Wednesday | March 19, 2003
Turkey deals a blow to US
It's a sucker punch to the US, as another Iraqi neighbor has refused access to military bases for US forces invading Iraq. Turkey has announced that while it will grant overflight rights, the US will not be able to stage forces or launch military aircraft from its territory -- not even refueling craft.
So while carrier-based aircraft can launch raids from the eastern mediterranean, they won't be able to maintain combat air patrols over Northern Iraq.
Why is this significant? Because the Pentagon indicated it would leapfrog the 101st Airborne Division into Kurdish-held northern Iraq to try and capture and hold the area's oil fields before Saddam could set them ablaze. The lightly armored 101st could get chewed up without a heavy dose of air support, but it will now be exceedingly difficult (though not impossible) to provide such support without Turkish bases or Turkey-based refueling aircraft.Posted March 19, 2003 08:40 AM | Comments (35)