Deploying Troops to Jordan: Asking For It?

With the news that more than 150 US forces have been deployed to Jordan, in part to “be positioned” as a contingent force “should the turmoil in Syria expand into a wider conflict,” it’s important to note the risk involved. As the New York Times reported:

American officials familiar with the operation said the mission also includes drawing up plans to try to insulate Jordan, an important American ally in the region, from the upheaval in Syria and to avoid the kind of clashes now occurring along the border of Syria and Turkey.

…The Obama administration has declined to intervene in the Syrian conflict beyond providing communications equipment and other nonlethal assistance to the rebels opposing the government of President Bashar al-Assad. But the outpost near Amman could play a broader role should American policy change. It is less than 35 miles from the Syrian border and is the closest American military presence to the conflict.

Carrying out contingent operations in Jordan could have serious implications for a conflict down the road. Washington seems concerned about the outbreak of war beyond Syria’s borders, but even if skirmishes crop up along the Jordanian border as they have along the Turkish border, it doesn’t necessarily mean international war will break out. However, if US forces are there and ready to jump the gun, it might.

Small skirmishes with Syria’s neighbors are not desirable, but nor would it threaten the US, so its a wonder why President Obama sees fit to send US troops to Jordan, especially when its technically done in secret (the Pentagon would not acknowledge the mission, or comment on it, nor will the administration) and without the approval of Congress.

This deployment reminds me of the major US-led military exercise in Jordan this past May. At the time, Michael Eisenstadt, director of the Military and Security Studies program at the Washington Institute for Near East Studies, said he “suspect[ed] they’re trying to get kind of a psychological operations bump by [publicizing] this exercise now; it puts more pressure on the regime in Syria.”

And Michael Rubin, an adviser to former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld from 2002-2004 and now an analyst at the American Enterprise Institute said the exercise was meant to reassure America’s puppet dictators that we have their back. “One of the perceptions we’re trying to reverse is the perception among many of the Gulf monarchs, and the king of Jordan, that we dumped Hosni Mubarak way too quickly.”

“What this does is send a signal to many of the GCC states that we’re not simply going to turn our backs on all the monarchs,” Rubin says. Building this kind of military-to-military relationship with allied Middle Eastern dictatorships “is an important check against Iran’s military ambitions, and has been a US goal since the 1980s,” he added.

Addendum: Just to add, it’s worth remembering that the US has CIA teams on the ground in Turkey, right on the Syrian border, and they are helping organize and support Syrian rebel fighters, along with our ally in Ankara. If this contingent force in Jordan does anything of the sort, Damascus will feel surrounded and deliberately subverted. How is this not a provocation?

34 thoughts on “Deploying Troops to Jordan: Asking For It?”

  1. This is correct. Clearly the US is using the "humanitarian" issue as a cover for covert ops from Jordan, and since these guys are described as "planners", one might guess they are also "planning" military action against Syria as soon as the US can get Turkey to start the war and invite NATO in.

    1. Well, I don't know. What's the position of La Merkel and Monsieur Hollande on intervention? … don't they have their hands full with the economy? Fogh Rasmussen spouting political inanities as usual doesn't tell me much.

  2. We can't have this distraction! Iran is still the boogeymen of the middle east and Israel is watching the minute hand countdown to that 'nukuler' midnight they've been foretelling since 1984.

    The elections are bad enough but, as soon as that smoke screen clears, we don't need to find ourselves tied down in a Syrian conflict – although it should be all over by Christmas.

    On Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and crew it's off to the mullahs for the whole lot of u!

  3. Why does anybody cite anybody who cites the American Enterprise Institute? Even its name is bogus, an obvious intent to defraud..

  4. I appeal to all troops to pull a Vietnam, put down your weaponsvandbrefuse to enlist. You soldiers are not fighting for America, but Wall Street and the away Profiteers. While you are over there your houses are being repossessed by greedy Bankers. Only when people refuse to "kill they Fellow Man", will the wars end.

    1. Aren't they also fighting for the "glory and honor" of Obomber, Biden, Clinton/Clinton, Cantor, Pelosi, Albright, Rice/Rice, King, Ryan, Cheney, Bush, Romney, and all the other rabid, foaming-at-the-mouth interventionist war dogs….? "See how we keep you safe? Kill and die for me and for your country — reelect me, me, me!" they say.

  5. Clearly the Syrians need an alternate route to the oceans of the world for their rowboats equipped with WMDs, and Aqaba, Jordan on the Red Sea is perfect for this. They are sure those Americans won't know what hit them. I feel safer here just thinking of those brave lads near Amman, Mr. Rumsfeld, and Condippy Rice looking out for us. Those Syrians are Muslims you know, just like those New York terrorists. Now, where are my pills? I have to get back to my job in Military Intelligence.

    1. the irony noted

      but then what happens when the arab spring uprising unravels the hashemite royalty. Jordan as an ally goes the way of 'our' mubarak

  6. Amman could play a broader role should American policy change. It is less than 35 miles from the Syrian border and is the closest American military presence to the conflict.

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