Saudi Arabian troops who've been stationed in Jordan since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war left for home on Monday (8 November).
Saudi Arabian troops who've been stationed in Jordan since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war left for home on Monday (8 November). A similar withdrawal of Saudi troops from Syria was virtually completed last week. The official explanation for the return home of the Saudi brigades, each of about 4000 men, is that they need to be re-equipped and retrained.
SYNOPSIS: The day before the Saudis left Jordan (7 November) an impressive farewell parade was held at their base in the south of the country. King Hussein was there and the Saudi Defence Minister, Prince Sultan Ben Abdul Aziz, flew in specially to attend.
Prior to the march past King Hussein decorated the brigade's flag. He also presented decorations to the Saudi Commander, Major General Mohammad Al-Sheikh and other senior officers.
During their stay in Jordan the troops were encamped near the ancient town of Karak, in the mountains to the east of the Dead Sea. Reuters quoted informed sources as saying that the families of the soldiers who'd been living there started leaving for home five months ago. The same sources also say there are no plans for the Saudis to return to Jordan.
The Prince's visit to Jordan came on the eve of a visit to Britain, reportedly to buy arms. Last year his country spent 4,520 million pounds sterling (5561,600,000 million U.S. dollars) on defence and it has ordered new tanks from the United States, France and Britain, new artillery and British and French anti-aircraft systems. Now it appears the troops who'll be using such sophisticated equipment will soon be learning how to use them. For an army with no extensive experience in modern warfare, training and familiarisation with such equipment could be a major problem. But although the retraining explanation seems the main reason for the troops withdrawal there is also wide speculation that some of the men will be incorporated into the Arab Peacekeeping force that will be sent into Lebanon soon.