The King of Jordan, King Abdullah II, met with Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif this past week during his visit to the U.S. King Abdullah has taken a justifiably aggressive stand against ISIS following the murder of one of their pilots and intends to respond forcefully. Some have referred to this British and American educated King as taking on a “Clint Eastwood” stance. He has military training, both in the UK and US, was trained to fly Cobra Attack Helicopters, and commanded Jordanian Special Forces.
I don’t know much about him other than recent news reports, but based on his résumé it is hard to doubt his sincerity. There are also unconfirmed rumors that he intends to personally fly sorties against ISIS.
Jordan was denied the opportunity to purchase the Predator XP, General Atomic’s “export” version of the MQ-1 Predator. Both are export controlled under the ITAR, but the Predator XP has been specially modified to meet export requirements. It is still ITAR controlled, just not as strictly as the MQ-1. The airframes will be controlled under ITAR Category VIII (Missile Technology), but there are going to be many internal components that are also ITAR controlled.
The Department of State, which must authorize any exports of ITAR controlled defense articles, denied General Atomic’s request earlier this year for a DSP-5 export license to market and sell the Predator XP to Jordan. Representative Hunter wrote the Obama administration this week asking that it reconsider its denial. Furthermore, the Senate Armed Services Committee has asked for a briefing from the Department of State on the US foreign military sales program.
I heard recently in the news that Jordan is not able to maintain the charge against ISIS indefinitely due to financial strains on the country. They do not have the natural resources of its neighbors or an economy as developed as Israel. Furthermore, they are financially burdened by the costs of aiding a wave of over 600,000 refugees from Syria. Undoubtedly they need help from their neighbors and the U.S. to continue this press against our mutual foe. The Predator is one weapon in the arsenal that can be used to fight ISIS.