Report Only Mild Enthusiasm Greets Reported Iraq-jordan-syria Military Command

Reports that Iraq, Jordan and Syria have decided to establish a joint military command to strengthen Jordan’s vulnerable frontier with Israel were greeted with only mild enthusiasm, it was reported here from Beirut. According to the report, an Iraqi officer will head the command and Damascus will be offered as its headquarters. The paper said that such a locale is unlikely to find favor with other two member countries, even in their present conciliatory mood.

(The Christian Science Monitor in Boston reported in a Beirut dispatch from John K. Cooley that the main purpose of the joint command “would be to remedy the almost total lack of staff or tactical coordination between the Arab staffs in the June, 1967 war.” Mr. Cooley attributed reports of the move to “trustworthy informants” and said the combined staff group was believed to have resulted from talks in Amman a week ago in which the Iraqi defense minister and chief of staff participated along with the Jordanian commander in chief and the chiefs of staff of Syria and Saudi Arabia. “The new Arab staff planning is probably intended to replace completely the old defunct unified Arab military command set up by the first two Arab summit conferences in 1964,” Mr. Cooley wrote. “That command never functioned effectively because of inter-Arab political bickering,” he said.)

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