United States and Qatari forces begin joint war games
Qatari and US forces have begun three days of joint war games, to which several top Arab military officers have been invited, a Qatari military source said Sunday.
The exercise, named "Eagle Resolve 2002", started Saturday and comes within the framework of the defense agreement signed in wake of the 1991 Gulf War, the source said, according to AFP.
Amongst the senior Gulf military officials present were chief of staff of the Saudi armed forces, General Saleh bin Ali al-Muhaya and Kuwaiti counterpart General Ali bin Mohammad al-Mumen.
In a separate development, Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jaber al-Thani denied Sunday that he held talks in the United States, from where he has just returned, on the transfer of U.S. troops out of the modern Prince Sultan military base in southern Saudi Arabia to Qatar.
"We are not in competition with Saudi Arabia," Sheikh Hamad said, quoted by the Emirate's press.
The use of the Saudi air base and other military facilities is seen as essential for the success of any US military campaign against Iraq.
There has been mounting speculation that Washington was preparing to transfer equipment and some of the 6,000 US troops from Saudi Arabia to Qatar to bypass Saudi objections to any strike on Baghdad.
However, the Pentagon has stressed that while some equipment might be transferred to Qatar, US forces will remain in the Saudi Kingdom.
The Al-Adid air base, 35 kilometres southwest of Qatar's capital Doha is the biggest facility used by the United States to stock munitions and material in the Gulf. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)