Iraq: May 9, 2001

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US commanders in the Persian Gulf have suggested that warplane patrols over the northern no-fly zone be cut back or eliminated. There are two reasons for this. There is fear that eventually Iraqi anti-aircraft weapons will get lucky and bring down an American aircraft. A captured pilot would be a major media victory for Iraq. The other reason is that Turkey is becoming increasingly reluctant about hosting American and British warplanes on a Turkish air base. The Turks are also increasing their economic ties with Iraq, providing Iraq with leverage against Turkey.  President wants "more effective" air patrols (meaning more aggressive attacks against Iraqi targets.) Everyone agrees that patrols should continue over the southern no-fly zone, to provide additional protection against possible Iraqi attacks on Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. 

 

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