April 27, 2003

KNOWING WHICH SIDE YOUR BREAD IS BUTTERED ON

Nervous Arab allies 'secretly backed American war effort' (David Rennie, 28/04/2003, Daily Telegraph)
Some of America's prickliest Arab allies, notably Saudi Arabia, gave much more support for the war in Iraq than was admitted in public, it was disclosed yesterday.

Officially Saudi rulers merely permitted the US air force to use a command and control centre at Prince Sultan air base and allowed American aircraft
to enforce the "no-fly" zone over southern Iraq. In reality, official sources told the Washington Post, at least 10,000 US troops passed through Saudi Arabia.

US special forces, ostensibly on standby for search-and-rescue operations, were allowed to cross from northern Saudi Arabia into western Iraq, where they seized airfields and prevented any Iraqi missile attacks on Israel.

Planes officially enforcing the no-fly zones carried out extensive attacks on air defence systems and Riyadh allowed overflights by fighter planes and cruise missiles from warships in the Gulf and Red Sea.

Which is why the Bushes tend not to get to worked up when everyone is screaming about the Sa'uds. Whatever else may be true about them--and Wahabbism is obviously a major problem--they've been a better ally than France or Germany. Recall that France denied us overflight rights when we bombed Libya in the '80s.

MORE:
French helped Iraq to stifle dissent (Alex Spillius and Andrew Sparrow, 28/04/2003, Daily Telegraph)
France colluded with the Iraqi secret service to undermine a Paris conference held by the prominent human rights group Indict, according to documents found in the foreign ministry in Baghdad.

Various documents state that the Iraqis believed the French were doing their utmost to prevent the meeting from going ahead.

Ann Clwyd, the Labour MP who chairs Indict, said last night that she would be demanding an apology from the French government for its behaviour, which she described as "atrocious".

The files, retrieved from the looted and burned foreign ministry by The Telegraph last week, detail the warmth and strength of Iraqi-French ties.
Posted by Orrin Judd at April 27, 2003 8:34 PM
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