Jordan Table of Contents
Jordan traditionally has considered that it shared responsibility for the security of the Middle East, particularly that of Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf states. For many years, Jordan has supplied these countries with advisers, mostly personnel in reserve status who had completed their active duty. A total of 565 army officers and 1,420 NCOs served in other Arab countries between 1970 and 1984. The loan of military personnel was regarded as a form of compensation to the Persian Gulf states that have provided Jordan with subsidies over the years. Jordan also has acted as a consultant to these countries in matters such as weapons selection and organization of military forces.
As of 1988, Jordanian personnel were serving in a training or operational capacity in Kuwait, North Yemen, Qatar, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia. Many officers from these countries, the majority Saudi Arabs, were undergoing training in Jordan at Mutah Military University and the Jordanian Staff College. Between 1970 and 1984, more than 4,000 officers and 7,000 enlisted personnel from Arab states had attended military institutions in Jordan.
Jordan has supplied combat troops to assist Persian Gulf states confronting security threats. In 1975 Jordan deployed two squadrons of fighter aircraft and a Special Forces battalion to Oman at that country's request to help defeat an uprising supported by South Yemen. Hussein offered to send a division to assist Saudi Arabia when the main mosque in Mecca was seized by Islamic fundamentalists in 1979. Although the division was never sent, the incident alerted Jordanian commanders to the problems of rapidly transporting a large body of troops in a Middle East emergency. Jordan turned to the United States for assistance in providing transport airplanes, missiles, and special equipment to move and maintain a Jordanian rapid deployment force of two brigades (8,000 men) in the event of a threat to the stability of the Persian Gulf area. When the proposal became public in early 1983, it faced so many objections in Congress--where it was seen as a means to circumvent curbs on military aid to Jordan--that it had to be abandoned. The Israelis pointed out that there was no assurance that the new equipment would not be used against them. Finally, the Gulf states resented the public airing of their own security needs, and particularly the involvement of one of the superpowers in such planning.
During the Iran-Iraq War of 1980 to 1988, Jordan sided with Iraq because of Hussein's desire to contain Iran's revolutionary Islamic movement. The Jordanian port of Al Aqabah became an important transshipment point for military supplies essential to the Baghdad government's conduct of the war. In early 1982, Hussein announced that the Yarmuk Brigade, a force of 3,000, would be raised to fight alongside Iraqi forces in the conflict against Iran. A number of recruiting offices were opened to seek volunteers. No definite information was subsequently made available on the role this force played in the fighting. As a reciprocal gesture, the Iraqis transferred to Jordan on at least two occasions quantities of American and British armored equipment captured from Iran.
Although Jordan had no significant defense industry, it was reported in 1983 that components of the Chinese J-6 fighter aircraft, a variant of the Soviet MiG-19, were shipped to the King Faisal Air Base at Al Jafr for assembly and subsequent delivery to Iraq. The United States had assisted in the construction of an armor rebuild facility suitable for work on the M-60, Chieftain, and Centurion tanks, and on armored personnel carriers and self-propelled artillery. The capacity of the rebuild plant exceeded Jordan's own needs with the expectation that orders for the rehabilitation of armored equipment might be obtained from other Arab nations.
Data as of December 1989