Dubai is not the only hot spot in Asia with a host of American military presence. During her four-day visit to the U.S., King Abdullah II of Jordan visits the Amman Air Force base, which is likely the world’s largest official military installation built for foreign troops. The base, home to more than 11,000 personnel from 17 countries, has long since outgrown its building in the city of just 3 million. Jordan’s population is divided between Palestinian and Israeli citizens. And Israel retains control over the airport, which carries the distinction of being the last in the region to be opened to civilian traffic. As the only domestic airport in Jordan, it flies about 2,000 passengers a day on average. And not only did the base provide Jordanians with their first direct flight to Israel, but it is, in effect, an air bridge for passengers fleeing from the war in Syria. This is the military-to-military relationship that has become one of the most important in the Middle East and a battleground in the fight against terrorism.
Kawar, the base, has a spectacular skyline. Japan, India, England, Germany, Kuwait, Italy, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States all have bases here. The U.S. was founded in this desert, the base across the river from Hussein’s palace. When this country was founded in 1917, the Jordanian founder, Hussein, ordered every new resident – even the women – to join him. That began a country of immigrants who claim the honor of being the only country where all the Christians are Muslim, according to their own standards.
Today, Jordan is home to almost 3 million Syrian refugees and the greatest migration in the Middle East. In Jordan, the war is not just taking innocent lives, but taking jobs and bread, too. The situation has drawn the attention of world leaders, including President Donald Trump, who is scheduled to speak with Abdullah before they meet later on Thursday. Abe’s visit reflects the belief in Abe that, at least for now, Syrian refugees’ burden must be taken on by Arab nations. It is a long-term investment that will, on its own, relieve suffering and unite Arab neighbors.
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