Jordan has been celebrating the 30th anniversary since its independence from Britain. This year also?
Jordan has been celebrating the 30th anniversary since its independence from Britain. This year also marks the 25th anniversary of King Hussein's accession to the throne. On Wednesday (25 May), a military parade was held in Amman to mark both celebrations and Jordan's new Vulcan air defence systems were put on display.
SYNOPSIS: King Hussein came to the throne in August 1952 after the abdication of his father King Talal. Hussein was a minor when he replaced his father but managed to command much respect from the Jordanian people. He continued his father's policy of closer links with Egypt and Syria and has since become one of the major political figures in the Middle East.
There have been many changes though in Jordan since King Hussein came to power. The former mounted army that needed camels and horses for transport has been supplemented by some of the most up-to-date military equipment. Perhaps the most important development in that area was Jordan's agreement last year with the United States for 14 batteries of American Hawk surface-to-air missiles. The Vulcan air defence system forms part of the supporting equipment that the Americans agreed to supply.
Work is already under way on the special Hawk silos in the desert outside Amman. The United States Congress only agreed to the military agreement between the two countries on the understanding that the missiles would have a fixed base and were not mobile. The Royal Jordanian Army will have 84 missiles in its armoury by the end of the year and Jordanian officers are due to complete their first Hawk training course in the United States this summer. But the Americans believe Jordan's additions to its armoury will not disturb the delicate military balance in the Middle East.
The total cost for the Hawk missile system will be about 540 million US dollars (about 290 million sterling). However, much of that expense will be met by Saudi Arabia under an agreement reached by King Hussein and Saudi Arabia's King Khaled in July, 1976