US Defence Secretary arrives in Jordan

Friday 17/07/2015
Second leg of regional mission to reassure allies over nuclear deal

AMMAN - US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter landed in Jordan Tuesday and met American troops stationed there and colleagues of a Jordanian pilot burned alive by the Islamic State group.

Carter is on the second leg of a regional mission to try to reassure Washington's allies over the nuclear deal between major powers and Iran, but was not scheduled to hold talks with Jordanian officials on that subject.

He met US forces stationed in Jordan and comrades of Jordanian Lieutenant Maaz al-Kassasbeh, who was captured in December after his plane was shot down during a mission over Syria.

In a video two months later, IS showed Kassasbeh standing in a cage, where he was doused with fuel, set on fire and left to burn to death.

Kassasbeh's murder caused global revulsion and vows of international efforts to combat the Sunni Muslim extremist group.

"The enemy has to be defeated," Carter told a small group of US mechanics beside an American F-16 in a hangar at the base.

"It will be, because the barbarians are always defeated by civilisation, a few by the many."

He later had a private meeting with pilots taking part in anti-IS coalition sorties.

Carter is scheduled to travel on to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday.

Earlier Tuesday, he met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a fierce critic of last week's nuclear accord between Tehran and world powers.

The Jewish state argues that the expected lifting of sanctions under the deal will allow the Islamic republic to boost support for anti-Israeli militants.