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

Daily Photo Galleries

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.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read World

  1. Polish leader, Italian diplomat to fill key EU posts
  2. Peacekeepers, rebels clash near Golan Heights
  3. EU preps further sanctions on Russia as ‘full-scale war’ looms in Ukraine
  4. 20 rescued from gold mine shaft
  5. Saudi king warns of terrorist threat to Europe, US
  6. Guatemalan village expels Jewish group
  7. Mexico operations thwart child, family migrants
  8. Putin calls for exit corridor for Ukrainian troops trapped in southeast
  9. Ukraine turns back Russian convoy
  10. Iceland volcanic eruption sparks aviation red alert
  11. Brits conclude London rapper turned jihadist beheaded Foley
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.