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Jordan and Iraq

June 26, 1993

* It was surprising to see your paper publish a report regarding the alleged Jordanian assistance to Iraq during the Persian Gulf crisis ("Jordan Helped Iraq During Gulf War, New Report Says," June 17). There was nothing new in your article, which was based on a report by the House appropriations subcommittee on foreign operations made available to the public June 10. The subcommittee report was based on a report by the General Accounting Office that was published September, 1992. Even the classified annex to that report was declassified more than a month ago.

Your report failed to point out that the genesis of the GAO report lies in a quarrel between the executive and legislative branches of government during the Bush Administration, and not in congressional upset with Jordan. In fact, the subcommittee chairman, Rep. David Obey (D-Wis.), made it clear on numerous occasions that he is not in favor of suspending aid to Jordan. In comments made on the House floor last Oct. 1 he said, "I will continue to support Administration policy to Jordan because it is important to the peace process." Your report failed to point out this positive element.

The Department of State confirmed last week what it had said any number of times previously that there is "no evidence" to verify reports suggesting that Jordan shared U.S. allied and Israeli intelligence with Iraq during the Persian Gulf crisis. It is indeed peculiar that your news story--which had no "new" element to it but only rehashed what was addressed in the fall of last year--was published two days before a new page was opened in Jordanian-U.S. relations, with King Hussein meeting with President Clinton.

State Department spokesman Mike McCurry said the information the Clinton Administration has is "still the same information that is covered by that GAO report. And clearly, if someone had new information, we would look at it, but that's not the case."

Jordan is a crucial player in the region. It is a driving force behind peace talks between Israel and its Arab neighbors. It is also a pioneer and a model in democratization and political reforms. It is time the U.S. media addressed Jordan's efforts and achievements thus far, so that the American people can appreciate the country's contributions, as many people and governments around the world have already done.

MARWAN MUASHER, Director

Jordan Information Bureau

Washington

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