Silver Lining

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Jordanians suspicious as US expands military presence in kingdom

Al Manar

Jordanians are suspicious as the United States is deploying troops and weapons in the Kingdom.

A US defense official has told Agence France Presse (AFP) that Washington has expanded its military presence in the country to 1,000 troops.

“Jordanians do not feel comfortable about the presence of US troops, weapons and equipment in the kingdom,” analyst Oraib Rintawi, who runs the Al-Quds Centre for Political Studies, told AFP.

“For Jordanians, the US military presence is linked to plots and conspiracies against their neighbors, which would impact the country itself.”

Washington claims it is worried about the security of Jordan, which is already struggling to cope with around 550,000 refugees from its war-torn northern neighbor, Syria. It has kept F-16 warplanes and Patriot missiles in the country since a joint military exercise ended on June 20.

“For the Americans, protecting that stability is key and at the core of their strategy in the Middle East,” Rintawi added.

“But public opinion here does not welcome the Americans, even if they say they want to protect the country.”

Earlier this week, Wall Street Journal quoted diplomats and US officials as saying that the Central Intelligence Agency has begun moving weapons to Jordan from a network of secret warehouses and plans to start arming foreign-backed militants fighting the Syrian government.

The diplomats and the US officials said that Washington plans to provide training, small arms, ammunition, and possibly certain types of antitank missiles.

Last week, Jordanian Prime Minister Abdullah Nsur denied a Los Angeles Times report that the Central Intelligence Agency and US special forces have been training Syria armed groups at a new American desert base in southwest Jordan.

“There is no training in our country whatsoever of Syrian opposition forces… the only Syrians we are dealing with in our country are refugees,” he told journalists.

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