The United States allowed Jordan to receive military spare parts until just before the Persian Gulf war - despite intelligence that Jordan was passing them on to Iraq, a respected newspaper reported Wednesday.
The U.S. shipments included diesel engine components for armored vehicles and electronic testing equipment, reported The Financial Times, citing unidentified past and present U.S. government officials as its sources.Jordan sided with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in the war launched by the United States and its allies in January to drive Iraqi occupation forces from Kuwait, which Saddam invaded on Aug. 2.
The Financial Times said the State Department and other U.S. agencies had also expressed concerns that others in the West were evading the U.N. trade embargo by "sending arms, spare parts and dual-use technology - which can have military as well as civilian applications" to Iraq through Jordan.
"Senior White House officials were given a written warning early last December that military shipments from U.S. companies to Jordan were likely to be passed on to Iraq," the paper said. "It was delivered to Mr. Robert Gates, the deputy national security adviser to President Bush.
"It was only several weeks later - after hostilities had begun in the gulf - that the warning was acknowledged. In spite of these warnings, no changes were made to the way in which the export of militarily related equipment to Jordan from the West was scrutinized.
The report appears to conflict with a March 15 statement from the State Department that the United States had not found any proof to substantiate reports Jordan violated the trade embargo by delivering weapons and ammunition to Iraq.
Reporters in Kuwait and southern Iraq in February saw crates of weapons stamped with Jordanian labels. U.S. intelligence officers said they found shipping documents in Arabic that showed the equipment was delivered after the embargo took effect in August.
The paper reported that the White House said Tuesday that it had no comment on the issue of shipments to Iraq and Jordan:
"Up until the middle of January, the administration had denied persistent reports that Jordan was serving as a trans-shipment point, arguing that the U.N. embargo was virtually leakproof."
The Financial Times said that according to several administration officials, the White House gave approval to the shipment of sensitive military equipment and technologies directly to Iraq as late as June.