Jordan, Yemen offer Iraq troops

AMMAN, Jordan – Jordan and Yemen offered troops to Iraq, a major policy shift that could be an attempt to encourage other Arab and Muslim nations to help the country’s new U.S.-backed government restore security.

But the risks are considerable if Jordan and Yemen are seen taking up arms against the Iraqis, or if Iraq’s neighbors, such as Turkey and Iran, who already have influence or ambitions in that country, also offer forces.

Iraq’s new authorities have been opposed to neighboring states, particularly Iran, Turkey and Syria, sending in troops. But the offers from Iraq’s western neighbor, Jordan, and Yemen will be welcome in the United States, which has led a coalition of 33 countries – none of them Arab – in trying to secure postwar Iraq.

In Britain, Jordan’s King Abdullah II said he was willing to send troops to Iraq. It was unclear what role Jordanian troops would serve, but Jordan has offered to train Iraqi soldiers and police in Jordan.

“I presume that if the Iraqis ask us for help directly, it would be very difficult for us to say no,” Abdullah told The British Broadcasting Corp. on Thursday. “Our message to the president or the prime minister is: Tell us what you want. Tell us how we can help, and you have 110 percent support from us.”

Yemen announced Friday that it was willing to send peacekeepers to Iraq, but only if they were part of a U.N.-controlled force.

The U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution June 8 authorizing the multinational force to remain in Iraq. The resolution also paved the way for other countries to join.

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