LONDON (Mar. 18)
King Hussein of Jordan has called for the use of regular Arab troops in support of Palestinian guerrillas active against Israel, the semi-official Cairo newspaper Al Ahram reported today. The paper said that King Hussein, in Cairo for two days of consultations with President Gamal Abdel Nasser, said it was “unfair to expect the commandos to liberate Israel occupied territory, although they are doing much.”
The Jordanian ruler disclosed that troops of Syria, Iraq and Jordan have joined in a new unified command against Israel. “It was only recently that obstacles began to disappear and a degree of coordination was achieved that inspires satisfaction,” the King was quoted by Al Ahram as saying. He reportedly said that the only political solution possible for the Middle East was through the Security Council’s Nov. 22, 1967 resolution calling among other things, for Israel’s withdrawal from the occupied territories. The Jordanian monarch said the resolution represented “the limit of Arab concessions.”
Reports reaching here from Beirut yesterday said the new right-leaning military regime in Syria was sharply critical of the Soviet Union and was moving toward closer military liaison with neighboring Iraq. According to a Beirut dispatch in the Manchester Guardian yesterday, the new Syrian strongman, Defense Minister Gen. Hafiz Assad, had agreed to the stationing of about 6,000 Iraqi troops in Syria and may also grant the Iraqi Air Force use of Syrian bases. According to the dispatch by Guardian correspondent David Hurst, “Assad has been working for a rapprochement with Iraq for months.” He was interested in disposing of his chief rival, Gen. Saalah Jadid, a left-wing, pro-Soviet isolationist, and the new alignment with the military regime in Iraq appeared to be one way of doing so, Mr. Hurst reported. The Daily Telegraph reported yesterday that Gen. Assad had accused the Soviets of interfering in Syria’s internal affairs, of inspiring policies detrimental to the country’s agriculture and economy, and of supplying Syria with obsolete and sub-standard military equipment. He also charged Moscow with operating a Communist spy network in Syria with money collected in Syria.
Reports from Beirut said travellers reported seeing squads of Iraqi planes flying in formation with Syrian jets. The planes were reportedly sent to provide air cover for 6,000 Iraqi troops now in Syria.
The Beirut newspaper Al Jarida said Gen. Assad agreed to provide Iraq with two air bases in Syria. Reports from Damascus said an undisclosed number of Iraqi troops were stationed at Daraa, 60 miles south of the capital, as part of a new Syrian-Iraqi military union against Israel. They said the Iraqi chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Hammad Chebab, and Gen. Assad had agreed to the move as a means of developing a more solid eastern front against Israel. Syria, Iraq and Jordan have been linked in a loose eastern military command since last September. About 12,000 Iraqi troops are stationed in northern Jordan.