Jordan's desert corps -- one of the most colourful and romantic police forces in the Middle East -- celebrates its Golden Jubilee this month.
GV Camel patrol parading behind jeep as band plays
GV King Hussein of Jordan saluting as camel corps rides by
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Background: Jordan's desert corps -- one of the most colourful and romantic police forces in the Middle East -- celebrates its Golden Jubilee this month. The event was marked by a ceremony at Azrak on Thursday (14 May), which King Hussein of Jordan attended.
SYNOPSIS: Most of the corps is made up of nomadic Bedouins whose forefathers, led by the legendary Lawrence of Arabia, fought Turkish occupation forces during World War One. The modern camel patrol was formed in 1931 by another British soldier -- Major John Bagot Glubb -- as a branch of the Arab Legion.
King Hussein dismissed Glubb in 1956 amid a resurgence of Arab pride, and the camel corps reshaped itself into the tough modern-day force against gun-runners and drugs smugglers. King Hussein has long acknowledged the strong support given to his dynasty by the conservative Sunni Moslem tribesmen, from whose ranks the patrol is recruited.
As well as handling major crimes, such as murder, rape and theft, the men of the desert corps provide food and water for shepherds, trace stray camels, and help nomads find water and grass for their goats. As new roads open up Jordan's desert region, the jeep is gradually replacing the camel. But there is an abiding loyalty in the force for its traditional transport, which after all, can go five days without fuel.