Sign in to comment!

Menu
Home

Saudis Ban Attack on Iraq From Their Soil

The U.S. military cannot use Saudi Arabia's soil in any way to attack Iraq, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud said Wednesday.

"We have told them we don't (want) them to use Saudi grounds" for any attack on Iraq, Saud said Wednesday.

Saudi Arabia does not object to the United States continuing its decade-old monitoring of Iraqi skies from the U.S. air control center in the kingdom, Saud said.

Pentagon officials said on Wednesday that they had not yet received any notice from the Saudis about restrictions on the use of Prince Sultan Air Base, but said that they were expecting such a statement to come from the kingdom.

Officials were also quick to point out that other contingency plans have already been put in place for that, including the use of al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar.

The Saudis were not clear on whether they will allow reconnaissance missions of Iraq to take off from Prince Sultan or whether the command and control can stay there, but Saud was clear that attack aircraft cannot take off from the air base.

Pentagon officials said refueling tankers and reconnaissance planes may be able to take off from Prince Sultan and most importantly the United States may still be allowed to use Saudi airspace.

Saud said that his government believes the United States should forego any attack on Iraq "because we believe it is not needed, especially now that Iraq is moving to implement United Nations resolutions."

Iraq last week invited U.N. chief weapons inspector Hans Blix to Baghdad for talks on resuming weapons inspections that have been suspended since 1998. Weapons inspections were required following Iraq's defeat in the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

Saddam is said to be hell-bent on developing weapons of mass destruction and has previously used biological weapons on his own people.

Iraq also invited members of the U.S. Congress to Baghdad to look at any suspected weapons sites. The Bush administration has dismissed both the U.N. and congressional invitations as a ploy to delay the inevitable change in regime that the United States insists is necessary for the security of the region.

The Saudis, however, don't agree that regime change is inevitable, and say the United States cannot institute change but must look to the Iraqi people to make change happen.

"For the government of Iraq, the leadership of Iraq, any change that happens there has to come from the Iraqi people. This is our attitude," Saud said.

Saudi Arabia invited U.S. troops for the 1991 Gulf War to help defend the oil-rich nation against Iraqi forces and paid $16 billion into the military operation.

Fox News' Bret Baier and the Associated Press contributed to this report.