US to send Patriot missiles, F-16 jets to Jordan

US to send Patriot missiles, F-16 jets to Jordan
Tue Jun 4, 2013 10:12:52

US set to send a Patriot missile battery and F-16 fighters to Jordan for a military drill and may keep the weapons there to counter the threat posed by Syria's civil war, US officials say.

The Patriot missile launchers and F-16 warplanes "were approved for deployment to Jordan as part of Exercise Eager Lion," the spokesman for US Central Command, Lieutenant Colonel TG Taylor, said.

"In order to enhance the defensive posture and capacity of Jordan, some of these assets may remain beyond the exercise at the request of the Government of Jordan," Taylor said in a statement.

US officials declined to say how many F-16 fighter jets would be taking part in the joint exercise or how many aircraft might stay in Jordan afterwards.

The United States backed a similar move earlier this year in Turkey, with the NATO alliance deploying Patriot missile batteries along Turkey's volatile border with Syria.

The decision to possibly station F-16s and missile batteries in Jordan will fuel speculation on a potential US military intervention, which the White House so far has described as a remote possibility.

The Syria situation began to become more complicated since EU decided to end its arms embargo on Syria to pave the way for sending weapons to the militants.

The move was sponsored by France and Britain but faced strong opposition from the other European heavyweight, Germany.


A day after the announcement of EU’s decision, Moscow said it would send its sophisticated S-300 air defense system to Syria.

Russsia, however, said that it adopted the measure to prevent any Western intervention in Syria.


The deployment of the American missiles to Jordan seems to be a response to Russia’s decision at a time the two major powers have failed to agree on a political roadmap to help end the crisis in Syria.