Jordan & Yemen: Fruitful Military Cooperation [Archives:1998/26/Law & Diplomacy]

June 29 1998

Staff Brigadier Mousah I. S. Al-Khalili has just concluded his term of service as Military Attache at the Jordanian Embassy in Sanaa. He was the dean of all military attaches posted in Yemen. He has been decorated by President Ali Abdullah Saleh with the Medal of Duty, in “recognition of his positive role in strengthening cooperation between the two¬†brotherly armies.”
Brig. Al-Khalili, 50, has served in the Jordanian armed forces for 32 years, and was promoted to the rank of brigadier six years ago.
Bin Sallam of Yemen Times met Al-Khalili and filed the following interview.
Q: What are the major achievements and agreements reached jointly by Yemen and Jordan during your tenure here?
A: The military department at the Jordanian Embassy in Sanaa is only 4 years old. Before that, there was no military cooperation between Yemen and Jordan, except for brief spells in the 1970s.
It was not possible to start the cooperation immediately after the 1994 war, while the previous military attache was here. The Yemeni army was undergoing a process of re-organization.
During the last two years, the armies of Yemen and Jordan have been able to take big joint steps in the fields of training, services, army rules and regulations, and the exchange of administrative expertise. I can confidently state that we have reached a very satisfactory level of collaboration.
Q: Could you tell us more about the reasons why you were decorated by the President?
A: This medal is given for the first time to a military attache of another country. According to the President’s letter, the medal is given in recognition of the efforts I made to develop military cooperation between the 2 countries.
Q: What is the extent of military training given to Yemeni army personnel in Jordan?
A: Yemeni military men are invited to get advanced training at Jordan’ top military institutes. Studies for bachelor degrees in military science are also available for Yemenis.
Q: The Jordanian army is well known for its discipline and training. Could you tell us about the current armament and training status of the Jordanian army?
A: The military authorities in Jordan concentrate on quality, not quantity. For example, priority is given to constantly maintaining and developing all the military hardware to be always in good working order. The Jordanian army has some equipment and vehicles that date back to the 1970s, but they operate as good as new.
That is the main reason why military expenditure in Jordan is kept to a minimum. Army engineers are always working on improving the existing versions of military ware to keep up with world developments.
Q: Does Jordan manufacture any weapons or other military equipment?
A: The recently established National Development Company is now doing a lot of work on developing and improving existing military hardware and weapons, as well as producing new ones. It will also provide maintenance for other armies.
Q: Why does Jordan always conduct military maneuvers with the US army?
A: Military exercises are carried out jointly with several friendly and brotherly countries, not just with the US. However, since the Jordanian army uses American arms and employs almost the same military tactics/strategies, more exercises are carried out with the Americans.
Q: How have you benefited from you work in Yemen?
A: I have benefited a lot. By serving as the dean of military attachs in Sanaa, I have had the chance to meet with my counterparts from other countries. We discuss many issues of mutual interest – military and political.
My contacts with my Yemeni colleagues have also enabled me to exchange a lot of knowledge and expertise.
Q: People believe the military attache has the job of collecting information about the host country and sending it back to for analysis. How true is this?
A: This is an erroneous belief. The actual duty of a military attach is to initiate cooperation with the host country in various military fields and to sending reports about the major events in the host country, which are usually reported in the national press anyway. There are no disputes between Yemen and Jordan, which does necessitate the collection or the exchange of information. It is the duty of diplomats to be well informed about conditions of the country in which they are posted.