WASHINGTON (Apr. 15)
King Hussein of Jordan is said to be seeking from the United States weapons and counter-insurgency equipment that could be used in guerrilla warfare. He may be planning to establish a Hashemite Kingdom guerrilla force to compete with the El Fatah terrorist organization whose popularity and boldness is growing in Jordan, well-informed sources say. The counter-insurgency devices reportedly sought may include electronic and other equipment developed by the U.S. for use in Vietnam. The weaponry is said to include light mortars, light machineguns, plastic explosives of a new and sophisticated design, and the latest mines.
It was not clear, the sources said, whether he wanted the materiel for use against the El Fatah, which is competing for popular support with his regime and opposes a peace settlement with Israel, or against the Israelis. A better knowledge of detection apparatus and methods would equip the Arabs to deal with similar equipment used by the Israeli defense forces.
Reports have circulated in Jerusalem that King Hussein plans to form his own guerrilla organization and that the former Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin el-Hussein, is in charge of the operation. The young monarch has had limited effectiveness in controlling the Palestinian Arabs who are using Jordan as a base for assaults and sabotage in Israel. An El Fatah rocket attack on Israel’s port of Eilat last week led to the arrest of Fatah guerrillas and tensions between that terrorist organization and King Hussein’s loyal Bedouin army in Amman.
The King has repeatedly defended the guerrilla movement during his current U.S. trip. He said at a dinner yesterday in New York given by the U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce and the American-Arab Chamber of Commerce and Industry that the commandos were homeless men who have “taken matters into their own hands in the only way they could.” He declared that when the Palestinian refugees are permitted to return to their homes or are given compensation by Israel, “the need for commando action will cease to exist.” But until that happens, he said, the guerrillas will “continue in operation with the encouragement of the entire Arab world.”