Officially, the US military’s deployment of a Patriot missile battery and a number of F-16 warplanes to Jordan, at a time when there is growing concern of the US attacking neighboring Syria, is simply an unrelated “military exercise” planned in advance.
At the same time, officials concede, some or all of the military forces deployed for this drill “may remain beyond the exercise at the request of the government of Jordan,” suggesting this is actually a major escalation of the US military presence in the nation.
The US has been sending growing numbers of ground troops to Jordan over the past few months, primarily to operate a training camp for Syrian rebels. The US is also part of the NATO deployment on Syria’s north border, with Turkey.
The deployments in Jordan have sparked protests from the locals, who are concerned that the build-up could get them sucked into a war with Syria. The Jordanian government has defended its meddling in the Syrian Civil War, insisting they are determined to prop up the sectarian rebels at the expense of the religious ones, though so far this has been ridiculously unsuccessful.