September 11 and the Saudi Arabian Connection

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s visit to the Middle East and Central Asia last week — in an attempt to shore up the coalition against anti-American terrorism –brought him to Saudi Arabia as well. The Saudi government has neither openly acknowledged how they will allow the United States to use the space-age technology Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC) that opened in June at Prince Sultan Air Base, near al- Kharj, southeast of Riyadh; nor has it said what landing or refueling rights will be granted. Amid conflicting statements by anonymous officials, the Saudi paper al-`Ukaz quoted Minister of Defense Sultan bin `Abd al-`Aziz: “We do not accept the presence in our country of a single soldier at war with Muslims or Arabs.” History is not encouraging here — the Saudi royal family did not allow the United States to use its air bases during 1998’s Operation Desert Fox against Iraq.

Full Text: “September 11 and the Saudi Arabian Connection,” Washington Institute for Near East Policy Policywatch, No. 573, October 12, 2001.

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