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Annual war games in Jordan to start next week

By HENDRICK SIMOES | STARS AND STRIPES Published: April 29, 2015

MANAMA, Bahrain — About 5,000 U.S. military personnel will participate in a two-week multinational exercise in Jordan next month along with key allies.

Dubbed Eager Lion, the exercise has been an annual event hosted in Jordan for the past five years. In all, 10,000 troops are expected to take part.

The war games involve combined land, air and sea maneuvers across Jordan.

This year’s exercise is scheduled to start May 5. It will consist of simulated scenarios involving responses to conventional and unconventional threats, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

The annual drills bring together personnel from Arab, European and other nations to train on border security, various aspects of warfare, terrorism and counterinsurgency. In addition to Jordan and the United States, NATO’s Allied Rapid Reaction Corps is scheduled to participate in the exercise for the first time.

The exercise will take place against the backdrop of escalating warfare in the region. The militant Islamic State group continues to be a threat in neighboring Iraq and Syria, where it controls wide swathes of territory straddling the border. Last week the group claimed responsibility for a series of car bombings at a remote desert border crossing between Iraq and Jordan. And on Tuesday, Iranian naval tensions in the Gulf were exacerbated after Iranian warships seized a container ship in the strategically important Strait of Hormuz.

In Yemen, a Saudi-led Arab coalition continues to conduct airstrikes against Shiite rebels there with the support of intelligence-sharing from the U.S.

simoes.hendrick@stripes.com

Twitter: @hendricksimoes
 

U.S. Marines from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit get dirty riding on a light armored vehicle in Jordan's desert during exercise Eager Lion on Wednesday, June 4, 2014.
HENDRICK SIMOES/STARS AND STRIPES

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