U.S. Sources: Saudi Arabia to Allow U.S. Use of Bases

(New York Times) Saudi Arabia has told American military officials that the kingdom would make its airspace, air bases, and an important operations center available to the U.S. in the event of war with Iraq, senior military officials say. With their modern facilities, excellent communications, abundant fuel and supplies, and proximity to Iraq, the Saudi bases are among the most attractive to American commanders, who 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. Allied refueling, reconnaissance, surveillance, and cargo planes will be allowed to fly from Saudi bases, using Saudi airspace on the way to missions in or near Iraq. U.S. officials are expressing confidence that the Saudis will ultimately allow attack missions to be flown from their soil. Saudi officials over the past two months have quietly permitted American warplanes based in the kingdom to bomb targets in southern Iraq in response to Iraqi violations of the no-flight zone.

2002-12-30 00:00:00

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