Published December 05, 2002
WASHINGTON – Saudi Arabia has agreed to allow U.S. fighter jets to use Saudi airspace if the U.S. goes to war with Iraq, senior Defense Department officials have told Fox News Thursday.
A compromise has also been reached between the Pentagon and the Saudi regime that would allow for the use of the Prince Sultan Airbase, located in Al Kharj, 55 miles south of Riyadh, as the command center to the air component of an attack.
The Combined Air Operations Center at Prince Sultan is a major multimillion-dollar facility that the U.S. has continued to improve in recent years.
There had been fears that the Saudi Royal Family would not allow the U.S. to command an attack from Saudi Arabian soil, but that restriction has been lifted.
Moreover, the Senior Defense official also told Fox News that "when push comes to shove, we believe the Saudis will allow us to do more from there." Currently, there is a restriction on U.S. planes flying attack missions from Saudi soil.
Speaking about the possible military action in Iraq, the official also expressed hope regarding the size and diversity of the alliance the U.S. may put together. "The way things are shaping up, if the president orders the attack, the number of allies could be more than we had in the first Gulf War."
Fox News' Bret Baier contributed to this report.