AMMAN, JORDAN, OCT. 1 -- Jordan suspended all commercial road traffic transiting to Saudi Arabia today, one day after Saudi authorities forced a convoy of Jordanian trucks bound for Riyadh to turn back at the border.
On Sunday, Saudi Arabia refused to let 25 trucks loaded with Jordanian goods cross the border and forced others to dump vegetables and fruit at the side of the road just inside Saudi territory before ordering them to drive back to Jordan.
Border closures between Arab countries have long been a barometer of regional tension levels, and the Saudi and Jordanian actions reflect the crisis atmosphere in which the two states view each other in the light of Iraq's invasion of Kuwait and the continuing Iraqi threat to the Arabian Peninsula.
Fervent popular support in Jordan for Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and open Jordanian criticism of a U.S.-led military buildup on Saudi territory have rankled the Saudi leadership beyond its traditional high threshold of tolerance and fueled growing hostility in Riyadh against Jordan's King Hussein.
A Jordanian spokesman described the move to ban trucks from crossing Jordanian territory to Saudi Arabia as "administrative and temporary" pending clarification of Saudi measures taken over the weekend. Dozens of Jordanian trucks were turned back by Saudi authorities today at the Umari border post, about 90 miles southeast of Amman, while hundreds of trucks were reported backed up at other crossing points.
Saudi Arabia receives vegetables, meat and other food stuffs from Turkey and Syria via Jordan, and if the border closure continues, it would deprive those two countries of lucrative business with the wealthy gulf kingdom.