AMMAN (AFX) - Jordan will receive three Patriot anti-missile
batteries from the US on Feb 6 to bolster the country's defences
ahead of a possible war in Iraq, a diplomat who declined to be
identified told Agence France-Presse.
"The batteries will be handed over on February 6 and will
be deployed around Amman and at the town of Irbid", 80
kilometres north of the capital, the diplomat said.
He said that Jordanian troops had already begun training on the
use of the Patriots with US specialists.
"Other American soldiers will accompany the missile
batteries and be stationed with them following their
deployment," another diplomat said.
He added that the Patriots will be shipped back to the US by
the end of the year, or when a US-led war on Iraq is over.
A senior official also said Jordan will not prevent US
warplanes from flying over its airspace.
"We will not prevent such overflights, but that does not
mean we will formally give our green light," the official
The United States would like to base a limited number of
Special Operations forces in Jordan that would be able to move
quickly into western Iraq to neutralize suspected Scud missile
sites and secure airfields and other facilities, sources said.
Regarding Jordan's cooperation, a senior Pentagon official
said, "I think we'll be all right there."
The United States conducted exercises last year in Jordan
involving about 1,000 Special Operations forces, along with troops
from Great Britain, Kuwait, Oman and Jordan.
While stopping short of saying Jordan had given the United
States permission to base troops there, Pentagon officials
expressed confidence that Jordan will cooperate when the time
"That's what the exercises were all about," one