Sunday, January 08, 2023

US signs agreement to send billions to Jordan - no strings attached

This story from September sure flew under the radar.

US Ambassador to Jordan Henry Wooster has said that the memorandum of understanding (MoU) Jordan and the US signed in Washington on September 16 is a platform that will enable the two governments to start a dialogue over common issues.
Speaking to journalists at his residence on Tuesday, Wooster said that the MoU focuses on two main issues: water and the public sector. 

Under the MoU, the US government will provide a total of $10.1 billion in aid to Jordan between 2023 and 2029, at around $1.45 billion annually. It is the fourth such document signed by the two countries since 2010.

Wooster stressed that support for sectors was determined by Jordan, which sets priorities, and not by the US, and that there are no conditions attached to the MoU, which are not legally binding.
The US doesn't have any say on how the money would be spent?  No conditions? No auditing?

It looks like some of the funds are very generally earmarked: out of the $1.45 billion of grants annually, $610 million is direct assistance to the Treasury; $75 million to the stimulus support fund; $350 million towards implementing priority development schemes with USAID; and $400 million in military aid to the Jordanian Army.

Beyond that, it looks like Jordan can do whatever they want with it.

And of course, there is no requirement for Jordan to extradite mass murderer Ahlam Tamimi to the US, despite her being on the FBI's Most Wanted list. 

Israel is routinely accused by its detractors of having a blank check to use US funds however they want. It is a lie. There are extensive audits for US aid to Israel.

But here, the same people who claim to care so much about how US taxpayer dollars are being spent are suddenly mute in a case that really appears to be a blank check to Jordan - $610 million a year we know going straight to its treasury which can then be spent however they want - and no pushback.

How much of that money goes to fund explicitly antisemitic educational materials? Jordan funds the building of mosques - how many teach hate? Would US funded weapons be used to quash peaceful protests? There are no guardrails.

And no one even seems to suggest that Jordan should not get a penny until it sends Tamimi to the US for trial.

(h/t Arnold Roth)

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