US Trains Palestinians In Jordan: What Could Go Wrong?

Well, how about everything?

I know it would be easier to read my own summary of this Washington Post article, but I truly thought it would be funner if you just read it for yourself. Trust me, you’re going to enjoy it.

MUWAQQAR, Jordan — A U.S.-funded program to train and equip Palestinian security forces is mired in delays, a shortage of resources, and differences between Israelis and the Americans over what military capabilities those forces should have once deployed in the territories.

Weeks into the course, which began in late January, U.S. and Jordanian instructors had yet to receive essential training equipment, including vehicles, two-way radios, dummy pistols, rifles and batons, and a U.S.-designed curriculum, Americans with close knowledge of the program said. Because of Israeli concerns, the group of more than 1,000 Palestinian trainees has not been outfitted with pledged body armor or light-armored personnel carriers. The shortages and delays have forced U.S. and Jordanian trainers to improvise their way through the program, including purchasing pistol-shaped cigarette lighters for use in arrest drills and using their own cars for driver training. One of the Americans said, “In short, we are faking it.”

…Touring the region last week, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the goal is to create “a professional and capable Palestinian security force” in part to counter Hamas, the armed Palestinian faction that controls the Gaza Strip and does not recognize Israel.

The forces being trained here in a desert camp one hour from Jordan’s capital, Amman, are under the Palestinian Authority, run by Hamas’s relatively moderate rival, Fatah, which favors negotiations with Israel. Although Israel insists that the Palestinians must have effective security in the occupied West Bank and Gaza before its forces withdraw further, the Israeli government has placed significant restrictions on the U.S.-coordinated training effort.

…A shortage of practice batons forced 20 to 30 recruits at a time to take turns swinging a single baton, they said. Weeks into the training, Jordanian instructors made up for the shortage by wrapping PVC pipes in electrical tape.

…Also about a month into the course, the Americans said, the Jordanian instructors bought cigarette lighters resembling pistols at local markets for $6 each. Until then, the Palestinians had nothing tangible with which to practice arrests and other maneuvers, leaving them to point their fingers in the form of a gun, the Americans said.

…Course manuals, provided by the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, or INL, arrived after the courses began, the Americans said. The course work is in English, program administrators acknowledged, even though most of the trainees speak only Arabic.

…When it did arrive, much of the State Department course material consisted of excerpts from army manuals, U.S. officials confirmed. One American said trainers had to edit out sections on how to use tanks and grenade launchers to breach buildings, among others involving offensive military tactics.

…The Israeli government has insisted that the Palestinian security forces be trained and equipped as a police force rather than an army that could threaten the Jewish state. Those demands have complicated the training, the Americans said. A U.S. mission statement, dated mid-January, said Palestinian forces would receive body armor and Saudi-made light-armored personnel carriers, designed for use in riots. Israeli objections have blocked delivery of that equipment.

…Israeli officials have blocked delivery of body armor to Palestinian forces of a grade capable of stopping rounds from the M-16 assault rifles used by Israeli troops, American officials said. That level of armor, however, is needed to protect against AK-47 fire from Palestinian fighters.


  • This is just freakin ridiculous.. i’m so disgusted… of COURSE they’re never going to let them get the “proper training” and “equipment”– what so they can have real weapons more than say, rocks, to fight back with? they don’t want to even BEGIN to even the abilities between the two sides’ policemen. what a@#holes.

  • Oh, more fake training…..hmmm, shocking.

    I’ve been having a huge giggle all morning over so many ludicrous things! This one’s on the list ofcourse.

    With all that’s gone wrong with this hilarious formula and training objective, as you say, everything… the trainees should take advantage of all their free/hurry up and wait time and spend it online blogging….weaving yet another fiber 😉

    Building intellectual capacity and forging progressive communication is probably a more effective investment.

  • hope this does not turn into the similar “dayton” project that led to intensify the palestinian crack when Hammas took over.

    The “fateh’s” were trainined in Sinai a year ago and marched into Gaza.

    I hope this is for good reasons.

  • I worked there when they used to train the Iraqi police officers. I do not remember any type of restrictions nor funding problems back then. It is impossible to see and read about this and not to think of Israel as the main beneficiary from the Iraq war!

Your Two Piasters: