World War II: Trans-Jordan

World War II Trans-Jordan
Figure 1.--The Arab Legion (AL) had a kind of junior auxilery called Sons of the Desert. Here we see the boys near Amman in early 1941. We believe that they were the sons or other male relatives of the AL soldiers. We are not yet sure just what activities they participted in or at what age they formally joine the AL.

Britain created Trans-Jordon after World War I by partioning Palestine. As the name of the country indicates, it was the area of Palestine beyond or east of the Jordon. This was former Ottomon territitory seized during the War as administered as a League of Nations Mandate. The British because of their relationship with Sharif Hussein, installed his son Abdallah as emir of Transjordan (1923). Two military forces were formed in Jordon, the Tranjordan Frontier Force and the Arab Legion. Both were led by British officers. The Transjordan Frontier Force (TJFF) was formed (April 1926). It was a para-military border guard tasked with guarding Trans-Jordan's northern (Syria and Iraq) and southern (Saudi Arabia) borders. (The eastern border with Palestine did not need to be defended because the British were there.) The TJFF an Imperial Service regiment whose members had to agree to serve wherever required and not just within Trans-Jordon. Emir Abdullah was an Honorary Colonel of the TJFF. After the War, the TJFF was incoroprated iunto the Arab League. The other military force was the Arab League (AL). The term Arab Legion was used rather than Trans-Jordon Legion because Sharif Hussein had wanted to form an Arab nation (including Arabia, the Levant, and Mesopotamia) far beyond the limits of Trans-Jordon. At the time, the Aran Legion was one of the few Arab military forces. Britain was also helping to form the Iraqi Army and an Egyptian Army existed.) The AL in contrast to the TJFF was an internal security militia to protect Emir Abdulah and the new monarchy. It was recruited from men who conducted the Arab Revolt and intensely loyal to the Hashemite monarchy. The AL evolved into the regular army of Trans-Jordon. There was considerable support for the Axis inthe Arab world, epecially mandates like Egypt, Iraq, Palestine, and Syria. Trans-Jordon was a British ally during the War. John Bagot Glubb, known as Glubb Pasha, was appointed the AL's commander. Major General Abdul Qadir Pasha Al Jundi, a Jordanian, was appointed deputy commander. These two men created the best trained Arab army during World War II, albeit very small and lightly armed. The AL at the time of World War II consisted of 1,600 men. It was part of Iraqforce and made an important contribution in the Anglo-Iraqi War and in the Syria-Lebanon campaign (1941), two rare Allied victories in the early years of World War II. Syria was being used by the Germans to funnel arms to the pro-NAZI Iraqi Government. The Arab League fought in the First Arab-Isreali War (1948-49). The AL managed to seize much of Jerusalem. Several years later the Legioin became the regular Jordanian Army (1956). It was at first called the Arab Army, but Legion was used informally by the men for years.


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Created: 1:12 PM 5/5/2012
Last updated: 1:13 PM 5/5/2012