Sunday, December 29, 2002 News | Saudi Arabia assures U.S. of airspace use

Saudi Arabia has privately assured U.S. officials they could launch air support missions from Saudi bases in the event of a war with Iraq and could coordinate the air war from a central command post near the Saudi capital, Pentagon officials said Saturday.

Saudi Arabia is a long-standing American ally, but its willingness to permit U.S. forces to operate from the kingdom's soil for attacks on Iraq has been in serious doubt for many months. Saudi Arabia was the most important staging area for U.S. forces during the 1991 Gulf War against Iraq.

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