Jordan denies press reports about U.S. military presence as part of preparations for attack on Iraq

Published June 29th, 2002 - 02:00 GMT

Jordan has denied a Lebanese newspaper report that dozens of US troops and intelligence services have been sent into the kingdom under a plan to overthrow Iraqi President, Saddam Hussein.  

 

"The information is totally false. Nothing that was written is true, there is not a single American soldier on the Jordanian territory," Jordanian Foreign Minister Marwan Moasher told AFP Saturday.  

 

In a front-page story, Lebanon's As-Safir daily said Saturday forward bases for US troops had been established in Jordan, in preparation for an attack on Iraq.  

 

"Jordanian King Abdullah has given orders to clear two military airports in Jordan for the US forces. About 2,000 US troops have been deployed in Jordan so far," the daily said.  

 

It quoted "well informed diplomatic sources" as saying Washington "has launched a security and military operation in Iraq." "Dozens of those US soldiers, along with CIA agents, have been sent into Iraqi territory," it added.  

 

Central Intelligence Agency chief George Tenet had "personally visited northern Iraq during his last tour of the region and had given orders to start the security plan after US President George W. Bush (recently) approved a decision to ask the CIA to overthrow ... Saddam," the sources said.  

 

The Lebanese daily, which has close relations with the Syrian leadership, said the US had started a "flurry of contacts with various forces among the Iraqi opposition, and there are great difficulties in forming a coalition similar to the 'Northern Alliance' in Afghanistan.  

 

"Intensive contacts are being held with both the Kurdish and Shiite opposition in order to establish springboards for potential operations," they said.  

 

The sources added that Washington had first approached Saudi Arabia, which "refused to let its territory be used for any military attack against Iraq.  

 

"It seems that discussions moved to other countries in order to reach an agreement on the possibility of using their territory in case it is needed," they said.  

 

"The United States has drawn a plan for an emergency economic assistance to Jordan in case its economic and trade relations with Iraq suffer a crisis," they added. (Albawaba.com) 

© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)


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