GOP rep: Sell drones to Jordan

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A Republican congressman is calling on the Obama administration to provide drones to Jordan to help in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

“Despite repeated requests and impassioned pleas, the administration has refused to sell Jordan the drones — specifically, remotely piloted Predator and Reaper aircraft — that will allow deeper infiltration into ISIS territory to conduct surveillance and strikes,” Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) wrote in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal. “These systems, as U.S. operations against al Qaeda in Africa and elsewhere have shown, are crucial in fighting terrorists.”

{mosads}After ISIS released a video in February of a Jordanian pilot being burned alive, President Obama pledged to support Jordan. Hunter, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, argued that the president is going back on that pledge by not selling drones to Jordan.

Jordan’s location makes having drones necessary, Hunter wrote. It’s bordered by Syria and Iraq in the north, leaving it vulnerable to ISIS. It also borders Israel on the west, making it a buffer between Israel and its enemies, he said.

While the export of drones is often restricted by the Missile Technology Control Regime, he wrote, fighting ISIS should qualify as a “rare occasion” allowed under the agreement. The agreement between 34 countries is meant to prevent the spread of unmanned delivery of nuclear weapons.

Should the United States not sell drones to Jordan, Hunter warned, the nation may turn to buying the Chinese version of the Reaper drone, the recently unveiled Caihong 5. 

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