Jordan allegedly helped Iraq in war, got U.S. aid

November 30, 1992|By Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON -- The government of Jordan provided militar rTC assistance and information from Israeli and Western intelligence agencies to Iraq after the invasion of Kuwait and during the Persian Gulf war, according to classified documents and interviews.

During this period, the Bush administration allowed some government defense supplies to be shipped to Jordan despite public assurances to Congress that such aid had stopped, according to the records.

Even after Jordan's King Hussein publicly declared his support for Iraq and the United States imposed a ban on all U.S. military trade with Jordan, commercial military shipments were still being cleared for delivery through the war's final days, the records indicate.

The allegations are contained in the classified annex to a report by the General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress, on Jordan's compliance with United Nations sanctions against Iraq.

The report was conducted at the request of a House subcommittee and was issued Sept. 25. But several of its key findings have remained classified "secret" at the insistence of the administration. A copy of the secret portion was obtained recently by the Los Angeles Times.

The investigation suggests that the U.S. posture toward Jordan was more lenient than the administration publicly indicated during the gulf crisis. It also offers the prospect that Iraq may have derived some benefit from the continuing U.S.-Jordan relationship during the period.

Contacted for comment, a State Department official disputed some of the GAO's findings.

Calvin Mitchell, an official in the Middle East division, said that there was no proof Jordan sent arms to Iraq after the invasion of Kuwait.

He declined to discuss the allegations about intelligence sharing and other forms of Jordanian-Iraqi cooperation.

Other officials acknowledged that the administration did not take the most stringent position on Jordan's dealings with Iraq. They said that some consideration was justified in recognition of Jordan's extremely delicate position in the region and in view of U.S. hopes of restoring a good relationship in the future.

A representative of the Jordanian government said that the report's allegations were unfounded. "I can categorically deny that we have had any military cooperation or sale of military equipment to Iraq since Aug. 2," said Marwan Muasher, director of the Jordan Information Bureau in Washington. "And we do not even get intelligence from Israel. We are in a state of war with Israel."

There have been previous reports that Jordan supplied some military equipment to Iraq during the war, including grenade launchers, grenades and mortars. But the new allegations, detailed in the classified annex to the GAO report, suggest much broader assistance.

"U.S. intelligence services verified four types of Jordanian and Iraqi military cooperation during the gulf crisis," the document says. "These activities included joint training exercises with Iraq, two cases of providing access to U.S. technology, one case of purchasing spare parts and one case dealing with the sharing of coalition and Israeli intelligence information."

The report did not disclose details of the U.S. technology provided to Iraq or describe the nature of the intelligence shared.

At the time Iraqi troops invaded Kuwait in August 1990, the United States was providing about $50 million a year in economic and military aid to King Hussein's government. Jordan was recognized as a key U.S. ally in the region.

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