US to boost aid to Jordan, despite Trump’s threats

The US is boosting aid to Jordan by more than $1 billion, in spite of Trump’s threats to punish countries that don’t agree with US policies.

By: AP

Despite repeated threats to punish countries that do not agree with US policy in the Middle East, the Trump administration is set to boost aid to Jordan by more than $1 billion over the next five years.

President Donald Trump has vowed to cut aid to nations that oppose the US, yet rhetoric appears to have hit reality with Jordan, a critical American partner in the volatile Middle East that has opposed the administration’s Mideast approach.

Jordan, together with another 127 countries, voted in December to condemn the US for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and has criticized the US for withholding millions in funding for so-called Palestinian refugees, many of whom live in Jordan.

Nonetheless, US officials say the administration has decided to give Jordan $1.275 billion annually until 2022. That’s $275 million more per year than the current level.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi signed the aid agreement in Amman on Wednesday.

The announcement appears to represent a victory of sorts for Tillerson and US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, both of whom have been lobbying the administration to continue such assistance on national security grounds, while Trump and ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, have been pressing for aid cuts.

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Tillerson’s visit to Jordan is part of a regional tour that also covers Egypt, Turkey, Lebanon and Kuwait, but not Israel.