US Increase Military Aid to Jordan to Fight ISIS

US Increase Military Aid to Jordan to Fight ISIS
Wed Feb 4, 2015 20:15:54

Congressional support built Wednesday for increased U.S. military assistance to Jordan following a video purporting to show ISIS militants burning a captured Jordanian air force pilot to death.

West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said Jordan’s King Abdullah II – who met with lawmakers and with President Barack Obama on Tuesday – must be given “all of the military equipment” he needs to combat the group.

Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he expected his panel to swiftly approve legislation.
“We'll be looking at legislation we can pass rapidly,” McCain told CNN. “We’ve got to get them the weapons they need,” especially sophisticated weaponry McCain said the U.S. has been slow to provide.

In the current year, the United States is providing Jordan with $1 billion in economic and military assistance. The Defense Department is also giving an unspecified amount of help to Jordan to secure its border with Syria. ISIS have grabbed significant swaths of territory in Syria and Iraq.

McCain repeated his criticism that the Obama administration has “no strategy” for dealing with the ISIS group. He said he hoped the video of the death of the Jordanian air force pilot, Lt. Muath Al-Kasaesbeh, will galvanize not only U.S. leadership but “the Arab world.”

On the House side, Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, said the king “expressed frustration that it takes so long for our bureaucracy to get help to him.”

Also President Barack Obama's nominee for defense secretary Ashton Carter on Wednesday vowed to understand and resolve reported delays in US arms sales to Jordan, which has said it plans to intensify its efforts in fighting ISIS extremists.

Carter told the Senate Armed Services Committee it was important for Jordan to be able to acquire the weapons it needed, and he would work to address concerns raised by King Abdullah during a visit to the United States.

"We need partners on the ground to beat ISIS," Carter told the committee during a hearing on his nomination.

“I think we have to support the leaders … who are trying to encourage Muslim leaders to reclaim their religion,” Thornberry said.

Appearing Wednesday morning with Manchin on MSNBC, Thornberry said he hopes the death of the 26-year-old Jordanian pilot has an impact on the West because “that sort of cruelty is pretty unimaginable for most of us.”

Obama hosted Abdullah at the White House for a hastily arranged meeting, hours after the video emerged online. Abdullah, who was on a previously scheduled trip to Washington.

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