By Barbara Starr
The United States and Jordan are actively discussing the possibility of sending American Patriot missile batteries to Jordan to boost its defenses as the civil war in Syria continues to threaten the region, according to a senior Pentagon official.
He emphasized that an agreement to undertake such an operation has not yet been reached.
Even though Jordanian officials have long said they do not believe the Syrian regime would attack Jordan, there have been increased efforts by Amman to boost its military cooperation with the United States as violence spreads.
If an agreement is reached, the Patriot batteries could be reassigned from other areas in the region, although U.S. officials declined to say where they are currently located.
It's possible the missile batteries could be flown to Jordan within days and used initially as part of the upcoming multinational military exercise in June, the official said.
If that happens, they would be publicly portrayed as part of that training. But there could be a decision to leave them there for some weeks after the exercise.
Jordanian officials, including Information Minister Mohammad Momani, have been widely quoted in recent days as saying Jordan wants Patriot missiles placed there.