Israel and Jordan: Air Forces Patrol Jointly, Confronted Russian Warplanes — Secrets from King Abdullah
[This blog is written by Yossi Melman and Dan Raviv, whose current book is Spies Against Armageddon: Inside Israel’s Secret Wars. In 1989, they revealed decades of Israeli-Jordanian contacts and cooperation in their book, Behind the Uprising.]
Jordan’s King Abdullah gave private briefings to members of America’s Congress in January. That is rather routine. But apparently detailed notes leaked out, recently, and among other things the depth of Jordan-Israeli military cooperation — and strategic alignment — is revealed.
He writes that the king told about a midair confrontation between Russian planes — which intentionally were straying southwest of Syria’s border to test Israel’s air defenses — and Israeli and Jordanian F-16 jets which operated together. Abdullah said: “The Russians were shocked and understood they cannot mess with us.”
Israel and Jordan have had diplomatic relations ever since signing their peace treaty in 1994.
Abdullah told the members of Congress that he has spoken about Syria with Russia’s government and feels that he is speaking “on behalf of Israel.” He coordinates his positions with the director of Israel’s espionage agency, the Mossad.
That fits in with the Mossad’s traditional role as an alternative foreign ministry, when there are missions that don’t easily fit the daily duties of Israel’s official diplomats.
Abdullah did mention a significant disagreement he has with Israel. He wants the Al-Nusra Front, considered an offshoot of al-Qaeda in Syria, to be bombed by the Russians. Israel, however, sees some positive value in Al-Nusra as an enemy of Hezbollah (the Lebanon-based Shi’ite organization directed by Iran and involved in fighting in Syria).
The king said Russia’s president Vladimir Putin has genuine reasons to want to destroy Islamic terrorists — such as the bomb that blew up a Russian airliner over Egypt’s Sinai last year — adding that Putin listens to Jordan’s advice 90 percent of the time.