Heinrich Calls For Urgent Support To Jordan In Fight Against ISIL

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Feb. 4, 2105) - Today, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M) sent a letter signed by all members of the Senate Armed Services Committee to Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel calling for the urgent provision of military materiel to Jordan required in ongoing operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

"The barbaric murder of Lieutenant Muath al-Kasasbeh of the Jordanian Armed Forces at the hands of self-designated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) reinforced our resolve to stand with Jordan and our coalition partners to defeat ISIL," the senators wrote. "This heinous event reveals a new low for ISIL and highlights the urgent need to support the efforts of Jordan in its fight to secure the integrity of its territory and the stability of the region against violent extremists."

The text of the letter, led by U.S. Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, is below:

Dear Secretary Kerry and Secretary Hagel:

The barbaric murder of Lieutenant Muath al-Kasasbeh of the Jordanian Armed Forces at the hands of self-designated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) reinforced our resolve to stand with Jordan and our coalition partners to defeat ISIL.  This heinous event reveals a new low for ISIL and highlights the urgent need to support the efforts of Jordan in its fight to secure the integrity of its territory and the stability of the region against violent extremists.

His Majesty King Abdullah of Jordan met yesterday afternoon with the Senate Armed Services Committee to discuss this tragic event, his country's ongoing contribution to Operation Inherent Resolve, and the trajectory of the fight in Syria.  While he expressed his gratitude for the ongoing assistance provided by the United States, we were concerned to hear from the King that Jordan is experiencing complications and delays in obtaining certain types of military equipment through our foreign military sales system.

Specifically, Jordan is seeking to obtain aircraft parts, additional night vision equipment, and precision munitions that the King feels he needs to secure his border and robustly execute combat air missions into Syria.  We understand the need to ensure the integrity of third party transfers, the protection of critical U.S. technologies, and our commitment to the maintenance of a Qualitative Military Edge (QME) for Israel.  However, Jordan's situation and the cohesiveness of the coalition demands we move with speed to ensure they receive the military materiel they require for ongoing operations against ISIL.  We believe that Jordan's requests need to be addressed expeditiously, commensurate with their urgent operational needs in the fight against ISIL.  As such, we urge you to adjudicate the cases associated with various requests made by the Jordanian Armed Forces with a sense of urgency reflecting the pace of events, and in the context of their determined resolve to fight ISIL and the strengthening of our bilateral relationship and security cooperation.

Additionally, we request a briefing to the Committee staff on the requests for any parts, equipment or supplies the State Department is adjudicating for military material relating to Jordan with emphasis on cases associated with current operational needs.  That briefing should include:  a) a list of cases or requests related to military items that would go to Jordan; b) an explanation of steps needed for approval; and c) an estimated timeline for approval.

We request that this information be provided no later than February 13, 2015.

Thank you for your prompt consideration of the Jordanian request and we look forward to your reply.  We stand ready to consider legislation, if necessary, to ensure the objective of Jordan being properly equipped in the fight against violent extremism.

Sincerely,