TribLIVE

| USWorld

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Jordan reluctant to host expanded U.S. training program for Syrian rebels

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Reuters
Saturday, July 12, 2014, 6:33 p.m.
 

WASHINGTON — Jordan, where the Central Intelligence Agency has been covertly training Syrian rebels for more than a year, is reluctant to host an expanded rebel instruction program, U.S. officials said.

Jordan's reticence, confirmed by four U.S. officials, is a potentially serious setback for President Obama's proposed $500 million initiative, announced in June, to train and arm moderate rebels fighting the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad and al-Qaida-linked groups.

It could signal a larger challenge in finding suitable nations willing to host the U.S.-led training at a time of heightened tensions across much of the Middle East.

Although officials have not made a formal request to the Jordanian government, the country was widely considered a top choice to host the training because of its close security relationship with Washington, proximity to neighboring Syria and pool of more than 600,000 Syrian refugees.

Officials and analysts said Jordan fears violent retaliation from Syria if its territory is used for overt training conducted by American military units.

“Jordan told the U.S., ‘No boots on the ground,' ” said one of the officials, who all requested anonymity because they were discussing sensitive military arrangements.

Other current and former officials described the Jordanian position as less ironclad, however, and said they hoped to persuade Jordan to participate in the program, which must be approved by Congress.

The Jordanian government, through its Washington embassy, declined requests for comment. A Jordanian official in Amman, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it was “premature to even suggest the kingdom has rejected any such plan that even the Americans have yet to flesh out.”

While there are other sites where the training could take place, including Turkey and gulf states such as Saudi Arabia, no agreements have been struck, American officials said. Turkey and the Saudis, too, have sensitivities about the presence of large numbers of American troops.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read World

  1. Scientists warn about killer robots
  2. Debris on French island possibly that of missing Malaysia Airlines flight
  3. U.N. projects world’s population to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, 11.2 billion by end of century
  4. Exiled Yemen leader orders anti-rebel fighters to merge with army to battle Houthis
  5. 2013 death of Taliban leader Mullah Omar confirmed
  6. Obama celebrates gains, notes stalemates on visit to East Africa
  7. Buildings in West Bank settlement torn down by order of Israel’s Supreme Court
  8. Turkey to stick with air offensive in ISIS battle
  9. Greek Prime Minister Tsipras in tenuous position with referendum on bailout deal
  10. Turkey grants U.S. access to key air base
  11. Israelis remember how summer conflict affected beach ritual