The Persian Gulf crisis is intensifying because the United States and other allied countries are not heeding conciliatory signals being sent by Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, said an adviser to Jordan's King Hussein.

And, warns Kamel Abu Jaber, if shooting starts, it is likely that many Arab countries currently aligned with the allies over Iraq's invasion of Kuwait could turn their guns on the Western invaders.Jaber, who serves as director of the Jordanian Institute of Middle East Studies and professor of political science at the University of Jordan, made his comments during a forum at the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah Thursday.

Jaber also said the United States has misread Jordan's dealings with Saddam as collusion when Jordan's true intent is to maintain the thin line of sanity that has thus far prevented the gulf standoff from escalating into full-blown global conflict.

"We are not trying to justify the actions of Saddam, we are only trying to show a different perspective," said Jaber.

"You (America) see, but you do not see with insight; you hear, but you don't listen," Jaber added. "Saddam has indicated a willingness to negotiate - even on Kuwait - but you will not talk to him."

Jaber said Jordan is in the most vulnerable position of any Middle Eastern nation because it sits in the middle of heavily armed Israel to the west, heavily armed Syria to the north, heavily armed Iraq to the east and the multinational forces in Saudi Arabia to the south.

"These countries are not afraid to use those weapons. What are we supposed to do (when they march through), offer them sandwiches?"