Jordanian International Air Cargo is a front for the Kingdom of Jordan’s Air Force, the New York Times and Foreign Policy reports. Not only that, but JIAC has been running military aid to Syrian rebel fights in its military-style, Russian-made Ilyushin 76 cargo planes, via Croatia. In total, the Times says, there have been more than 160 flights of these planes, for a total of 3,500 tons of military equipment. And that’s a “conservative estimate,” Hugh Griffiths of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute told the Times.
The airlifts began on a small scale early last year and have steadily grown, the Times says. Other countries, including the Saudi, Qatari and Turkish governments, have also contributed to this effort.
Also involved: the American Central Intelligence Agency.
“From offices at secret locations, American intelligence officers have helped the Arab governments shop for weapons, including a large procurement from Croatia, and have vetted rebel commanders and groups to determine who should receive the weapons as they arrive,” the Times reports. The piece also quotes several rebel commanders who outright said they were receiving arms shipments from the outside.
Naturally, the Jordanians are denying all of these allegations in the flattest way possible.
“This is all lies,” Muhammad Jubour, cargo director of Jordanian International Air Cargo, said. “We never did any such thing.”
Turkish and Saudi government officials refused to comment. When asked to explain the air traffic patterns of the Ilyushin-76MF cargo planes to and from Croatia, Jubour claimed the airline didn’t own any of those planes. When confronted with photographic evidence to the contrary on the company’s own website, Jubour didn’t respond to Times reporters C.J. Chivers and Eric Schmitt. The company’s website was swiftly taken down.
Foreign Policy took screenshots of a former iteration of JIAC’s website, in which the Ilyushin-76MF is prominently featured in the “Fleet” section of the website.
The Jordanian government claimed it has only ever provided humanitarian aid to Syria, and the government estimated the country is currently hosting around more than 400,000 Syrian refugees.
Maya covers the U.N., Europe, and the Middle East for IBTimes. She joined the company in July 2012 after having previously worked with DNAinfo.com and Gawker.