullah at the Royal Palace in Amman October 26, 2014. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed (JORDAN - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR4BMVV

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Oct. 26 visited Amman, an event seen by local observers as a major step toward normalizing Jordanian-Iraqi ties after months of tension. Abadi made Amman his first Arab destination since he took office on Sept. 8, replacing Nouri al-Maliki who had governed Iraq for eight tumultuous years. Abadi met Jordan's King Abdullah who assured his visitor of Jordan’s concern over Iraq’s unity, security and stability. He also underlined the need to involve all Iraqis in building the country’s future. The king reiterated Jordan’s commitment to standing by Iraq in the face of various challenges, while Abadi said Jordan remains Iraq’s closest neighbor.

But beyond public statements, Abadi’s visit came at a time when both countries are facing mutual threats. Jordan has joined the international coalition to fight the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria, and its air force has carried out an unspecified number of airstrikes against targets in both countries. But for Amman and Baghdad, recent gains by IS fighters in Anbar province constitute a major threat to both. With world attention focused on the battle for the Kurdish Syrian border town of Kobani, IS has managed to claim most of Anbar including the highway linking Amman to Baghdad.

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