Friends Committee on National Legislation – 2006-02-18 09:20:03
Bush Budgets for 14 “Permanent” Bases inside Iraq
Friends Committee on National Legislation
If the US is ultimately leaving Iraq, why is the military building ‘permanent’ bases?
The supplemental funding bill for the war in Iraq signed by President Bush in early May 2005 provides money for the construction of bases for US forces that are described as “in some very limited cases, permanent facilities.” Several recent press reports have suggested the US is planning up to 14 permanent bases in Iraq — a country that is only twice the size of the state of Idaho. Why is the US building permanent bases in Iraq?
In May 2005, United States military forces in Iraq occupied 106 bases, according to a report in the Washington Post. (1) http://www.fcnl.org/iraq/bases.htm
Military commanders told that newspaper they eventually planed to consolidate these bases into four large airbases at Tallil, Al Asad, Balad and either Irbil or Qayyarah.
But other reports suggest the US military has plans for even more bases: In April 2003 report in The New York Times reported that “the US is planning a long-term military relationship with the emerging government of Iraq, one that would grant the Pentagon access to military bases and project American influence into the heart of the unsettled region.” (2)
According to the Chicago Tribune, US engineers are focusing on constructing 14 “enduring bases,” to serve as long-term encampments for thousands of American troops. (3)
(1) Green Zone (Baghdad)
The Green Zone in central Baghdad includes the main palaces of former President Saddam Hussein. The area at one time housed the Coalition Provisional Authority; it still houses the offices of major U.S. consulting companies and the temporary U.S. embassy facilities.
(2) Camp Anaconda (Balad Airbase)
Camp Anaconda is a large U.S. logistical base near Balad. The camp is spread over 15 square miles and is being constructed to accommodate 20,000 soldiers.
(3) Camp Taji (Taji)
Camp Taji, former Iraqi Republican Guard “military city,“ is now a huge U.S. base equipped with a Subway, Burger King and Pizza Hut on the premises.
(4) Camp Falcon-Al-Sarq (Baghdad)
In late September 2003, the 439th Engineering Battalion delivered over 100,000 tons of gravel and is assisting with building roads, walls, guard towers, and buildings for Camp Falcon. Camp Falcon is planned to house 5,000 soldiers.
(5) Post Freedom (Mosul)
Saddam Hussein’s former palace in Mosul is currently home to the 101st Airborne Division.
(6) Camp Victory- Al Nasr (Baghdad Airfield)
Camp Victory is a U.S. Army base situated on airport grounds about 5 kilometers from Baghdad International Airport. The base can house up to 14,000 troops. Al Faw Palace on Camp Victory is surrounded by a man-made lake and serves as an unofficial conference center for the Army.
(7) Camp Marez (Mosul Airfield)
Located at an airfield southwest of Mosul, Camp Marez has a tent dining capacity for 500. In December 2004, a suicide bomber killed himself and 13 U.S. soldiers at the base’s dining tent.
(8) Camp Renegade (Kirkuk)
Strategically located near the Kirkuk oil fields and the Kirkuk refinery and petrochemical plant, Camp Renegade has a dormitory that houses up to 1,664 airmen in 13 buildings with six to eight people to a room.
(9) Camp Speicher (Tikrit)
Named after F/A-18 pilot Michael “Scott” Speicher who was shot down during the first Gulf War in 1991, Camp Speicher is located near Tikrit in northern Iraq, approximately 170 kilometers north of Baghdad.
(10) Camp Fallujuh (Rail Station?)
The exact whereabouts and name of this base is unknown. Analysts believe that the U.S. is building an “enduring base” in Fallujah, a large town forty miles west of Baghdad. Fallujah has proved to be the most violence prone area in Iraq. Between early April 2004, when Marines halted their first offensive against the city, and November 2004, when the city was “re-taken” from insurgents, Fallujuh was a no-go area with numerous murders and bombings.
(11) Unknown name (Nasiriyah)
The exact whereabouts and name of this base is unknown. Analysts believe that the US is building an “enduring base” near Nasiriyah, a provincial capital of South-East Iraq on the Euphrates River.
(12) Unknown name
(between Irbil and Kirkuk)
• 1 Graham, Bradley, “Commander’s Plan Eventual Consolidation of U.S. Bases in Iraq,” May 22, 2005, p A27
• 2 Shanker, Thom and Eric Smith. “Pentagon Expects Long-Term Access to Four Key Bases in Iraq.” New York Times. April 20, 2003.
• 3 Spolar, Christine. “14 ‘Enduring Bases’ Set for Iraq.” Chicago Tribune. March 23, 2004.
• (4) Information on Iraq bases is from GlobalSecurity.org. More information is available at: http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/facility/iraq-intro.htm. Used with Permission
Despite Rumsfeld’s Denials, There Are
Plans for 14 “Enruing Bases” in Iraq
A 20 April 2003 report in The New York Times asserted that “the US is planning a long-term military relationship with the emerging government of Iraq, one that would grant the Pentagon access to military bases and project American influence into the heart of the unsettled region.” The report, citing anonymous sources, referred to one base at Baghdad’s international airport, another near Al-Nasiriyah in the south [presumably meaning Tallil AB], the third at the H-1 airstrip in the western desert, and the fourth at Bashur AB in the north.
There had been several statements at that time about the possible duration of the US military presence in Iraq. Mr. Richard Perle mentioned six months; Ahmad Chalabi, two years.
American officials have tried to make the point that the US presence in Iraq will not be a permanent or long-term one. US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in a 21 April 2003 press conference said that any suggestion that the United States is planning a permanent military presence in Iraq is “inaccurate and unfortunate.” Rumsfeld said “I have never, that I can recall, heard the subject of a permanent base in Iraq discussed in any meeting. … 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.
“Why do I say it’s low? Well, we’ve got all kinds of options and opportunities in that part of the world to locate forces, it’s not like we need a new place. We have plenty of friends and plenty of ability to work with them and have locations for things that help to contribute to stability in the region. … ”
Rumsfeld: “I think there is a down side. I think any impression that is left, which that article left, that the United States plans some sort of a permanent presence in that country, I think is a signal to the people of that country that’s inaccurate and unfortunate, because 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.”
On 23 March 2004 it was reported that “US 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 number of U.S. military personnel in Iraq, between 105,000 and 110,000, is expected to remain unchanged through 2006.. the US plans to operate from former Iraqi bases in Baghdad, Mosul, Taji, Balad, Kirkuk and in areas near Nasiriyah, near Tikrit, near Fallujah and between Irbil and Kirkuk… enhance airfields in Baghdad and Mosul…”
By May 2005 the Washington Post reported that plans called for consolidating American troops in Iraq into four large air bases: Tallil in the south, Al Asad in the west, Balad in the center and either Irbil or Qayyarah in the north.
Eventually, US units would be concentrated at these four fortified strategic hubs, from which they could provide logistical support and emergency combat assistance. Each base would support a brigade combat team, along with aviation and other support personnel.
Initially referred to as “enduring bases” in 2004, these four bases were redesignated as “Contingency Operating Bases” in February 2005. The consolidation plan entails construction of long-lasting facilities, such as barracks and offices built of concrete blocks, rather than the metal trailers and buildings that are found at the larger US bases.
The buildings are designed to withstand direct mortar strikes. Initial funding was provided in the $82 billion supplemental appropriations bill approved by Congress in May 2005.
The longer term plan for US Central Command calls for “strategic overwatch” from bases in Kuwait.
As of mid-May 2005 it was reported that US forces occupied a total of 106 bases. These ranged in size from the massive Camp Victory complex near the Baghdad airport, to small outposts with as few as 500 soldiers. The US also operates four detention facilities and several other convoy support centers. In the first five months of 2005, US forces had turned over 13 small facilities in Baghdad to Iraqi military or police units.
In August 2004 prepartions began for vacating palaces in Mosul, Tikrit, Ramadi, Basra and Baghdad starting in March 2005. But the plan was put on hold in November 2004, given the cost of setting up replacement facilities. As of May 2005 plans called for turning over three palaces — two in Tikrit and one in Mosul — by the end of 2005, with others to follow later on.
For the complete story, go to:
• Secret US Demand for Six Bases in Iraq
AMMAN, Jordan (November 19, 2003) — The the most important of these secret clauses in the document provide for the establishment of at least six military bases in different parts of Iraq in which American forces will be concentrated on a permanent basis in order to guarantee a continued American and British presence in accordance with the strategy that brought their fleets to these hot waters in the first place.
• “14 `Enduring Bases’ Set in Iraq; Long-term Military Presence Planned”
By Christine Spolar, Chicago Tribune March 23, 2004
• “Commanders Plan Eventual Consolidation of U.S. Bases in Iraq”
By Bradley Graham Washington Post Staff Writer Sunday, May 22, 2005; Page A27
• DoD News Briefing, November 6, 2003