The news reports about US President Donald Trump sharing highly classified information with Russia have taken a bit of a twist, causing concern in Moscow.
Initial coverage said Trump’s revelations might have endangered an Israeli spy embedded with the Islamic State. However, more recent reports by Al Jazeera suggest that a Jordanian might have been the source of the critical security information, throwing a shadow on the much-trumpeted alliance between Moscow and Amman and their readiness to coordinate on Syria.
To observers closely following Russia’s military involvement in the Syrian conflict and its political role in the wider region, it was surprising to hear that Jordan might not have shared critical pieces of intelligence with Moscow. The information was related to a potential IS attack on a plane — something Russia and Jordan would normally work together to prevent. In fact, Russia was the first and only state to fall victim to an Islamic State attack on a civilian aircraft when one was hit over Sinai in 2015, killing 224 people. Since then, Russia has stepped up airline security as well as intelligence efforts to prevent other attacks, meaning cooperation on the issue with other countries is paramount.
A source close to the Russian intelligence community confirmed to Al-Monitor that Russia and Jordan consistently cooperate on airline security, exchanging intelligence including information on people suspected of having ties to extremists who could pose a threat. What’s more, the two appear to have cooperated on ground operations.