Friday, March 24, 2006

permanent military bases in iraq

A Bibliography

[with relevant excerpts, listed in reverse chronological order, and encouraged again by today's LA Times article that heads up the list]

Peter Spiegel, "Bush's Requests for Iraqi Base Funding Make Some Wary of Extended Stay," Los Angeles Times, March 24, 2006, Page A1. "Even as military planners look to withdraw significant numbers of American troops from Iraq in the coming year, the Bush administration continues to request hundreds of millions of dollars for large bases there, raising concerns over whether they are intended as permanent sites for U.S. forces." [Goes on to reviews the emergency funding request passed by the house last week along with similar past funding, the military's "responses," congressional concerns.]

Joshua Hammer, "Diggin In," Mother Jones, March/April 2006. "If the U.S. government doesn't plan to occupy Iraq for any longer than necessary, why is it spending billions of dollars to build "enduring" bases?" [A very thorough piece.]

William Arkin, "U.S. Plans New Bases in the Middle East," Early Warning [blog], March 22, 2006. "The U.S. military has developed a ten-year plan for 'deep storage' of munitions and equipment in at least six countries in the Middle East and Central Asia to prepare for regional war contingencies. The plans, revealed in March 2006 contracting documents, call for the continued storage of everything from packaged meals ready to eat (MREs) to missiles in Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and Oman, as well as the establishment of two new storage hubs, one in a classified Middle Eastern country 'west' of Saudi Arabia ("Site 23") and the other in a yet to be decided 'central Asian state.'"

Tom Engelhardt, "Leaving a Permanent Mark on Iraq," Alternet, February 17, 2006. "No matter how much the military hems and haws about withdrawing from Iraq, the bases we're installing tell the real story."

Gary Hart, "End this evasion on permanent army bases in Iraq," Financial Times, January 4, 2006, page 17. "It has been the dream of Republican neoconservatives at least since 1998 - and probably years before - to overthrow Saddam Hussein and to use the new client state of Iraq as the US's military and political base from which to pacify the complex and troubled Middle East. Leaving aside the plausibility of this notion, it is not one with which the great American leaders of history would have identified and certainly not one they would have attempted to carry out in secret. Having failed in this enterprise, as some of us predicted, the question is: what now? There is still the possibility that a central remnant of this secret scheme may yet be salvaged. Surprisingly, the trick has drawn little attention from the American audience. It is to help install at least the semblance of a "democratic" government in Baghdad, even one that in author Fareed Zakaria's perceptive term is an illiberal democracy; to construct permanent US military bases at strategic points throughout the country and then persuade the new "democratic" government to invite us to stay."

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), "Permanent Occupation," In These Times, October 24, 2005, page 13. "No one disputes that the military bases are of a physically permanent character. The only question is whether Iraq will be under permanent U.S. military occupation."

Sam Graham-Felsen, "Operation: Enduring Presence," AlterNet, Posted July 28, 2005. "The issue of permanent bases cuts to the heart of not only how long we intend to stay in Iraq, but why we got there in the first place."

Michael Howard, "US military to build four giant new bases in Iraq," The Guardian, May 23, 2005, Page 2. "US military commanders are planning to pull back their troops from Iraq's towns and cities and redeploy them in four giant bases, in a strategy which they claim is a prelude to eventual withdrawal. The plan, details of which emerged at the weekend, also foresees a transfer to Iraqi command of more than 100 bases that have been occupied by US-led multinational forces since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. However, the decision to invest in the bases, which will require the construction of more permanent structures such as blast-proof barracks and offices, is seen by some as a sign the US expects to keep a permanent presence in Iraq."

Bradley Graham, "Commanders Plan Eventual Consolidation of U.S. Bases in Iraq," The Washington Post, May 22, 2005, page A27. "U.S. military commanders have prepared plans to consolidate American troops in Iraq into four large air bases as they look ahead to giving up more than 100 other bases now occupied by international forces, officers said. Several officers involved in drafting the consolidation plan said it entailed the construction of longer-lasting facilities at the sites, including barracks and office structures made of concrete block instead of the metal trailers and tin-sheathed buildings that have become the norm at bigger U.S. bases in Iraq. The new, sturdier buildings will give the bases a more permanent character, the officers acknowledged. But they said the consolidation plan was not meant to establish a permanent U.S. military presence in Iraq."

David R. Francis, "US Bases in Iraq: Sticky Politics, Hard Math," Christian Science Monitor, September 30, 2004, page 17. "If a new Iraq government should agree to let American forces stay on, how many bases will the US request? One, as the United States Army currently maintains in Honduras? Six, the number of installations it lists in the Netherlands. Or maybe 12? The Pentagon isn't saying. But a dozen is the number of so-called 'enduring bases' located by John Pike, director of His military affairs website gives their names. They include, for example, Camp Victory at the Baghdad airfield and Camp Renegade in Kirkuk. The Chicago Tribune last March said US engineers are constructing 14 'enduring bases,' but Mr. Pike hasn't located two of them."

Mindy Belz, "Operation Enduring Presence," World Magazine, April 24, 2004. "At his April 13 press conference, President Bush promised that in less than 10 weeks 'Iraqi sovereignty will be placed in Iraqi hands.' Many Americans assume that will mean bringing the boys home. Troop reductions, however, are far from the minds of military strategists and policymakers.
Pentagon planners have quietly named [Camp] Anaconda - along with 13 other posts in Iraq - 'enduring presence' bases. That means the Defense Department expects them to be in service for at least two more years, if not longer. Defense operators are fortifying and expanding those bases to house around 140,000 troops. According to a status report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) released late last month, the United States plans to keep in excess of 100,000 troops in Iraq 'through at least early 2006.'"

Jeff Taylor, "Empire State: America's "enduring bases" in Iraq," Reason, March 29, 2004. "The size of the near-term U.S. footprint in Iraq could vary depending on just how fast that new Iraqi government gets a handle on security, but the Pentagon is already making plans for any eventuality. Plans for as many as 14 possibly permanent, or in Pentagonese, 'enduring' bases are already in motion. Former Iraqi army bases in or around Baghdad, Mosul, Taji, Balad, Kirkuk, Nasiriyah, Tikrit, Fallujah, and Irbil will be upgraded by U.S. engineers to U.S. specs. Several factors are driving the plans for a large U.S. presence, not the least of which are geography and economics."

Christine Spolar, "14 'enduring bases' set in Iraq: Long-term military presence planned," Chicago Tribune March 23, 2004. "From the ashes of abandoned Iraqi army bases, U.S. military engineers are overseeing the building of an enhanced system of American bases designed to last for years. Last year, as troops poured over the Kuwait border to invade Iraq, the U.S. military set up at least 120 forward operating bases. Then came hundreds of expeditionary and temporary bases that were to last between six months and a year for tactical operations while providing soldiers with such comforts as e-mail and Internet access. Now U.S. engineers are focusing on constructing 14 'enduring bases,' long-term encampments for the thousands of American troops expected to serve in Iraq for at least two years. The bases also would be key outposts for Bush administration policy advisers."

Thomas Donnelly, "There's No Place Like Iraq... For U.S. military bases." The Weekly Standard, May 5, 2003. "With Rumsfeld himself pushing for an overdue review of America's posture and garrisoning around the world, with another round of base closures and realignments scheduled for 2005, and with the pressing need to rationalize the burdens on an overstretched force bearing global responsibilities, the idea of locating bases where troops are required might seem obvious....What is clear is the rationale behind a quasi-permanent American garrison in Iraq--with, say, a Guantanamo-style long-term lease....The sooner Rumsfeld fesses up and makes this issue a plain part of the public debate over post-Saddam Iraq the better."

Bradley Graham, "U.S. Won't Seek Bases in Iraq, Rumsfeld Says," The Washington Post, April 22, 2003, Page A11. "Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said yesterday the United States is unlikely to seek any permanent or 'long-term' bases in Iraq because U.S. basing arrangements with other countries in the region are sufficient. While stressing that discussion of future U.S. military ties with Iraq is premature in the absence of a new Iraqi government, Rumsfeld appeared intent yesterday on knocking down the idea of an indefinite U.S. military presence in Iraq. A newspaper report over the weekend suggested that among the options the administration is considering is permanent U.S. access to several Iraqi airfields. 'I have never, that I can recall, heard the subject of a permanent base in Iraq discussed in any meeting,' Rumsfeld said at a Pentagon news conference. 'The likelihood of it seems to me to be so low that it does not surprise me that it's never been discussed in my presence -- to my knowledge.'"

Toby Harnden, "U.S. to keep up to 4 military bases in Iraq," Chicago Sun-Times, April 21, 2003, Page 20.
[ENTIRE TEXT] The United States is planning to establish up to four long-term military bases in Iraq. The proposal would transform America's ability to project its power in the Middle East. Future arrangements depend largely on who takes over as leader of Iraq. However, Baghdad airport, Tallil in southern Iraq, the H-1 airstrip in the west and Bashur airfield in Kurdistan are potential bases. "There will be some kind of a long-term defence relationship with a new Iraq, similar to Afghanistan," a senior Bush administration official said. 'The scope of that has yet to be defined - whether it will be 'full-up' operational bases, smaller forward operating bases or plain access." One reason senior officials in the Pentagon favour Ahmad Chalabi, of the exile group the Iraqi National Congress, as the new leader is that he would be pro-American and happy to facilitate US bases. Mr Chalabi told ABC television yesterday: "It is up to the Iraqi parliament and the Iraqi people to decide whether they will want a military association with the United States. But it is my view that a strategic alliance between Iraq and the United States is a good thing for both." The plan for bases does not mean that American troops would remain indefinitely. The bases would be used primarily to help with reconstructing Iraq. But their proximity to Syria and Iran could allow the US to apply added pressure on those countries. With US troops also in Afghanistan, Iran is now almost surrounded by American forces. A senior official said US bases in Iraq would "make Syria and Iran nervous". The bases would also let America scale back its presence in Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Colin Powell, secretary of state, said last week: "We have been successful in Iraq. There is a new dynamic in that part of the world." Permanent Iraqi bases would be just one element of change in America's strategic posture since the September 11 attacks. Most of America's troops in Germany are likely to be withdrawn in favour of "lilypad" bases to be used as short-notice stopping-off points.

Donald Macintyre, "US Wants Permanent Access to Military Bases in Post-War Iraq," The Independent, April 21, 2003, Page 1. "The United States plans to use Iraq to maintain a long-term strategic foothold in the Middle East that would include the right to use four of the country's military bases, Bush administration officials said. George Bush moved to reduce tension with Syria yesterday, saying Damascus was 'getting the message' that it should help to facilitate the capture of leading members of the ousted Iraqi regime. But the plan surfacing in Washington for a 'defence relationship' with Iraq goes well beyond the short-term to medium-term demands for security and stabilisation. Such a move would help America to underpin its political, diplomatic and economic pressure on Syria and Iran. US military officials quoted by The New York Times identified the four bases - including one at Baghdad international airport - as those that have been progressively occupied by US forces in the war. They are currently being used to supply and reinforce operations against remnants of the Saddam regime, for reconnaissance patrols and for supplies of humanitarian aid. In the longer term, the bases would remain accessible to US warplanes and military transport aircraft. American officials, sensitive to the neuralgic impact on much of the Arab world, stress that Washington will only seek 'access' to the airfields rather than permanent 'basing'. Administration officials were quick to echo assertions by Colin Powell, the Secretary of State, that Washington had "no war plan right now" for Syria and Iran. The putative access to the bases, as well as US presence in Afghanistan, would come close to surrounding Iran with a ring of American influence."

Robert D. McFadden, "U.S. Access to Iraqi Bases, Signs of Life in Baghdad and Rumsfeld on the Rise," The New York Times, April 20, 2003, page B1. "As American forces withdraw in the months ahead, the Bush administration plans a military relationship with the new government in Baghdad that would give the Pentagon permanent access to four air bases in Iraq. These would serve as a foothold to project American influence into the heart of the unsettled Middle East. The scope of the partnership and access is not yet defined. But coupled with the American military presence in Afghanistan, the bases in Iraq would be felt in Syria and would flank Iran on both sides. Ultimately the bases could become one of the most striking strategic developments of the war, adding even greater power to a swath of influence reaching from Western Europe to the Far East."

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