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U.S. MOVING MAIN ARABIAN MILITARY BASE FROM SAUDI TO QATAR MID-EAST REALITIES - www.MiddleEast.Org - Washington - 3/21/2002: The Americans have apparently agreed to let the Saudis off the hook when it comes to Prince Sultan Airbase, the largest and most sophisticated in the region, as long as they are on the hook when it comes to controlling the Arab Summit and fronting politically with "the Saudi Plan". There's probably an under-the-table deal as well regarding Saudi money for American purposes; after all the Prince Sultan Base/Command Center is rumored to have cost billions and billions, though there is no reliable public accounting. As for the Arab Summit next week, the Americans want to buy more time, throw our more pacifiers, and say to the media something is happening, when in fact little is. The "client Arab regimes" have no power or guts to take any serious action, so now they have "the Saudi Plan" to talk about in Beirut...in reality little more than what they already said at the Arab summit 20 years ago when Israel was invading Lebanon and expelling Arafat. The Saudis Royals want to maintain their protection from the Americans and also from the Israelis. And Arafat too wants to pretend something serious in happening trying to extend still further his own mandate to be "in charge", and maybe his own life. And so, very quickly after Vice-President Cheney's whirlwind visit to the Middle East to prepare the way for the Arab Summit and then for the War to "regime change" Iraq and impose firmer control over the region, the Americans are shifting the command base for the coming war from Saudi Arabia to Qatar. With major military bases now in Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the American military and CIA dominate the Middle East pretty much on their own as never before in modern history -- nothing like it since the days of Ottoman regional control, then followed by the British Empire which established most of the "client regimes" that persist to this day. U.S. SEEKS USE OF LARGE, SECRET AIR BASE IN QATAR Vice President Dick Cheney visited the Persian Gulf state of Qatar this week and one key topic of discussion is the U.S. Air Force's strategic airbase at Al Adid and its use in future military operations against Iraq, according to U.S. officials. The Al Adid airbase in Qatar, a peninsula nation adjacent to Saudi Arabia, is one of the largest secret airbases in the Gulf region. It has storage facilities for 100 warplanes and a 15,000-foot runway capable of handling the largest U.S. bombers, like the B-51 and B-1. Currently, less than two dozen aircraft, mostly Qatari air force jets, are based there. Cheney met Qatari Emir Hamad Bin Khalifa on March 17. Qatar's government is opposing any new confrontation with Iraq and its foreign minister said last week that Arab nations should open a dialogue with Baghdad. The airbase was built at a cost of $1.5 billion and work began following an agreement reached with the Qatari government following the April 2000 visit by then-Defense Secretary William Cohen. Qatar also is used to house U.S. military "pre-positioned" equipment, enough for a heavy brigade of several thousand troops. The prepositioning allows U.S. military troops to be rushed to the region while their equipment is already in place. A similar arrangement is in place in Kuwait. Qatar also could become a crucial strategic base in the region if Saudi Arabia decided to expel U.S. forces from its bases. Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler Crown Prince Abdullah said last week that the kingdom would not support a U.S. attack on Iraq. The kingdom also balked at allowing Saudi-based warplanes to conduct operations against Afghanistan. Qatar is considered a dangerous post because its government is considered close to Iraq, despite its agreement to host U.S. forces. In November, an Arab man was shot to death by U.S. and Qatari guards after opening fire with a machine gun from the Al Adid base perimeter. Three Qatari military officers are based at U.S. Central Command headquarters in Tampa, Fla., and Qatari air force fighters are on alert to provide combat air patrol for forces based in Qatar. Middle East News Line. _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk