By Nicola Nasser*
Located at the crossroads of several regional crises, including the Palestinian -- Israeli and Iraqi conflicts, Jordan has been in the eye of the Syrian storm for more than thirty months, and managed to navigate safely so far, but the reportedly imminent US strike is pressuring the country between the rock and the hard place of the antagonists of the war on Syria.
Heavily burdened by the pressure of its strategic allies
and financers in the
Thus, grudgingly or otherwise,
Cordesman, an analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, on
August 29, interviewed by abcnews online, said that
"Jordanian targets" could be targeted by
Should such a scenario develop,
US Targets Invited
When the Eager Lion 2013 exercise ended
in June this year,
Then, Jordan's Prime Minister, Abdullah al-Nsour, indicated a second US target when he told reporters that some 900 U.S. military personnel were in the country, of whom 200 are experts training Jordanians to handle a chemical attack and 700 manning the Patriot system and reportedly 45 F-16 fighter jets.
On last August 14, Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that Jordan asked the United States to provide manned US surveillance aircraft to help keep an eye on its border with Syria; thus a third US target for Syrian retaliation was invited.
However the Centcom's
Forward Command in
In mid-August, Gen. Martin Dempsey was in Amman to inaugurate the CFJ, which is manned by 273 US officers, with a closed section, which "houses CIA personnel who control the work of US agents going in and out of Syria," and also a communications center, where "atop the underground facility is a large surface structure accommodating the American military and civilian offices dealing with Syrian issues from Jordan," according to the Israeli www.debka.com on August 17, 2013, which confirmed a report two days earlier by The New York Times according to which "American correspondents were allowed to visit the site under ground rules that its location not be disclosed."
However, on October 18 last year the Egyptian Al-Ahram Weekly reported that the location chosen to host the CFJ was "a Jordanian military base built in an abandoned quarry north of the Jordanian capital Amman, just 35 miles from the Syrian border," which extends 300 miles along Jordan's northern flank, and some 120 miles from the Syrian capital Damascus.
Al-Ahram explained that "the origins of
the previously secret
Speaking to the media at the close of a
two-day NATO defense ministers meeting at the time in Brussels, former US
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta confirmed the existence of a "US task force that
has been sent to Jordan this week after it was first reported in The New York
Times," Al-Ahram added. "The force would be tasked with ensuring the security
of the chemical and biological weapons in