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Jordan launches multinational exercise Eager Lion amid regional tensions

The Jordanian military announced on Sunday the launch of Exercise Eager Lion which will see ground, naval and air forces from 33 countries represented, including the US, France and the UK.

Eager Lion is a multinational military exercise that has taken place annually in Jordan since 2011. It is organized by the US Department of Defense and focuses on various aspects such as troop deployments, chemical warfare, border security, command and control, cyber defence, and battlespace management.

Speaking at a news conference Royal Jordanian Army spokesperson Colonel Mustafa al-Hiyari stated that Eager Lion is intended to help fight “terrorist organisations”, and respond to “the proliferation of drones, and biological, chemical and nuclear weapons of mass destruction” as well as major disasters.

Forces from “10 Arab and 22 foreign countries in addition to Jordan” are taking part, Hiyari said, aiming “to confront the emerging and cross-border threats of this era”.

This year’s military exercise is the biggest since the first Eager Lion held in 2011, according to Hiyari. The exercise comes at a time of heightened regional tensions due to the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict in the Gaza Strip but Hiyari added that the drills “have nothing to do with regional developments.”

This year’s scenario will address regional challenges across air, land, sea and cyber domains, as well as support of multinational disaster response operations and humanitarian aid assistance.

Participants will work with civil authorities responsible for critical national infrastructure protection, train on cyber defence and maritime security, practice operations in a chemically contaminated environment, and rehearse integrated logistics manoeuvres.

The exercise will train participants to prepare against cyber threats from fictitious adversaries, advance the development of partnered counterterrorism skills, expand Integrated Air and Missile Defense synchronization, and sharpen proficiencies in maritime and border security.

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