April 22, 2003
All Your Base...

NYTimes: "The United States is planning a long-term military relationship with the emerging government of Iraq, one that would grant the Pentagon access to military bases and project American influence into the heart of the unsettled region, senior Bush administration officials say."

WSWS: "Citing senior US officials, the New York Times revealed on Sunday that the Pentagon is planning to maintain at least four bases in key locations in Iraq into the indefinite future. These include: the international airport just outside Baghdad; Tallil air field near Nasiriya in the south, an isolated airstrip known as H-1 in the western desert; and the Bashur air base in the northern Kurdish areas. While paying lipservice to the need for an agreement with any new administration in Baghdad, the military is already in control of the four facilities and plans to stay. Colonel John Dobbins, commander of the Tallil Forward Air Base, told the newspaper that the US Air Force plan envisioned 'probably two bases that will stay in Iraq for an amount of time.' The army holds the international airport and US Special Forces have shifted from secret bases in Jordan and Saudi Arabia to set up headquarters at H-1."

Chicago Sun-Times: "'There will be some kind of a long-term defense relationship with a new Iraq, similar to Afghanistan,' a senior Bush administration official said. 'The scope of that has yet to be defined --whether it will be "full-up" operational bases, smaller forward operating bases or just plain access.'"

Modesto Bee: "Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Monday there is little chance that the United States will seek long-term access to military bases in Iraq. Reacting angrily to a published report that the Pentagon will try to negotiate with the new Iraqi government for access rights to four military bases, Rumsfeld said he has never even discussed the idea. 'The impression that's left around the world is that we plan to occupy the country, we plan to use their bases over the long period of time, and it's flat false,' said Rumsfeld. 'We don't plan to function as an occupier, we don't plan to prescribe to any new government how we ought to be arranged in their country.'"

Arab Times: "Even before the war, the Saudis let it be known through leaks to the New York Times that it expected US forces to leave once the fighting was over. Indeed, the most compelling rationale for keeping US troops in Saudi Arabia - the threat posed by a belligerant Iraq - was swept away last week in the thundering collapse of the regime of Saddam Hussein. The 12-year-old Operation Southern Watch, the centerpiece of the US military presence in Saudi Arabia, became an overnight anachronism."

Agence France-Presse: "'I would personally say a friendly Iraq that is not led by a Saddam Hussein would be a reason why we could have fewer forces in the region, not more, just logically,' [Rumsfeld] said."

posted by dru in war