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Jordan Opens World's Largest Special Ops Training Camp

By The Media Line news agency

The world's largest special operations urban warfare training base opened on Monday in Jordan. The center northeast of the capital Amman, which was inaugurated by Jordan's King Abdullah, will be known as the King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Centre (KASOTC).

The facility cost about $90 million to build and took three years to complete.

Part of the funding was provided by the Unites States government and the inauguration ceremony was co-sponsored by U.S Special Operations Command-Central. Also present were representatives from the Afghan, Pakistani, Iraqi and Gulf armies.

The first military that will train at the new camp are expected to be from the U.S., Kuwait and Bahrain.

The facility was constructed by General Dynamics Information Technology and sprawls over 9.6 square miles. It can accommodate up to 650 personnel at one time.

"Providing realistic and high-quality training is paramount to successful combat readiness," said Zannie Smith, senior vice president of General Dynamics Information Technology's Army Solutions Division. "We are proud and excited to be a part of the development and operational team for this premier training facility. The KASOTC instrumented Military Operations on Urban Terrain site was built with the latest technology available and allows us to share this expertise with our government's allies, adding to their combat effectiveness and supporting their security interests."

The center features 56 different training buildings ranging from one-room structures to a five-story apartment building. There is also a mock A300 aircraft fuselage for anti-hijack training.

The facility contains a central operations center from where officers can monitor and control all audio, video, special effects and target technology such as networked day/night thermal cameras with 360-degree coverage to capture exercises for reviewing afterwards, the constructors said in a statement.

"This center, with its strategic location, is the king's idea to unify regional efforts to counter terrorism. It will be a military training base for the Arab world and the region," 'Adnan 'Abadi, a commander at the center told the Jordan Times.

The center will also host an annual Warrior Competition for special operations units from all over the world in a contest which will include events such as marksmanship and an obstacle course.

Jordan is one of the U.S.'s closest regional allies and is often seen as an island of calm in a otherwise stormy region.

It is believed that it was Jordanian intelligence that provided the final piece of information in June 2006 that enabled the U.S. forces in Iraq to kill Abu Mu's'ab A-Zarqawi, a Jordanian who was the leader of Al-Qa'ida in Iraq and one of the key figures in the insurgency against U.S. and its allies.

Jordan's involvement was triggered after 60 people were killed and 115 wounded when Al-Qa'ida suicide bombers struck at three hotels in Amman in November 2005.

(c) 2009. The Media Line Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

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