AMMAN, Jordan -- King Hussein again called for a cease-fire in the Persian Gulf war yesterday, but not before leaping into his nation's rising tide of pro-Iraqi rhetoric.
The king, who until now had been a moderating voice amid rabid partisanship, scorned "this savage war imposed on brotherly Iraq...Iraq, fellow Arabs and Muslims, now pays the price, in pure and noble blood, of belonging to its [Arab] nation."
But conspicuously omitted from the king's words of praise was Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Though the Iraqi is viewed by many Jordanians as a hero for his defiance of the West, the king mentioned neither his name nor Iraqi leadership in general during the half-hour speech on Jordan state television.
The king also did not single out the United States by name, though his criticism of the U.S.-led alliance was venomous.
"The real purpose for this destructive war is to destroy Iraq and to rearrange the area in a manner far more dangerous to our present and future," he said. He urged his countrymen to "send our love and our pride as they defend us all and raise the banner that says 'God is great,' the banner of Islam and Arabs."
The king indirectly criticized the U.S.-led bombing attacks along Iraq's share of the Baghdad-Amman highway, which have destroyed Jordanian oil trucks and killed eight drivers. Such losses, he said, are the price Jordan pays for neutrality. "Even oil is a new form of punishment," he said.
But he saved some of his harshest words for the Arab nations that have joined the alliance -- Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Syria -- though he did so without specifically naming either the countries or their leaders.