LONDON (Feb. 11)
King Hussein, of Jordan, whose loyal forces apparently have been bolstered by an infantry regiment and training cadres from Pakistan, is facing a new showdown with Palestinian guerrillas, it was reported here today. Jordanian Government officials and guerrilla leaders began top level talks to avert a crisis. Yesterday a committee representing various commando groups based in Jordan threatened a “civil war” if Hussein moves to enforce a new order requiring guerrillas to turn their arms and ammunition over to Jordanian authorities. The new order re-affirms an old one that prohibited guerrillas from carrying arms in towns. But guerrillas strolled defiantly through the streets of Amman with Soviet-made rifles slung over their shoulders today and were not challenged by Jordanian soldiers or security guards, it was reported here.
According to reports from Beirut, Pakistan sent a 2000-3000 man infantry regiment into Jordan several months ago. It also reportedly sent training missions–one for the Jordanian Air force and one for armored units–each numbering between 200-300 men. Their presence has been confirmed by Western intelligence. The Jordanian Army, of about 55,000 men, is re-enforced by about 12,000 Iraqi and 5000 Syrian troops and some 1500 soldiers from Saudi Arabia. Pakistan is the first non-Arab country known to have sent military support against Israel. Observers believe however that the appearance of these forces in Jordan is intended less for use against Israel than to protect the Hussein regime from a popular uprising stirred by the guerrillas. El Fatah, the largest Palestinian commando group, denounced Hussein’s arms control move in its nightly broadcast over Cairo radio. “The time has come,” it said, “for the masses to act and act quickly not only to stop the new conspiracy but to inflict final defeat on the conspirators.”