U.S. Special Forces Based in Jordan to Hunt Iraqi Scuds

(Ha'aretz) Nathan Guttman - The U.S. plans to station special forces in Jordan in case of a war with Iraq, in order to hunt down missile launchers aimed at Israel in the western Iraqi desert, American sources said this week. Jordan wants to help the U.S. war effort, but prefers to maintain a low profile. Thus, instead of posting regular troops that require massive logistical support, the U.S. decided on special forces. To counter concerns in Jordan that the kingdom will lose its essentially free oil supply from Baghdad, the Americans have arranged for it to get oil from Gulf states, including Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, if the Iraqi flow dries up. After winning Turkish approval for the use of bases for command and control of the air war, the Americans are now trying to persuade Saudi Arabia to allow it to use similar bases in its territory for coordinating the attack on Iraq. After Saudi Arabia made clear it would not allow the U.S. to use peninsula bases for an assault, the Americans shifted their air bases to Qatar and Kuwait, but the conventional wisdom is that there is no replacement for the Saudi bases, so the U.S. will promise not to beef up its troop presence there and to keep the Saudis uninvolved in the war effort.

2002-12-06 00:00:00

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