Jordan's King Abdullah II Criticizes U.S. and Israel

Jordan's King Abdullah II lashed out at his U.S. and Israeli allies, saying in newspaper interviews Thursday that he was "enraged" by the war on Lebanon and that prolonged fighting has "weakened" moderates in the Mideast.

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Abdullah proposed an immediate cease-fire followed by diplomacy to "deal with the crisis from its roots."

He said Jordan "will not take part" in a proposed international force to be deployed in southern Lebanon as a buffer between Israel and Hezbollah militants, whose July 12 kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers has sparked fierce attacks from the Jewish state. He did not elaborate.

The king, a strong U.S. ally with close ties to Israel under a 1994 peace treaty, quietly shares Washington's low opinion of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah.

Still, he said the group has gained popularity in the Arab world because it defied Israel.

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