Country Listing

Jordan Table of Contents



Soldier firing a mortar

Cobra attack helicopter armed with TOW antitank missiles of the Royal Jordanian Air Force

When the Amirate of Transjordan was formed in 1921, the small scattered police elements left over from Ottoman days were inadequate to maintain order and establish central government control. The police units were expanded, and a small mobile force of balanced elements of infantry, cavalry, and artillery was created. Two years later the police, numbering about 300, and the military force of about 1,000 were combined under the command of British Captain F.G. Peake. The establishment was originally known as the Arab Army (Al Jaysh al Arabi)--a perpetuation of the military force led by the Hashimites in World War I against the Turks--and this Arabic title has been retained. In English, however, the name became the Arab Legion, a designation that lasted until 1956 (see Transjordan , ch. 1).

Data as of December 1989