Jordan Table of Contents
Given Jordan's limited resources and state of development, the maintenance of its modern armed establishment has been possible only with extensive reliance on foreign aid. The sources of military assistance have shifted somewhat during the different periods of the country's existence; however, until the 1980s, Jordan had looked primarily to Britain and the United States for military matériel. During the 1980s, France emerged as an increasingly important supplier of combat aircraft, and the Soviet Union increasingly supplied air defense systems. To a great extent, major acquisitions have been purchased on generous credit terms, with financing of the military debt made possible by grants from other Arab countries.
From the time the amirate was created in 1921, British aid took the form of direct annual subsidies in conformance with a special treaty relationship. Britain continued to underwrite the entire cost of the Arab Legion until early 1957, when the defense treaty was dissolved by mutual consent. During the last years of the subsidy, the annual payment for the legion was the equivalent of about US$33.6 million. After 1957 a British-reinforced army brigade and an RAF squadron remained in Jordan for a short period and contributed significantly to the preservation of political stability and internal security. British aid, no longer part of a treaty commitment, eventually tapered off to a moderate level of military sales.
American military aid began on a small scale in 1950, but in 1957 the United States became the kingdom's principal source of assistance in meeting its national security needs. In the mid1970s , however, conditions imposed by the United States during lengthy negotiations leading to the sale of Hawk SAMs initiated a period of increasing strain in the relations between the two countries.
Hussein's growing independence in purchasing military matériel was facilitated in part by his strengthened ties to other Arab countries after Jordan joined them in opposing the United Statessponsored 1978 Camp David Accords between Israel and Egypt. During the Baghdad Summit of Arab leaders in that year, oil-producing Arab states of the Persian Gulf area, plus Libya and Algeria, pledged to compensate Jordan in the form of US$1.25 billion annually for ten years for its rejection of the accords. Following the precipitous drop in oil prices, however, most countries reneged on their commitments or made only partial payments. By 1984, it was estimated that Jordan was receiving only US$550 million annually, and only Saudi Arabia was current on its pledge. When the Baghdad Summit commitments expired in 1988, Jordan continued to look to Saudi Arabia, which in that year supplied an estimated US$350 million in assistance.
Data as of December 1989