Friday, April 1, 2011


DE RUEHAM #0329/01 0390643
P 080643Z FEB 10
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 05 AMMAN 000329 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/08/2020 
Classified By: Ambassador R. Stephen Beecroft 
for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 
¶1.  (S//NF) SUMMARY:  The Chairman's visit comes at a time 
when Jordan has made significant contributions both in 
Afghanistan and to broader regional security: encouraging 
Syria to seek a moderate Arab alternative to Iranian 
influence, maintaining its focus on a two-state solution to 
the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and   redoubling its 
efforts to strengthen ties with Baghdad.  At the same time, 
Amman perceives U.S. military financial support as not 
keeping pace with the level of Jordanian regional 
contributions.  Despite the 2008 Memorandum of Understanding 
on foreign assistance agreeing on an annual commitment of 
$300 million in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) through 
2014, Jordan continues to seek additional assistance in the 
form of supplemental appropriations.  In 2009 Jordan was 
successful in obtaining $150 million in forward-financed 
assistance in this manner, directly reducing our FMF 
commitment for 2010.  Jordan has so far been disappointed 
with our lack of commitment to leave behind or store military 
equipment redeploying through Jordan from Iraq.  End Summary. 
Middle East Peace 
¶2.  (S//NF)  Jordan continues to play a central role in 
fostering Middle East peace and a two-state solution to the 
Arab-Israeli conflict.  Both the King and his Foreign 
Minister Naser Joudeh have maintained steady pressure on 
other Arab states to offer modest deliverables to Israel. 
The King's efforts, which have met with some success, seek 
tangible steps such as overflight permission for Israeli air 
traffic, linking telecommunications networks with Israel, and 
reducing restrictions on travelers who have transited Israel. 
Recently however, the King has adopted a new approach, 
pressing PM Netanyahu and President Abbas to initiate 
immediate negotiations aimed at producing even limited 
Israeli concessions.  Positive progress at the negotiating 
table, however meager, could provide crucial political cover 
for Abu Mazen, affording him a measure of maneuverability. 
¶3.  (S//NF)  Given his public backing of U.S. attempts to 
restart Middle East Peace negotiations, the King views the 
lack of progress as damaging to his credibility.  This damage 
could limit his ability to play a constructive role in the 
future.  At the same time, Jordanian officials consistently 
express concern that Jordan will be asked to assume a degree 
of guardianship over the West Bank, a move which many believe 
would alter Jordan's demographic makeup in ways that directly 
threaten its Hashemite rule, and consequently, the interests 
of the East Bank elites. 
¶4.  (C)  Jordan has been a leader in engaging with Iraq, 
using engagement to promote bilateral trade and encouraging 
Iraq to build stronger ties with Arab states rather than with 
Iran.  As evidence of the proactive Jordanian position the 
King became the first Arab Head of State to visit Baghdad, in 
July 2008, and has named an Ambassador to Iraq. The King 
supports Prime Minister Maliki and sees progress as slow, but 
moving in the right direction.  Senior Jordanian leaders have 
become concerned that increasing tensions between the central 
government and the Kurdistan Region will erupt in violent 
conflict and are skeptical that Iraq can maintain stability 
as U.S. forces withdraw. 
¶5.  (S)  In response to a request by General Odierno to 
provide capacity-building assistance to the Iraqi Ministries 
of Defense and Interior, Jordan has hosted visits of Iraqi 
officers to learn about border security operations on the 
Syrian border and observe military cooperation through joint 
AMMAN 00000329  002 OF 005 
exercises with CENTCOM.  Jordan hosted Iraqis at two 2009 
seminars aimed at building the Iraqi capacity to manage their 
own Foreign Military Sales workload.  Jordan has also said it 
will send a Defense Attach to Baghdad, but has not yet made 
plans to do so. 
¶6.  (S)  Jordan signed a Technical Agreement with CENTCOM in 
July, laying the groundwork for redeployment of U.S. forces 
and equipment from Iraq through Jordan.  In November, the 
first set of U.S. Brigade Combat Team (BCT) equipment 
redeployed through Jordan, signaling an appreciable increase 
in throughput with additional BCT sets redeploying in 
December and January.  Over the course of the next six 
months, seven additional BCT sets of equipment are scheduled 
to transit Jordan en route to the port of Aqaba and 
ultimately to the U.S.  Redeployment represents a significant 
boon to the Jordanian economy: $15.1M in 2009. The military 
and political leadership of Jordan has been frustrated that 
the U.S. has not committed to leave equipment behind in 
Jordan to be donated, refurbished, or stored.  Two further 
disappointments include the termination of jet fuel shipments 
through Jordan into Western Iraq, and the U.S. decision not 
to train Iraqi F-16 pilots in Jordanian flight schools. 
¶7.  (S//NF)  Jordan is concerned about Iranian influence in 
the region, particularly the potentially destabilizing effect 
of an Iranian nuclear program,  support for Hizballah and 
Hamas, support for the Huthi and other armed groups in Yemen, 
and Iran's role in Iraq and links with Syria.  The King 
believes that the recent post-election violence in Iran 
exposes deep fissures in the Iranian polity that "makes the 
Supreme Leader look a bit less supreme," forcing Iran's 
leadership to turn inward on domestic issues and limiting 
their freedom and resources to act internationally. 
Especially with the recent buildup of U.S. military assets in 
the Persian Gulf, fear remains that Iran will try to counter 
these perceptions with a dramatic act.  Jordan will support 
new UNSC sanctions against Iran, but will be loath to enforce 
those sanctions in the absence of progress in the Middle East 
Peace Process.  Without a material improvement in the Peace 
Process, any confrontation with Iran risks backlash from 
Palestinian groups 
who cast Tehran as their protector. 
¶8.  (S//NF)  Jordan's senior leadership draws a direct link 
between the willingness of Arab states to counter Iran, and 
progress on Middle East peace, saying that Israeli and 
Sunni-Arab interests are perfectly aligned with respect to 
Iran.  Arab governments are restricted in their ability to 
deal with Iran, they say, so long as Iran is seen as 
supporting the Palestinians against Israel.  Realization of 
the two-state solution would consolidate the regional 
consensus against Iran, Jordan believes. 
¶9.  (S/NF)  Jordan increased its engagement with Syria in the 
last half of 2009 attempting to draw Damascus toward an 
alignment with moderate Arab states and away from Iranian 
influence.  The King and Syrian President Bashar Al Assad met 
at least four times in 2009, which resulted in agreements on 
a number of initiatives, including border demarcation, 
customs procedures, and commercial transport.  Although 
Jordanian officials continue to be skeptical of Syrian 
intentions to follow through, Jordan is supported in its 
dialogue with Syria by Turkey, which is interested in 
increasing its ground transit of commercial goods through 
Syria to Gulf countries. 
AMMAN 00000329  003 OF 005 
Domestic Politics 
¶10.  (C)  King Abdullah dissolved the unpopular Parliament 
and announced a new Cabinet in December 2009, ending months 
of infighting and legislative stalemate.  The King has 
mandated that new elections take place before the end of 2010 
with a new election law currently being drafted.  It is 
unclear whether the new law will correct the disproportionate 
districting that systematically under represents urban 
Palestinian-Jordanians in Parliament.  The current electoral 
system favors rural, traditionally East-Bank districts, over 
the cities.  It is too soon to tell by how much the numbers 
might shift or how tribal or traditional East Bank interests 
would be affected. 
¶11.  (S/NF)  We have been urging the Jordanians to 
re-invigorate social and political reforms, expanding 
political space for civil society, pressing electoral changes 
aimed at a more representative, inclusive system, and further 
loosening of state control over the economy.  The King's 
economic and political changes face domestic opposition from 
tribal leaders and an array of entrenched East Bank 
interests.  The latter include many in the military, security 
services, and bureaucracy, who enjoy a disproportionate share 
of the current system. 
¶12.  (S//NF)  Jordan has made progress on the economic front: 
buying back debt, eliminating subsidies, and promoting a 
trade-based, market-oriented economy.  The positive effects 
of those measures are starting to wane, in part, a 
ramification of the global financial crisis, but also due to 
poor budget management and poor management of its limited 
water and energy resources.  Jordan is one of the world's 
most water-poor nations and is moving aggressively on 
independent and regional initiatives to address its water 
needs.  GAMA, a Turkish company partially owned by General 
Electric was awarded an $800 million contract to pump water 
from Southern Jordan's Disi aquifer to Amman.  While a World 
Bank-led study continues on conveying water from the Red Sea 
to the Dead Sea to rehabilitate the Dead Sea, generate 
hydropower, and provide desalinated water to Jordan, Israel, 
and the Palestinian Authority, Jordan announced in May 2009, 
similar plans for the unilateral $10 billion Jordan Red Sea 
Development Project to bene 
fit Jordan only.  Jordan has yet to secure the requisite 
funding to begin the single-country project. 
¶13. (S//NF)   Jordan's economy is also affected by its energy 
needs.  Jordan is a net importer of energy and thus subject 
to market fluctuations for oil prices.  It imports some of 
its fuel needs from Iraq, but poor infrastructure limits 
import quantities, which must travel overland by tanker 
truck.  Consequently, the discount offered barely offsets 
transportation costs.  Since 2003, Jordan has paid market 
rate for other imported fuel.  Jordan sees nuclear energy as 
its future and the King has placed a priority on developing a 
civilian nuclear energy program. The GOJ is anxious to sign a 
Nuclear Cooperation Agreement (NCA) with the United States, 
required for U.S. companies to provide nuclear reactors, fuel 
or materials. NCA negotiations are currently stalled however, 
with the Chairman of the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission 
objecting to assurances sought by the U.S. that Jordan will 
not refine or enrich uranium in Jordan.  Meanwhile, the GOJ 
continues to advance its nuclear energy program and has 
signed either MOUs or NCAs with the United States, Canada, 
China, France, South Korea, the UK, and a number of other 
Military Assistance and Cooperation 
¶14.  (C)  The U.S.-Jordan mil-to-mil relationship is among 
the most extensive in the region.  In September 2008, an MOU 
on Foreign Assistance was signed with Jordan that included a 
AMMAN 00000329  004 OF 005 
commitment to $300 million annually in Foreign Military 
Financing (FMF) through 2014.  In 2009 Congress allocated 
$150 million (of the $300 million) in forward-financed FMF to 
Jordan through the Supplemental Appropriation (which will 
reduce the FMF commitment for 2010 by an equal amount.)  In 
January, Jordan's top military advisor, Prince Faisal, and 
Minister of Planning met Defense and State Department 
officials and Members of Congress in Washington aimed at 
securing a pledge of funds through an anticipated Afghanistan 
supplemental appropriation.  Although these assistance levels 
are substantial, Jordan is sensitive to decreases in FMF from 
the height of the war in Iraq when Jordan received large 
supplemental appropriations.  For example, combined FMF was 
$497 million in 2008, $307 million in 2007, and $305 million 
in 2006. 
¶15.  (U)  In addition to FMF, Jordan is one of the largest 
recipients of Individual Military Education and Training 
(IMET) funding, which will be $3.8M in 2010 and $3.7M in 
¶2011.  The program pays immense dividends, developing strong 
professional bonds between U.S. and JAF officer corps. 
¶16.  (C)  Jordan makes significant contributions to U.S. 
regional security priorities.  In July 2009, Jordan deployed 
a 712-soldier Ranger Battalion to Logar Province in 
Afghanistan to provide election security (TF 222).  The JAF 
deployed the second battalion rotation in support of OEF in 
January 2010, despite the cost (pay entitlements) and risk to 
their soldiers' safety.  JAF leaders have intimated that they 
would advocate even larger-scale deployments (a brigade), if 
the pay/entitlement expense were not so burdensome.  In fact, 
during the Joint Military Commission in November 2009, MG 
Mash'al Al Zaben, Chief of Staff for Strategy, stated that 
Jordan would stay in Afghanistan until the last U.S. soldier 
came home.  In October, Jordan deployed the second rotation 
of a Special Operations company (TF 111) that conducts combat 
operations alongside U.S. Special Forces. The third 
rotational company deploys in February 2010. 
¶17.  (S/NF) Following the December 30 suicide bombing by a 
Jordanian national in Khost, Afghanistan, Jordan has 
experienced increased calls by opposition groups and 
non-governmental figures to explain its Afghanistan 
assistance and end its security cooperation with the United 
States.  So far, such calls and commentary in the press have 
received no traction with the government, which vigorously 
and publically defends its efforts to combat terrorism. 
Jordanian government officials have privately reiterated the 
commitment to maintaining their relationship with us, 
highlighting their deployments in Afghanistan and elsewhere. 
¶18. (C) In May, Jordan completed a donation of 10 M60 tanks 
to Lebanon, funded by UAE.  Jordan delivered to Yemen 25 M113 
Armored Personnel Carriers in response to a request from 
State Department, funded by UAE.  Jordan has offered to 
assist with other deployments, counter-piracy missions, and 
to host training courses and exercises for Iraqi, Lebanese, 
and other forces, but remains dependent on external financial 
support to fund its contributions.  Jordan continues to 
supply forces to U.N. sponsored Peace-Keeping Operations 
around the world. 
¶19.  (S).  Jordan is anxious to provide additional 
contributions to the fight in Afghanistan, and made this 
clear during HRH Prince Feisal's recent trip to Washington. 
OSD, Joint Staff and CENTCOM are reviewing their proposals. 
¶20.  (S)  Despite the high levels of FMF and other security 
assistance, Jordan continues to request additional financial 
resources from external sources to make each contribution to 
regional security possible.  For example, the Lebanon and 
Yemen donations were financed with funds from the UAE. 
Training programs for regional forces are financed through 
U.S. Anti-Terrorist Assistance (ATA) funds or the U.S. 
Security Coordinator (USSC).  In addition, Jordanian law 
stipulates that its soldiers deployed overseas are entitled 
AMMAN 00000329  005 OF 005 
to approximately $1,700 monthly in combat pay, which has been 
financed through the United Nations for peacekeeping 
operations.  Jordan has not yet identified a source of combat 
pay funding for its Afghanistan deployments but is hopeful 
NATO will contribute. 
¶21.  (S)  Jordan has used its FMF to improve its border 
security and defensive capabilities remaining cognizant of 
interoperability with U.S. forces.  We are concerned that 
Jordan has focused too heavily on acquiring expensive new 
technology and needs to place more emphasis on the training 
and maintenance needs of existing programs.