US commander: Jordan war drill not threat to Syria

Topics: From the Wires,

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — A U.S. army commander said Tuesday that a joint military drill that has brought together forces from 19 countries in Jordan is not meant as a threat to neighboring Syria or its leader, Bashar Assad.

Syrian newspapers have lashed out at the ongoing “Exercise Eager Lion 12,” claiming it was named after the Arabic surname of the Syrian president as a message to him that foreign forces are at his doorstep. Assad is lion in Arabic.

The Syrian uprising, which began in March 2011 with mostly peaceful protests calling for change, has turned into an increasingly militarized conflict. The U.N. estimates the violence has killed more than 9,000 people. World powers have backed a peace plan that was put forward by U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, but the bloodshed has not stopped.

The May 7-28 drill in Jordan focuses on training Jordanian and Saudi servicemen in the treatment of refugees, anti-terrorism tactics and naval interception of smuggling vessels, according to Maj. Gen. Ken Tovo, a U.S. commanding general of special operations.

Jordan has so far taken in 110,000 Syrian refugees who fled the conflict at home.

Tovo told a news conference in the capital Amman that the mock war games were “not connected to any real-world event.”

“The message that I want to send from this exercise is that we have developed great partners throughout the region and really from across the world that have the same interest and that is ensuring that we have the ability to operate together when called upon by our nation’s leadership to meet challenges that are common to our nations,” Tovo said.

The exercise includes more than 11,000 service members from the Middle East — excluding Israel and Iran — and from the United States, as well as from Europe, Australia, Pakistan and Brunei.

Maj. Gen. Awni Edwan, chief of staff for training operations in the Jordanian army, said the drill would take place in southern Jordan and that no troops will come near the Syrian border in the north.

“This exercise does not target anyone, none of the neighboring or world countries,” Edwan said, adding that preparations and the selection of the name of the exercise began two years ago — long before last year’s Arab Spring revolutions that also inspired the Syrian uprising.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 10
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Bet Me" by Jennifer Crusie

    A contemporary romantic comedy set to Elvis Costello and lots of luxurious and sinful sugary treats.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Welcome to Temptation" by Jennifer Crusie

    Another of Crusie's romantic comedies, this one in the shadow of an ostentatiously phallic water tower.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "A Gentleman Undone" by Cecilia Grant

    A Regency romance with beautifully broken people and some seriously steamy sex.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Black Silk" by Judith Ivory

    A beautifully written, exquisitely slow-building Regency; the plot is centered on a box with some very curious images, as Edward Gorey might say.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "For My Lady's Heart" by Laura Kinsale

    A medieval romance, the period piece functions much like a dystopia, with the courageous lady and noble knight struggling to find happiness despite the authoritarian society.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Sweet Disorder" by Rose Lerner

    A Regency that uses the limitations on women of the time to good effect; the main character is poor and needs to sell her vote ... or rather her husband's vote. But to sell it, she needs to get a husband first ...   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Frenemy of the People" by Nora Olsen

    Clarissa is sitting at an awards banquet when she suddenly realizes she likes pictures of Kimye for both Kim and Kanye and she is totally bi. So she texts to all her friends, "I am totally bi!" Drama and romance ensue ... but not quite with who she expects. I got an advanced copy of this YA lesbian romance, and I’d urge folks to reserve a copy; it’s a delight.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "The Slightest Provocation" by Pam Rosenthal

    A separated couple works to reconcile against a background of political intrigue; sort of "His Gal Friday" as a spy novel set in the Regency.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Again" by Kathleen Gilles Seidel

    Set among workers on a period soap opera, it manages to be contemporary and historical both at the same time.   Read the whole essay.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments are not enabled for this story.