U.S. wants Jordan to train new Iraqi army

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

AMMAN The United States wants to enlists Jordan to help train a new Iraqi military.

Jordanian sources said the request has been relayed by the Bush administration and was discussed over the weekend in talks with U.S. Central Command chief Gen. Tommy Franks. Franks was in Amman and met with Jordan's King Abdullah and leading military commanders.

Franks, the sources said, presented a plan for Jordan to make available its military facilities and bases for the training of Iraqi soldiers under U.S. supervision. Jordan would also help in the training of the soldiers and members of security forces.

The sources said Jordan has not ruled out the U.S. request. But they said Jordan wants the training to be part of a framework of relations between Amman and the new interim government in Baghdad. They said this would include such issues as trade and Iraqi oil supply.

Jordan has long been the chief recipient of free and cheap oil from the Hashemite kingdom, Middle East Newsline reported.

The U.S. general was said to have told his Jordanian hosts that a newly-reconstituted Iraqi army would be smaller than that under the regime of President Saddam Hussein. The sources said the training in Jordan would take at least a year.

Jordan has helped train several militaries, particularly in the Persian Gulf. The Hashemite kingdom has established a facility for air force training.

Earlier this month, Jordanian Information Minister Mohammed Adwan said the kingdom was ready to help train Jordan's army and security forces. Since then, officials said, Jordan has also been approached to help Baghdad in forming the interim government.

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