U.S.-Jordan military exercises began yesterday in the southern desert part of the country amid heightened tensions over a potential massive U.S. attack on Iraq. An undisclosed number of U.S. Marines landed offshore from two vessels docked at a Red Sea port.
For weeks, there have been reports in both the US and Middle Eastern Press about Washington possibly using Jordan as a forward operating base for a massive attack against Iraq. The Jordanian government has vehemently denied these reports and King Abdullah has personally appeared on TV here in the US to say that US officials told him the stories were the result of false leaks by low level people in the government.
Meanwhile, last week Jordan shut down the office of the Al-Jazeera satellite network, accusing the station of provoking "sedition" by airing views critical of the kingdom’s rulers. The country’s information minister, accused Al-Jazeera of continuously seeking to "harm Jordan … whether directly or indirectly." At issue last week was an interview Al Jazeera did with a Palestinian professor from California State University. That Professor joins us now.
- As’ad Abu Khalil, professor of political science, California State University and author of ??Bin Laden, Islam and America’s New War on Terrorism.