You are here

NATO to expand cooperation with Jordan in fight against extremism

By JT , AP - Jul 10,2016 - Last updated at Jul 10,2016

AMMAN/WARSAW — NATO allies agreed on Saturday to increase cooperation with Jordan as part of a plan to boost the alliance’s support  for countries battling Islamist extremism in North Africa and the Middle East.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh participated in the summit, deputising for His Majesty King Abdullah, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance’s leaders agreed to step up coordination with the Kingdom, to use NATO surveillance planes against the terrorist group Daesh and to launch a new naval mission in the Mediterranean.

“Today we have taken decisions to strengthen our partners and to project stability beyond our borders,” Stoltenberg told reporters on the second day of a crucial NATO summit in Warsaw. 

“We will provide greater support to our partners, so they can secure their countries and push back against violent extremism,” he added.

During the closed session, Judeh stressed Jordan’s firm stand against terrorism and extremism, underlining its role in ensuring the safety and stability of the Middle East and the world. 

On Friday, Judeh took part in the foreign ministers of NATO member states’ meeting that covered the issues of war on terrorism and extremism, during which he highlighted the terrorist attacks that occurred in the Kingdom during the fasting month of Ramadan. 

He also highlighted bombings that targeted Muslim sanctuaries as a proof that terrorists target all people regardless of their beliefs or backgrounds.

Judeh said that not finding a solution to the Palestinian cause will contribute to the blooming of terrorism, and reminded the NATO member states of the burdens Jordan carries on behalf of the international community.

The minister also stressed the importance of fulfilling the pledge made to Jordan at the London donor conference in February. 

The NATO chief said millions of people in Africa and the Middle East have been rendered “homeless and helpless” by radical organisations like Daesh, and that the extremist groups are also to blame for organising terrorist attacks in Europe and America.

Stoltenberg said NATO will start a training and capacity-building mission for Iraqi armed forces in Iraq, a country he called central in the fight against Daesh. NATO is also working to establish an intelligence centre in Tunisia, a major recruiting ground for Daesh, and will shortly start providing support to Tunisian special operation forces, he said.

Stoltenberg said US President Barack Obama and leaders of the other 27 NATO countries also agreed in principle for alliance surveillance aircraft to provide direct support to the US-led coalition fighting Daesh in Syria and Iraq, a decision the NATO chief called “a clear signal of our resolve to help tackle terrorism”. NATO diplomats say they expect flights by alliance AWACS planes to begin this fall.

Stoltenberg said the alliance will launch a new maritime operation in the Mediterranean called Operation Sea Guardian, whose responsibilities will include counterterrorism. NATO will also cooperate with the European Union’s efforts to shut down human smuggling operations that have fuelled Europe’s greatest migrant crisis since World War II.

The alliance is also preparing to help the new government in Libya design policies and institutions to help it better defend itself against extremist organisations, Stoltenberg said.

Obama had been urging his fellow NATO leaders in Warsaw to expand their support for the war in Afghanistan against the Taliban. Meanwhile, violence in the US led him cut his Europe trip short so he can return home Sunday.

The US has pledged to provide $3.5 billion (JD2.48 billion) annually to fund Afghan forces, and the government in Kabul is expected to contribute as much as $500 million (JD354 million). Allies would provide the remaining $1 billion (JD708 million). The funding would maintain a total of 352,000 Afghan Army troops and police officers.

“We are very close and I am certain we will reach that [funding] level,” Stoltenberg told reporters. A senior US administration official said NATO has commitments for about 90 per cent of the goal.

Stoltenberg said it is too soon to say exactly how many troops allies will agree to keep in Afghanistan under NATO’s Resolute Support training and advisory mission. But he said he believed that, based on commitments made Saturday, force levels will remain largely stable. Specific numbers will be finalised this fall, he noted.

US administration officials said they believe the number of forces dedicated to the NATO mission will be a bit more than 12,000, and the US has pledged about 6,700 of that total. The officials were not authorised to discuss the details publicly, so spoke on condition of anonymity.

Earlier last week, Obama announced that overall he would keep 8,400 US troops in Afghanistan, rather than cut their numbers to 5,500 as he once planned. In addition to taking part in the NATO advisory-and-assist mission, the US has special operations forces in the country that conduct counterterrorism missions.

The planned force levels allow NATO allies to remain in regional hubs around Afghanistan, with Germany in the north, Italy in the west, Turkey in the capital of Kabul and the United States in the east and south.

The Warsaw summit, NATO’s first in two years, is considered by many to be the alliance’s most important since the Cold War. Stoltenberg says NATO, founded in 1949, needs to adapt to confront an array of new threats to its member nations’ security, including cyber attacks and violence sparked by radical organisations like Daesh.

On Friday, NATO leaders approved the deployment of four multinational battalions to Poland and the Baltic states to deter Russia, as well as a Romanian-Bulgarian brigade for the Black Sea region. Germany will lead a multinational battalion in Lithuania, with similar battalions to be led by the United States in Poland, Britain in Estonia and Canada in Latvia.

Those moves were strongly criticised Saturday by Mikhail Gorbachev, the former Soviet president during the Cold War.

“NATO has begun preparations for escalating from the Cold War into a hot one,” Gorbachev was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency. “All the rhetoric in Warsaw just yells of a desire almost to declare war on Russia. They only talk about defence, but actually are preparing for offensive operations.”


The White House, meanwhile, announced Obama would cut his Europe trip short by one day in the wake of the attack in Dallas that killed five police officers and wounded seven others during protests over fatal police shootings of black men in Minnesota and Louisiana.

169 users have voted.


Get top stories and blog posts emailed to you each day.