End of a Myth
The general strike called by the PLO on 16 September was pre-empted by the start of the government offensive at dawn the next morning. The principal objective was to control Amman and hold all government installations. The army command hoped to decide the battle in 36–48 hours, in order to forestall diplomatic intervention by the Arab states. It accepted that achieving complete control throughout the kingdom might take longer, and planned accordingly to conduct offensive operations between Jarash and Irbid in a second stage. To attain its initial objective, the army massed 30,000–35,000 men in the Amman govemate and placing blocking forces around Zarqa to prevent possible Iraqi intervention. Contrary to both Jordanian and Palestinian expectations, it was Syria that intervened. The Jadid faction was making a last-ditch attempt to regain the initiative in the internal power struggle with Asad, and mobilized its remaining supporters in the army.
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