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Jordanian military training reflects rising tensions with Israel

Soldiers march during the military parade in Amman, Jordan on 28 March, 2017 [Bandar Algaloud/Saudi Kingdom Council/Handout/Anadolu Agency]
Soldiers march during the military parade in Amman, Jordan on 28 March, 2017 [Bandar Algaloud/Saudi Kingdom Council/Handout/Anadolu Agency]

Military training exercise conducted by the Jordanian Armed Forces on Monday, named “Swords of Karama,” received wide attention from Israel. The training was held near the Western border region.

The training that King Abdullah II and senior Jordanian officials attended was named after the “Battle of Karama” that took place in 1968 and ended with Jordan’s victory against the occupation army. The King of Jordan has described relations with Israel as “going through its worst stage ever,” while expressing outrage at Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu since the latter announced his intention to annex the Jordan Valley and the northern basin of the Dead Sea to Israel.

The training involved carrying out a defensive battle of artillery, fighter jets and helicopters, aiming to destroy enemy premises and bridges that could be used as crossing points, in addition to holding archery exercises using various weapons.

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During the training that several military attachés to Jordan attended, the Jordanian monarch and other attendees sat in front of a model representing the Jordanian-Israeli border and areas supposed to be emulated by the military exercise, most notably the Dead Sea region.

Retired Major General Jalal Al-Abadi, a Jordanian military and strategic expert, told The New Arab on Tuesday that the Jordanian armed forces should always be on standby despite the existence of treaties with Israel. He stressed that Jordan should not trust Israel, as the Israeli army can launch a military operation that serves its interests at any time.

Al-Abadi asserted that “the armed forces should not interfere with the political talks,” noting that “this training is designated to mimic the Jordanian army’s strategy to counter any possible Israeli aggression coming from the western border at any given time.” He also pointed out that “the Israeli government has not yet been formed, which entails that any decisions or actions can be taken to serve the competing political parties’ interests.”

Al-Abadi highlighted “the need to intensify exercises near the front lines, to show the Israeli side that Jordan is ready to face any situation and any emergency.”

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