US gives Jordan six unwanted F-16s for playing ball on Iraq

  • From: "muslim-news.net" <editor_@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <news@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 31 Jan 2003 23:52:48 -0000

The United States on Wednesday gave Jordan six F-16 jet fighters from
its surplus inventory as part of bilateral military assistance between
the two countries, the US embassy here said in a statement. 

The aircraft which were identified as "excess defence articles from the
US air and National Guard inventories" were handed over to Jordan at a
ceremony at the Shahid Muwafak al-Salti air force in northern Jordan,
near the Iraqi border. 

The ceremony was attended by Air Force Commander, Major General Faisal
bin Hussein, a brother of King Abdullah II, and the US Deputy
Undersecretary of the Air Force for International Affairs, William
Mitchell. 

The commander of the US Central Command Air Forces, Lieutenant General
Buzz Mosley, and the US ambassador to Jordan, Edward Gnehm also attended
the ceremony, the statement added. 

"The six aircraft delivered today comprise the initial delivery of a
full F-16 squadron, with the remainder to follow," the statement added.
It did not elaborate on the total number. 

The delivery of the F-16 jet fighters comes a day after a Jordanian
official confirmed that Amman will receive three Patriot anti-missile
batteries from the United States soon in order to bolster the country's
defensive arsenal. 

The missiles will be delivered "in a few weeks," said the official, who
spoke on condition of anonymity. 

The announcement coincided with US President George W. Bush threat of
war against Jordan's neighbour Iraq. 

A diplomat in Jordan, who also asked not to be identified, said delivery
would be at the "beginning of February," adding that the missiles would
be accompanied by a team to train the Jordanians in their use. 

The missiles could possibly be used to shoot down long-range missiles
fired at Israel from Iraq. 

On Sunday the US government signed over to Jordan 145.5 million dollars
in economic assistance to Jordan out of a projected total of 250 million
dollars for 2003. 

Jordan receives in addition 75 million dollars annually from the United
States in military aid. 

According to the US embassy Jordan's air force already has a squadron of
16 US-made F-16 jet fighters in its inventory, which were delivered in
1997. 

In the last Gulf War in 1991 Iraqi Scud missiles launched against Israel
overflew Jordan before hitting the area around Tel Aviv. Earlier
versions of Patriot missiles deployed in Israel failed to shoot them
down. 

Jordan has said it will play no part in a new war against its neighbour.

Source:  Middle East Online

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