April 3, 2006
By Sarah Meyer
is Pentagon and US governmental obfuscation surrounding United States
permanent bases in Iraq. Whilst Donald Rumsfeld, US Secretary of
Defence, continues to deny a permanent US presence there, the facts
appear to contradict his statements.
In February 2002, Zoltan Grossman wrote the following cogent perception entitled New US Bases: Side Effects or Causes of War?
"Even if this administration pulls combat troops out of Iraq in the
future, it intends to keep at least four large permanent military
bases, and access or 'basing rights' to many smaller bases, to keep
control over oil supplies and shipments, support counterinsurgency
operations, and to use Iraq as a launching pad against Iran or Syria.
The only way that Washington can avoid this impression is to explicitly
renounce any future permanent military bases in Iraq."
On 19 April 2003, A NY Times headline said: "A NATION AT WAR: STRATEGIC SHIFT; PENTAGON EXPECTS LONG-TERM ACCESS
TO KEY IRAQ BASES. … "military officials … spoke of maintaining perhaps
four bases in Iraq that could be used in the future: one at the
international airport just outside Baghdad; another at Tallil, near
Nasiriya in the south; the third at an isolated airstrip called H-1 in
the western desert, along the old oil pipeline that runs to Jordan; and
the last at the Bashur air field in the Kurdish north.
On the 21st of April Rumsfeld said in a press briefing
"I have never, that I can recall, heard the subject of a permanent base
in Iraq discussed in any meeting … we don't plan to function as an
occupier, we don't plan to prescribe to any new government how we ought
to be arranged in their country… We have no desire to be there for long
periods, we simply don't. And that's just a cold, hard fact."
On 23 March 2004, Christine Spolar said in The Chicago Tribune
that there was a "long term military presence planned" in Iraq. "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." Major Kimmitt said, "This is a
blueprint for how we could operate in the Middle East." The US was
making plans for Iraqi bases in Baghdad, Mosul, Taji, Balad, Kirkuk and
in areas near Nasiriyah, near Tikrit, near Fallujah and between Irbil
and Kirkuk. There were also plans "to renovate and enhance airfields in
Baghdad and Mosul, and rebuild 70 miles of road on the main route for
U.S. troops headed north."
In June ’04, major construction
(Parsons / KRB) at Taji Military Base was completed. Major construction
on other US bases continued.
In August 2004, an order was issued to vacate
the former presidential palaces in Mosul, Tikrit, Ramadi, Basra and
Baghdad, but this order was rescinded in 11.04. No further news …
September ’04, and Rumsfeld was speaking before the Senate Armed Forces Committee. "Rearranging our global posture … is essential to our success," he said.
On 30 September, Dick Francis
of the Christian Science Monitor quotes Jessica Mathews, president of
the Washington’s Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, as saying
that permanent bases in Iraq are a "disastrously bad idea."
In February 2005, Rumsfeld reported again to the Senate Armed Services Committee: "we have no intention, at the present time, of putting permanent bases in Iraq."
In April 2005, a new report from the Congressional Research Service,
commissioned by Congressman Dennis Kuchinich, showed "that the United
States is investing hundreds of millions of dollars in the construction
of "long-term" bases in Iraq … some projects … suggest substantial U.S.
investment to improve facilities that could be used for the
longer-term." These long-term projects in Iraq include, $214 million
for the Balad Air Base and $49 million for the Taji Military Complex.
The March-April ’05 Mother Jones report by Joshua Hammer
fully discusses 'enduring bases’, and contains interesting quotes from
General Garner, Bremer, General Zinni, Brig. Gen. Pollman, Karen
Kwiatkowski and Jessica Matthews of the Carnegie Endowment for
International Peace in Washington, D.C., who said: "It will convince
people across the Arab world that we went there to install an American
regime in the Middle East."
On 22.05.05, Bradley Graham wrote in the Washington Post
that Commanders were planning "eventual consolidation of US Bases in
Iraq." This "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… But they said the
consolidation plan was not meant to establish a permanent U.S. military
presence in Iraq."
Congress approved an $82m supplemental 'war spending bill’, also in May ’05.
In the summer of 2005, a Kuwaiti firm was 'awarded’ the $592million contract for the new US embassy
in Baghdad, to be completed by 2007. Built to withstand attack, this
Ozymandius on the Tigris, composed of a cluster of 21 buildings, will
have "a gym, swimming pool, barber and beauty shops, a food court and a
commissary. In addition to the main embassy buildings, there will be a
large-scale US Marine barracks, a school, locker rooms, a warehouse, a
vehicle maintenance garage, and six apartment buildings with a total of
619 one-bedroom units. Water, electricity and sewage treatment plants
will all be independent from Baghdad's city utilities. The total site
will be two-thirds the area of the National Mall in Washington, DC." It
will be the largest US embassy in the world.
By mid-2005, the U.S. military had 106 'forward operating bases’ in Iraq, including what the Pentagon calls 14 "enduring" bases (twelve of which are located on the map) – all of which were to be consolidated into "perhaps" four bases that could be used in the future.2" By 2006, 34 of the (now admitted) 110 bases had been vacated.3 Two palaces in Tikrit and one in Mosul were due to be turned over to the government in Iraq at the end of 2005. No further news …
In an Agence France report on 11 March '06, Zalmay Khalilzad, one of the signers of the 1998 PNAC letter
to President Clinton supporting regime change in Iraq, and since
November ’05 the US ambassador in Baghdad, said his country "did not
want permanent military bases in Iraq and that he was willing to talk
to Iran about the war-torn country's future."
Oil anarchy threatens Iraq's future
suggested a Reuters headline. "Rampant corruption and political anarchy
have pushed Iraq's oil industry to the brink of collapse and may drive
away the experts needed to save it." On the same day (15.03), another
Reuters report said that "While the Bush administration has downplayed
prospects for permanent U.S. bases in Iraq, Gen. John Abizaid
told a House of Representatives subcommittee he could not rule that
out." Abizaid also said the "United States and its allies have a vital interest in the oil-rich region
... Ultimately it comes down to the free flow of goods and resources on
which the prosperity of our own nation and everybody else in the world
depend." Also on the 15th, 700 more US troops from Kuwait were being dispatched to Iraq.
On 16 March ’06, the US Congress
passed the Lee-Allen-Hinchey-Schakowsky Amendment, assuring that "None
of the funds in this Act may be used by the US government to enter into
a basing rights agreement between the United States and Iraq."4 An April Senate vote is pending.
picked up this thread in his Los Angeles Times story, 'Bush's Requests
for Iraqi Base Funding Make Some Wary of Extended Stay,’ quoting the
exorbitant DoD expenditures on US bases in Iraq.
20 March ’06: White House Press Conference
Q.: "…will there come a day when there will be no more American forces in Iraq?"
THE PRESIDENT: "That, of course, is an objective, and that will be decided by future Presidents and future governments of Iraq."
21 March: Charles Hanley
of the Associated Press, after visiting US bases in Iraq, said that
"Elaborate U.S. bases raise long-term questions." Zinni, a former
Centcom chief, said of long term bases: "It's a stupid idea and clearly
politically unacceptable." Hanley says, "In early 2006, no one's
confirming such next steps, but a Balad "master plan," details
undisclosed, is nearing completion, a possible model for al-Asad,
Tallil and a fourth major base, al-Qayyarah in Iraq's north." Except
for Balad, these are different 'permanent’ bases than those first
mentioned in 2003.
Prime Minister Blair also has the habit of
obscuring his intentions. One can almost be sure that if he, or a
member of his government, says, "there is no plan …", there IS, indeed,
a plan. We read on the 28.02.06, in Hansard,
the following written question, followed by the written answer from
Adam Ingram, Minister of State (Armed Forces), Ministry of Defence:
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had
with his US counterparts over their plans to set up 14 permanent
military bases in Iraq. 
Ministers at the Ministry of Defence are in continuous dialogue with
all of our allies, including the United States, on a range of issues.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence has had no
discussions with his US counterparts on plans to set up permanent
military bases in Iraq."
On 2 April 06, Andrew Buncombe
wrote an article with a new twist in the The Independent entitled: "US
and UK forces establish 'enduring bases' in Iraq." A spokesperson for
the coalition forces, Major Breasseale, said: "The current plan is to
reduce the coalition footprint into six consolidation bases - four of
which are US ... We have no intention of remaining, or indeed retaining
bases in Iraq long-term."
The number of remaining US bases is
now stated as being 75, one less than in 2005. We still have no firm
idea of the US time-scale in Iraq. We now also have the confirmed
confusion of "enduring" (that favourite PNAC word) UK bases in Iraq.
And, surprise, surprise - 'Our Tony’ had not informed the UK about this
UK/Iraq agenda. We shall hopefully soon have another 'leaked’ memo.
US (and now apparently also that of the UK) administration’s subterfuge
is transparent. The US building of bases in Iraq continues5,
whilst any thought of US construction or humanitarian programme
benefiting the Iraqi people is in the dustbin. The US government does
not care about the Iraqi people. The US cares only about controlling
Iraqi oil pipelines, pacifying its soldiers with comfortable mod coms
and making a different kind of 'killing’ from corporate DoD deals.
Keeping Iraq in a perpetual state of violence, keeping Osama bin Laden
alive (even if he is dead) is beneficial to the US government and its
octopussy corporate purse-strings.
Other Source Material
1. 13.03.06. Dahr Jamail, uruknet Iraq: Permanent US Colony
2. 30 March 2006 Iraq bases spur questions over US plans
3. Ozymandius by: Percy Bysshe Shelley
"I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert... Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal these words appear:
My name is Ozymandius, King of Kings,
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away."
 Further maps
 Baghdad International Airport; Tallil; H1; Bashur air field.
 Hanley, Charles, AP, 21.03.06
 Roll call vote (Democrats in italics) Abercrombie, Baldwin, Blackburn, Blumenauer, Campbell (CA), Cannon, Capps, Clay, Coble, Conyers, Cooper, Costello, Cubin, Deal (GA), Eshoo, Farr, Flake, Frank (MA), Gohmert, Grijalva, Gutierrez, Hensarling, Hinchey, Holt, Inslee, Jackson-Lee (TX), Johnson, Sam, King (IA), Kucinich, Lee, Lewis (GA), Maloney, Markey, McCollum (MN), McDermott, McGovern, McHenry, McKinney, McNulty, Meehan, Michaud, Miller, George, Moore (WI), Neal (MA), Neugebauer, Olver, Owens, Pallone, Paul, Payne, Pence, Petri, Rangel, Rothman, Schakowsky, Sensenbrenner, Serrano, Solis, Stark, Tancredo, Thompson (CA), Tierney, Velázquez, Waters, Watson, Watt, Waxman, Weiner, Westmoreland, Woolsey, Wu
 How American Contractors With The Help Of U.S. Government Raped Iraq. Iraq’s Missing Billions.
The url to Iraq's US/UK Bases: Intentional Obfuscation is: http://indexresearch.blogspot.com/2006/04/iraqs-usuk-permanent-bases-intentional.html
Sarah Meyer is a researcher living in Sussex, UK.