Arabs quietly strike deals
with U.S. on Iraq

By WND Staff

Arab statements opposing a U.S. war in Iraq were made to calm public opinion, reassure the radical clerics and prevent domestic unrest, according to Geostrategy, the global intelligence news agency.

Behind the scenes, Arab diplomatic sources said, the United States is sewing up deals with almost all of its Arab allies. They include Jordan and the Gulf Cooperation Council states. The GCC is a six-member group composed of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Saudi Arabia? The sources assert that Riyadh and Washington are reaching or have arrived at a deal over the use of the kingdom for a strike against Iraq. The deal would allow U.S. aircraft to use Saudi air space in defensive and support missions over Iraq.

Last week, about 25 U.S. aircraft flew from Saudi Arabia to support a massive air strike on suspected missile and weapons of mass destruction facilities in western Iraq. The attack was one of the few near the Jordanian border over the last decade.

Under the agreement drafted, Riyadh also has pledged to provide intelligence and logistical support to the United States.

The other GCC countries and Jordan also have done their bit. Bahrain has pledged to allow for expanded use of Manama for the U.S. Fifth Fleet. Qatar is allowing the United States intensive use of its Al Udeid air base. Kuwait has been receiving new weapons and soldiers to prepare for a strike against southern Iraq. Oman has been providing Britain and the United States with its desert areas for training and logistics.

The diplomatic sources said the Arab allies of Washington will use the next few months to prepare public opinion for the U.S. war against Iraq. They said the allies will highlight the Saddam threat and acknowledge that just like Iraq, the Arab countries will be powerless to oppose the United States.

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