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Pentagon confirms surrounding Iraq with military bases
Posted: Thursday, April 11, 2002

By Christopher Reilly,

New information, recently released by the Pentagon, provides some confirming evidence that the Bush administration has been building military bases in the countries surrounding Iraq. As reported in the news report, "U.S. armed forces surrounding Iraq under veil of secrecy," published Thursday, March 28, 2002, undisclosed U.S. military sources reported that new airbases for use against Iraq were being constructed in Jordan, the Arab Emirates, and Kuwait. These reports were partially confirmed in an International Herald Tribune article published on April 8, 2002.

According to that article, the Pentagon has been moving equipment, planes and other military materials out of its Saudi Arabian air base. The materials have been going to bases located in Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman to help with future U.S. air operations against Iraq.

The U.S. military base in Saudi Arabia is coming under increasing pressure from Saudi officials who are becoming stricter and less accommodating in defining acceptable uses for U.S. military bases on Saudi soil. For example, the Saudi monarch has demanded that no U.S. aircraft can attack Iraq after taking off from Saudi Arabia. According to the Herald Tribune article, the "U.S. military presence [in Saudi Arabia] is frequently portrayed as an affront to Islam in its place of birth and is said to undercut Saudi efforts to appear self-reliant and independent of U.S. military support."

The bulk of operations may be moved from the Saudi base to the Al Udeid facility in Qatar if the current impasse between U.S. and Saudi officials continues.

It still cannot be confirmed that the Bush administration is building an airbase in Jordan. Nonetheless, General Tommy Franks, head of the U.S. Central Command, recently told Pentagon reporters that, over the past 18 months, munitions have been covertly moved from Saudi Arabia to undisclosed areas in the region. Frank’s statement lends credibility to those of the undisclosed military sources.

Due to security concerns, General Franks would not elaborate on where these munitions have been placed, saying only that he was "changing the location of some of the assets that we have." The general did say that "an additional battalion of troops was ordered to Kuwait last November to add to the battalion there, bringing the total number to about 4,000," according to the Herald Tribune.

The type of troops provided, as cited in the news report, may possibly contain "American special forces units" along with a "mix of National Guard and active duty components."

President Bush has continued to verbally assault the Iraqi president, informing British Prime Minister Tony Blair that "the policy of my government is to remove Saddam and that all options are on the table."

Bush also reiterated once more that Saddam Hussein is "willing to kill his own people."

However, Bush's plans have been placed on temporary hold by the fighting and devastation that has erupted in Israel and the occupied territories. The U.S. president will now have to deal with recent announcements by leaders in the Middle East who have declared that an attack on Iraq would be considered as an attack on "the national security of all Arab states."

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