The United States will keep F-16 fighter jets and Patriot anti-missile weapons in Jordan after a joint military exercise ends this month, a US defense official said Thursday.AKA "USS Queerbarge".
The US administration, which is weighing a decision to arm rebels fighting in neighboring Syria’s civil war, also planned to keep a unit of US Marines on amphibious ships off the coast after consultations with Jordanian leaders, the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
The warplanes, anti-missile systems and warships had been sent to Jordan for a major exercise, dubbed Eager Lion, but officials decided to keep the troops and weapons in place on the request of Jordan, which is anxious about a spillover of violence and a growing influx of refugees from the conflict.
The 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (website) taking part in the drill consists of about 2,400 troops, which arrived in a group of three amphibious ships, including the USS Kearsarge.
I'm down with this. King Abdullah is our only Arab friend in the Middle East. Jordan is small and not particularly wealthy, and with all the Syrian refugees and being next to Israel, he's between a rock and a hard place. He and Jordan are worth helping.