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Jordan Invites US Targets for Syrian Retaliation

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Denial in Doubt

The denial of the initial reports about the existence of the CFJ as "not true" by a spokesman from the country's armed forces, quoted by the state-run news agency Petra, sheds doubt on a statement by Jordan's PM al-Nsour, quoted by the London --based pan-Arab daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi on Monday, that his country knows nothing about the timing, track and targets of a US military strike in Syria, which the US President is now seeking an "authorization" from the Congress to launch.

Al-Nsour's "lack of knowledge" sounds odd in view of the long established multi-faceted strategic ties between Jordan and the United States, which makes it the obligation of Washington to inform Amman in advance of at least the "timing" of the imminent US strike and makes it an obligation of the Jordanian government to ask for it, at least to be on equal footing with the other Israeli strategic "partner" of the US; it is public knowledge now that the US is committed to inform Israel in advance of any imminent US strike on Syria.

In comparison, at least logistically, if not militarily, especially as far as the Syrian conflict is concerned, Jordan is much more important to the US than Israel to deserve a US warning in advance of any imminent strike.

Moreover, Jordan is in the immediate danger of being flooded with more Syrian refugees who for sure will be an integral part of the humanitarian crisis that the US strike will inevitably exacerbate in Syria.

Unless Jordan is denying its "knowledge" to avert being accused by Syria of complicity with the US, al-Nsour's "lack of knowledge" sounds more odd not only because his country hosts the CFJ.

Hosting and participating in the meetings of the US -- led so -- called "Friends of Syria," as well as the military meetings of eleven chiefs of staff of "The Friends of Syria Core Group," in addition to hosting the annual Eager Lion exercises, let alone the bilateral strategic ties between Jordan and the US and the anti-Syria members of the GCC, have all combined to posture the country as being an active member of what the Syrian government rename as the "Enemies of Syria," who are party in the conflict and not part of its solution.

 
Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh stands center (front line) among the .Friends of Syria Core Group. by google images

Moment of Truth Approaching

The Eager Lion exercises, from the start, focused on training to intervene and secure the purported Syrian chemical weapons if and when developments dictate such an intervention, which the imminent US strike is now turning into a matter of time.

Last June 18 the AP reported that  the Eager Lion Drills "are focused on ground operations, involving commandos from Jordan ... practicing offensive operations." Although the Jordanian embassy spokeswoman in Washington D.C., Dana Zureikat Daoud, told The Center for Public Integrity earlier this year that those drills are "not mission-oriented," reported recent involvement of Jordanian commandos in Libya and elsewhere in the region gives credence to the reports on their possible involvement anew in Syria.

US Secretary of State, John Kerry, during his testimony at the Congress on Tuesday, while confirming that the administration of President Barak Obama "has zero intention of putting troops on the ground," he in practice retained the option of sending US "boots" to Syria.

"I don't want to take off the table an option that might or might not be available to the president of the United States" in a scenario where "Syria imploded" and stockpiles of chemical weapons needed to be secured from extremists, he said.

It is public knowledge now that what Obama said will be a strike "limited in time and scope" aims at "degrading" Syrian chemical "capabilities;" the purported Syrian chemical weapons which are now very well secured will be far less secured after the strike and will demand immediate intervention to secure them.

So the moment of truth is around the corner for an intervention either from or with the participation of Jordan, where training in preparation for this moment has been going on by leaps and bounds for the past two years, expectedly inviting reciprocal Syrian preparations for retaliation.

A Syrian possible military clash with Jordan or with Jordanian -- hosted US -- led intervention units was only a postponed development and will most likely be accelerated by the US planned strike, which is expected to embroil Jordan militarily in the Syrian conflict, willingly or unwillingly.

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*Nicola Nasser is a veteran Arab journalist in Kuwait, Jordan, UAE and Palestine. He is based in Ramallah, West Bank of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.
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