Tank museum displaying 110 battle-worn tanks opens in Jordan

A family looks at a display of tanks at the Royal Tank Museum in Amman, Jordan. (AP)
Updated 06 February 2018
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Tank museum displaying 110 battle-worn tanks opens in Jordan

AMMAN: A museum displaying 110 battle-worn tanks from a century of wars in the Middle East and from more distant conflicts has opened in Jordan.
Curators at the Royal Tank Museum collected armored vehicles over the past decade, including some that served in both sides of the Iran-Iraq war and in the conflicts between Israel and its Arab neighbors in the Golan Heights, Jordan and Jerusalem.
Other contributions came from faraway places, such as Azerbaijan, Morocco, Taiwan and Brunei. Most of the museum’s tanks were made in America, reflecting Jordan’s long-running alliance with the US. Some pieces reached Jordan in a particularly roundabout way, including a World War II-era German tank used by the Nazis in North Africa. A swastika-in-palm-tree stencil marks it as one of the German Africa Corps’ fleet of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel. The Syrians had bought the tank in the 1950s from Czechoslovakia and deployed it against Israel, then gave it to Jordan in 2009.
“The museum is telling the story of the world through the history of tanks,” said the museum’s General Manager Maher Tarawneh.
The museum, the second in the region after Israel’s Yad La-Shiryon, opened last week.
On a recent morning, hundreds of Jordanians lined up outside to be led through the museum by guides, many of them army veterans.
The 20,000-square-meter space also includes exhibits of historic battles in Syria, Jerusalem and Jordan, with loudspeakers blaring gunfire, roars of diesel engines, and fiery patriotic speeches. Life-size replicas of soldiers staff turrets as tank treads menace intricately crafted shrubs.
Dangling from a massive sky-light is a Cobra attack helicopter, of the type flown by Jordan’s King Abdullah.
The king decreed the creation of the museum in 2007, launching the acquisition process led by chief curator Hamdan Smairan. The retired major general who commanded the Jordan military’s armored corps began by reaching out to his contacts.
The world’s tank museums supported the venture. The Tank Museum in Dorset, England and the Imperial War Museum in London provided curatorial counsel. Museums in the Czech Republic and France exchanged tanks for Jordanian tanks.
An old friend of Smairan’s lobbied South Africa successfully for the museum’s World War II-era British Crusader tank.
Russia and Kazakhstan gave tanks to Jordan’s king who then added them to the collection, the curator said.
Most of the museum’s tanks were made in America, reflecting Jordan’s long-running alliance with the US. Along with World War II-era Sherman and Tiger tanks, there are also Soviet and Chinese models.
The museum also illustrates Jordan’s history.
An armored vehicle used in the revolt rotates on a dais in the museum. It is followed by tank exhibits telling the story of Jordan in subsequent battles, including the Mideast wars of 1967 and 1973.
The museum will eventually open an exhibition field and offer rides on tanks outside on site.


US puts up $10m reward for Hezbollah information

Updated 23 April 2019
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US puts up $10m reward for Hezbollah information

  • The money is for anyone who provides intelligence that allows the US to disrupt Hezbollah in key ways

WASHINGTON: The US on Monday offered a $10 million reward for information that would disrupt the finances of Lebanon’s Shiite militant movement Hezbollah.
The State Department said it would give the money to anyone who provides intelligence that allows the US to disrupt Hezbollah in key ways.
The areas include information on Hezbollah’s donors, on financial institutions that assist its transactions and on businesses controlled by the movement.
President Donald Trump’s administration has put a top priority on reducing the influence of Iran, the primary backer of Hezbollah.
The State Department listed three alleged Hezbollah financiers as examples of activities it was seeking to stop, with one, Ali Youssef Charara, allegedly funding the group by investing millions of dollars from Hezbollah in the telecommunications industry in West Africa.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has pointed to a recent appeal by Hezbollah for donations as a sign of US success in curbing Iran.
On a visit last month to Beirut, Pompeo urged Lebanon to counter the “dark ambitions” of Iran and Hezbollah but was rebuffed by Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, who said Hezbollah was not a terrorist group and enjoyed a wide base.
The United States has vowed for decades to fight Shiite militants in Lebanon, with memories still bitter over the 1983 attack on a military barracks in Beirut that killed 241 Americans.
Hezbollah, however, also functions as a political party, with posts in the current cabinet, and enjoys support among some Lebanese who recall its guerrilla campaign that led Israel to withdraw from the country in 2000.