Hussein's distaste for US policy

Jordan's King Hussein, once a firm US ally, has signaled mounting displeasure with American policy in the Mideast, Monitor correspondent Ned Temko reports.

The message came in the form of the King's second visit to the Soviet Union in barely a year, a trip made despite both the fighting in Lebanon and alleged US efforts to persuade him to stay home.

At one point during what was billed as an ''unofficial'' visit, the monarch was quoted by Tass, the official Soviet news agency, as saying Moscow's friendship for the Arabs was being felt ''particularly now, when the Israeli aggressors supported by the United States are committing bloody crimes on the soil of Lebanon.''

The very fact that King Hussein decided to go ahead with the Soviet visit, planned before the Israeli invasion, seemed to signal his increasing dissatisfaction with what he sees as the failure of US Mideast policy to rein in Israel and deliver a palatable solution to the Palestinian problem.

A Tass communique that came after the King's meetings with Soviet Deputy Premier Nikolai A. Tikhonov and Foreign Minister Andrei A. Gromyko said both sides had ''decisively condemned'' the Israeli invasion.

Contrary to expectations, there was no announced meeting between King Hussein and Soviet President Leonid I. Brezhnev. One explanation given by diplomats was that Hussein-Brezhnev talks would have led to unwelcome expectations of a practical push by either side, or both, to counter the Israeli move in Lebanon. Moscow has made clear from the start its reluctance to encourage a widened Israeli-Syrian showdown over Lebanon. But the Soviets have also been airlifting some military supplies to Damascus and, in recent days, have sharpened their rhetorical stance on the conflict.

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.