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Saudia Arabia denies US to use bases in Iraq war!

Riyadh denies US to use bases in Iraq war

Deputy defense minister says Saudi Arabia's position on Iraqi issue has been very clear from start.
RIYADH - A senior Saudi official denied reports of a secret promise by Riyadh to make its airspace and bases available for use by the United States in the event of war against Iraq, in remarks published Monday.

"This report is untrue. The kingdom's position on this issue has been very clear from the start," Deputy Defense Minister Prince Abdulrahman bin Abdul Aziz told Okaz daily.

The New York Times on Sunday quoted senior US military officials as saying Riyadh would make its airspace, air bases and an important operations center available to the United States in a possible war with Iraq.

Saudi Arabia was the main staging area for American forces in the 1991 Gulf war, but conflicting public statements by top Saudi officials over the past several months have cast doubt on Saudi Arabia's assistance against Iraq. American commanders told the Times they have been given private assurances in recent weeks that they will be allowed to run an air war against Iraq from a sophisticated command center at Prince Sultan Air Base outside Riyadh, Saudi Arabia's capital - the same command post that ran the air campaign in Afghanistan.

They said refueling, reconnaissance, surveillance and cargo planes would be allowed to fly from Saudi bases, using Saudi airspace on the way to missions in or near Iraq.

They also expressed confidence that the Saudis would ultimately allow attack missions, which are more politically sensitive, to be flown from their soil.

Prince Abdulrahman reiterated Saudi commitment to supporting the "UN decision regarding the imposition of the no-fly zone over southern Iraq."

"This is well-known to all ... The kingdom is committed to the UN resolutions like all other countries. (but) We are not concerned with any thing else," he said in reference to the Times report.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal last Tuesday renewed the kingdom's rejection of a threatened US war against neighboring Iraq, saying Riyadh would not take part in any military action.

"If the UN Security Council sanctions war against Iraq, this requires cooperation by all countries ... But this does not mean all countries must take part in military action. Obviously, we will not take part in military actions," Prince Saud said.

"There has been no change in the duties of foreign troops in the kingdom since the end of the 1991 Gulf war."

Saudi Arabia houses some 5,000 US troops as well as British and French jets at Prince Sultan Air Base in al-Kharj, 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of Riyadh.

The Times said Saudi officials over the past two months have quietly permitted US warplanes based in the kingdom to bomb targets in southern Iraq in response to Iraqi violations of the no-flight zone there. Previously, those missions were flown out of Kuwait, according to the daily.

homepage: homepage: http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=3788

No Fly Zones 30.Dec.2002 04:54

not a resolution

The no-fly zones are not part of any UN resolutions. They are an invention of the US military and have been 'enforced' with bombings of civilian and military targets on a constant basis since 1991.

Saudi Arabia should not even let the US use their bases for this so-called 'limited' purpose.

Saudi Arabia 30.Dec.2002 11:51

chimpy

Saudi Arabia has always curried US favor but retained some of its own autonomy. They have to remain Islamicist (anti Israel and pro Arab) but at the same time stay on the good side of America. So they'll allow the US military to maintain bases on Saudi soil, they've been doing this since the 1970s, and they'll accept US weaponry, and they'll allow US and British warplanes to use their bases to maintain no fly zones, AND they'll give millions of dollars to US charities, plus sell oil to US corpos, but they have to say that they won't let Saudi Arabia be a base of operations against Iraq. You have to keep this in mind, they have to play both sides diplomatically. If they make too many statements against the US, you'll see people claiming that Saudi Arabia is a terrorist state and so forth. If the opposite is true they'll risk terrorism. It's a complicated and multi faceted situation.