Voice from the Commonwealth
Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Are the Saudis quietly helping the US prepare for a war to free Iraq?

"When war happens, jaws will drop," said one Middle East diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The public-private split in Saudi policy was graphically illustrated this weekend when a Saudi dissident group in London reported that the United States has deployed as many as 9,000 troops on Saudi territory near the Iraqi border, including at a base in Arar.

Many of the troops are said to conduct special operations.

It soon emerged that Arar's airport had been closed to the public.

Saudi Defense Minister Prince Sultan said late Saturday that the airport had been closed for the safety of local residents. He also suggested that it would be used for humanitarian aid flights for Iraqi refugees expected along the border area once war breaks out.

"We are on the verge of war and the situation is different from what it was in 1991," Prince Sultan said. "There's no secret U.S. bases and we closed the airport for humanitarian reasons." He implied that any U.S. troop presence was there only for humanitarian missions.

< email | 3/12/2003 11:57:00 AM | link

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