US to boost aid to Jordan as conflict roils neighbors

Increased need means a requirement for increased help, Secretary of State John Kerry said

Increased need means a requirement for increased help, Secretary of State John Kerry said

WASHINGTON – The U.S. is seeking to nearly double its aid to Jordan as instability continues to dominate the region.

The Obama administration will now look to increase aid to $1 billion per year for the next two years, up from $660 million per year. The additional funding requires congressional approval. 

The increased funds are designed to help the key coalition ally cope with an influx of some 800,000 refugees from Syria’s civil war and Iraq, and the rise of extremist groups in the conflicts.

Secretary of State John Kerry said that the new agreement “goes well beyond business as usual.”

“Increased need means a requirement for increased help,” Kerry said during a signing ceremony with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which has taken over considerable areas of Syria and Iraq, on Tuesday released a video purporting to show captured Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh being burned alive.

National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan strongly condemned ISIL’s actions and reiterated the U.S.’s calls for the release of all ISIL prisoners.

“We stand in solidarity with the government of Jordan and the Jordanian people,” she said in a statement.

Kasasbeh was captured by the group after his plane crashed in December near ISIL’s stronghold of Raqaa.

Jordan has been a key coalition ally as the U.S. seeks to defeat the militants through a coordinated airstrike effort coupled with train and equip programs for partner forces.

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