"Secret" Air Base for Iraq War started prior 9-11
by Duke1676This is great investigative work, and further evidence that Bush and the neocons were planning pre-emptive military
action long before September 11th, and no matter what WMD intelligence revealed--Chris
With a small ceremony on April 26, 2003, control of Prince Sultan Air Base was handed back to the government of Saudi Arabia. Since the mid-nineties it had been the premier US air base in the region
and the nerve center for all air force operations in the Gulf. As the home of the Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC),
the base was the primary command and control facility responsible for orchestrating the air campaigns for both Operation Southern
Watch in Iraq and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
The timing of the closing of PSAB seemed odd, coming just weeks after the official start of military actions in Iraq. It
should have, at the very least, caused unwanted logistical problems for the Pentagon and regional commanders, but it didn't.
A contingency plan had long been in the works, not only for Prince Sultan Air Base, but also for the entire map of the Middle
East, including Iraq.
Long before the US pullout, a new home for the operations had secretly been built in the deserts of Qatar. What had
been in October 2001 "nothing more than a runway and a field of sand covered by two-dozen tents and a few warehouses", the
Al Udeid Air Base was transformed in a few short months into one of the largest air bases in the world.
Published reports and official DOD statements claimed that the amazing transformation was the result of the heroic response
of US servicemen to the tragedy of 9-11. A determined military had beaten indeterminate odds to transform a barren wasteland
into a state of the art military base in order to "take the war to the terrorists".
The true story of the building of Al-Udeid is actually quite different. The planning for the mammoth base had in fact taken
place long before Sept. 11, and actual work on the base began as early as the spring of 2001. The building of Al Udeid turns
out not to be a "miracle in the desert" in response to a heinous attack, as touted by the military, but rather a required
step on the path to regime change in Iraq.
It has long been accepted knowledge that the Bush Administration was working feverishly towards regime change in Iraq during
the 18-month period between 9-11 and the official start of the war in March of 2003. The Downing St Minutes confirmed that the Administration was set on a path to war at least as early as mid-summer of 2002. The accounts of Paul
O'Neil and Richard Clarke verified that Iraq was a front burner issue for the Administration from the very first day, and
only intensified after the attacks. Yet finding hard evidence to prove that planning for the war in Iraq was taking place
prior to 9-11 has been hard to find. A look at the building of Al Udied can provide that evidence.
THE BUILDING OF AL-UDEID (THE OFFICIAL STORY)
According to published reports, the groundwork for what would become Al-Udeid Air Base was first laid at a cost of over one billion dollars in 1996 in an
attempt by the Qatari government to lure the American military to set up shop in the small Gulf nation. At the time
it was built, Qatar had not yet acquired as much as a single airplane to call the base home. Although they would later purchase
an air force comprised of 12 French Mirage fighter jets, they would never actually station them at Al-Udeid. They were simply
playing a waiting game, hoping that eventually the volatile nature of the region would bring the Americans knocking at their
door. The Qatari's gamble paid off with the events of Sept. 11. In response to the attacks, the US presence in the region
needed to increase exponentially. By Sept. 29, 2001, according to the official records, the first military teams arrived to
begin looking the base over in preparation for Operation Enduring Freedom.
On October 2, 2001 a rapid-response team of civil engineers, the 823rd RED HORSE Squadron whose specialty is to repair
and build structures such as runways and roads in remote areas, arrived. According to the accounts of the 823rd, the Qatar base "was nothing more than a runway and a field of sand covered by two-dozen tents and a few warehouses". Since
there was no room in the warehouses for the RED HORSE airmen to sleep, they moved into an expandable shelter on the flightline
and lived and worked out of there
They had come to begin the largest construction project ever undertaken by a RED HORSE team; a $9.1 million military construction
project that consisted of building a 1,240- foot by 630-foot concrete ramp with taxiways, shoulders and lighting. While waiting
for funding and approval for the ramp project, the RED HORSE troops spent two months doing other base projects, like building
the operations center and helping set up the tent city. Finally in January 2002 ramp construction began. The completed ramp,
as big as 8 football fields, was finished in late March.
As March 2002 began, the airfield was still classified as "Secret".
Only a handwritten "Army Camp"
sign marked its entrance. By the middle of the month, several thousand new American troops were now stationed at the base.
Many of these troops were supporting the large complement of US aircraft, which included F-16 fighters, JSTARS reconnaissance
aircraft, and KC-10, KC-130 and KC-135 aerial tankers. The rapid growth of the base made Qatar's Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa
Al Thani decide he had to let his people know about extent of the American presence in their country. It was agreed that the
best way to announce the presence of the base was to have Vice President Cheney visit on March 17, 2002.
Within ten days of Cheney's visit, reports were coming out of Saudi Arabia that the US was moving communications and computer equipment from Prince Sultan Air Base
to Al-Udeid in anticipation of a base closing. US military trucks had been seen leaving the base 50 miles south of Riyadh,
and arriving at the border with Qatar in the second week of March. It was speculated that a move was being made in response
to the Saudi government's refusal to allow air raids on Afghanistan to be launched from its soil. Additionally, in the event
of a Saudi refusal to collaborate in a second phase of the US "war on terror" against Iraq, the move would be needed to allow
the US to effectively conduct an air campaign.
At the time US central command spokesman, Major Ralph Mills confirmed the equipment movements but insisted they represented business as usual. Mills told reporters, "This is not uncommon. This
is status quo. We are moving stuff from point A to point B, this is an ongoing process." Dick Cheney also denied there were
any plans to close Prince Sultan AB, claiming no decision had made to change military positions with respect to Saudi Arabia.
By June of 2002 the work on the first phase Al Udeid was nearing completion.
The US military had
quietly moved munitions, equipment and communications gear to the base from Saudi Arabia. The base was now home to 3,000 troops.
A huge tent city had been erected with warehouses and miles of security barriers. Miles of freshly paved runways and acres
of new aircraft parking ramps showed up on satellite imagery from the period. Newly built hangers, munitions supply areas and control facilities had been hardened with concrete
to withstand aerial attack, and the base now boasted the longest runway in the region at over 15,000 feet. It had become as
one military analyst said; "The most capable base in the Gulf region."
On August 7, 2002
the Saudis announced that the US would no longer be allowed to fly combat missions
in Iraq out of Prince Sultan Air Base in support of Operation Southern Watch. The Saudi decision had no effect on US war plans
by that time, as Al Udeid was more than prepared to pick up where the Saudis had left off. A year later, Prince Sultan was
closed after all Command and Control was moved to Al Udeid.
A HIDDEN HISTORY OF AL-UDEID (PAVING THE ROAD TO WAR IN IRAQ)
As the Bush Administration came to power in January 2001, the sound of war drums began beating along the Potomac. Numerous accounts from the period tell of an increased emphasis on the need for regime change in Iraq. As the political wing of the administration
worked on setting the stage for policy change, the military began to deal with the practicalities of waging war. With the
deteriorating situation in Saudi Arabia in general, and the possible need replace Prince Sultan AB in particular; the DOD
began to make moves to find a replacement.
Since the first Gulf War, the US had had limited military agreements with Qatar. In 1992, a Defense Cooperation Agreement
was signed that permitted "access and prepositioning" of US assets in the country. In November, 1995 another agreement to
host "several Air Expeditionary Force deployments" was reached. Yet as of 2000, Al Udeid had been mostly ignored, but that
was about to change.
In 2000 the US planned to to use Al-Udeid as a munitions storage facility
International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) 2000 report released in the
fall of that year.
ICBL Report 2000: Qatar
Additionally, based on U.S. Air Force plans for its war reserve ammunition stockpiles in the Persian Gulf
region, U.S. Gator antipersonnel mines, as well as Claymore mines, may be introduced and stockpiled at the Al Udeid area in
Qatar in the near future. U.S. Air Force documents indicate that the Al Udeid storage facility will eventually contain 142
CBU-89 Gator mine systems, each with twenty-two antipersonnel mines, and 141 M18/M18A1 Claymore mines
The ICBL 2001 report, which was completed just prior to 9-11 confirmed that the munitions storage plan had in fact gone into effect. Located in
the remote desert region of Qatar, Al-Udeid was a perfect candidate for this kind of usage. But munitions storage facility
would not last long. As the Bush administration came to power they had new plans for the air base, plans that would clear
the path to war with Iraq.
By March 2001 the Air Force began investigating moving operations to the Al-Udeid.
According to a Congressional report given by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the airfield was now being looked at as
potential US base. In his annual Allied Contributions to the Common Defense Report, Rumsfeld stated:
"Since November 1995, Bahrain and Qatar have both hosted several Air Expeditionary Force deployments in support of Operation
SOUTHERN WATCH, and the United States Air Force recently established a limited prepositioning facility at Qatar's
Al-Udeid Airbase and is investigating moving to the airfield. Qatar also hosts prepositioned U.S. Army assets at
This was the first time the use of Al-Udied as a potential base for US air operations was officially acknowledged. Back
in April 2000, then Defense Secretary William Cohen had been asked about the use of Al-Udeid at a press conference in Kuwait. He acknowledge that he had "discussed ways in which Al-Udeid may be used in the future, in a crisis situation" with the
Qataris, but no agreement could be reached. Obviously the new administration had more luck with the Qatari negotiations then
In June 2001 communications capabilities were completed at Al Udeid
According to his online biography
archived at a website for those who had served at Prum Air Station in Germany, Bill Goodman (USAF Ret) states that communications work began at Al Udeid sometime before June 2001. Towards the end of his long and distinguished military
career, Goodman says that while working for Air Force Central Command, he oversaw the installation of "communications capability"
at Al Udeid in the spring.
"In June of 1996 ...I accepted a position on the United States Central Command Air Forces Staff. I was a Project Manager
and Communications Systems Manager for Southwest Asia. I got to spend much time traveling throughout the Middle East. Most
significant, and my last official duty in the Air Force was that I was project manager for an initial communications
capability at Al Udeid Air Base in QATAR. I completed everything in June of 2001 and am pretty proud of what I helped
accomplish there and feel like I made a difference."
Around the same period, Alaswar Technology Group Co (aka.Al-Aswar Electronic) of Hawally Kuwait supplied and installed two "60 foot guy masts, microwave dishes and
allied works" in Qatar; one at the Saliyah Army Base, the other at Al-Udeid. Whether these communication dishes were part
of the work Bill Goodman was doing cannot be known. What is known is that the US military had personnel working at Al-Udied
long before the Sept 29, 2001 date always claimed to be the first time US servicemen set foot at the base.
In the Summer of 2001 construction contracts for the airbase began to go out for bids.
By the summer
of 2001 plans to expand Al Udeid into a large-scale installation were well under way. The bidding process for contracts to
do the work had all ready begun.
On August 9, 2001 bids went out for a "contractor owned-contractor operated" fueling station for both fighter and cargo planes as well as a diesel and automotive
gasoline facility for ground vehicles. Also in the bid was a fueling station for mobile aircraft refueling vehicles and a
commercial tank truck receiving facility.
COMMERCE BUSINESS DAILY ISSUE OF AUGUST 13, 2001 PSA #2913
X -- COCO SITE AT AL UDEID
August 9, 2001
Defense Logistics Agency,
Defense Energy Support
8725 John J. Kingman Road,
Fort Belvoir, VA, 22060-6222
October 5, 2001
COCO Site at AL Udeid, Qatar 1. An aircraft hydrant fuel system capable of servicing
both fighter and cargo aircrafts. 2. Approximately 72,000 barrels of JP8 storage capacity. 3. A ground products dispensing
facility for Diesel Fuel and Automotive Gasoline. 4. A truck fill stand capable for mobile aircraft refueling vehicles. 5.
A commercial tank truck receiving facility (i.e. tank truck off loading heads).
Loren Data Corp. 20010813/XSOL001.HTM (D-221 SN50U5O6)
(Contact info edited)
On Sept 7, 2001, according to company news releases, a contract was awarded GSCSGulf to build "administration facilities, a worker break room, ablution facilities, an outside storage area, a loading dock, FMSE
facility, and a generator run up." Later in the month GSCSGulf was awarded two contracts farmed out from DynCorp. One was
for a Fuel Receiving Point, the other for a Bulk Fuel Storage facility. "The projects (were) to be built under expedited construction
schedules in order to ensure fuel systems (were) in-place for incoming USAF tanker squadrons deployed as part of Operation
Although the press release from the 30th of September mentions "Operation Enduring Freedom", bidding
on the contract had to have been completed long before that date. As the release states GSCSGulf had won the contracts from
DynCorp, one must assume they competed for them.
GSCS Chosen to Build WRM Support Facilities
(7 September 2001) GSCS has won a contract to simultaneously
construct 10 minor construction projects in support of the US Air Force War Reserve Material (WRM) program at Al-Udeid Air
Base, Qatar. Individual projects include: administration facilities, worker break room, ablution facilities, outside storage
area, loading dock, FMSE facility, generator run up
DynCorp Selects GSCS to Construct USAF Fuel Systems
(30 September 2001) GSCS has
won two contracts with DynCorp International for the construction of a Fuel Receiving Point and a Bulk Fuel Storage Point,
both at Al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar. The projects are to be built under expedited construction schedules in order to ensure
fuel systems are in-place for incoming USAF tanker squadrons deployed as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
GSCSGulf was awarded two more contracts during this period. Both had been won competitively, hence bids had been taken.
Although it is impossible to know how the events of 9-11 affected the bid review and acceptance process, even under expedited
conditions it seems highly unlikely that any but the last contract would have been initiated after 9-11 given the DOD's usual
60 to 120 day turn around time.
GSCS Wins Tent-City Site Preparation Contract
(3 October 2001) GSCS has been competitively awarded
a contract for the emergency preparation of 61 acres of outside open area in support of a US Air Force tent city to be erected
at Al-Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Work includes: excavation, backfilling, soil compaction, trenching for electrical cables, application
of rock aggregate, construction of drainage ditches, access roads with culverts, parking areas, interior access corridors
and perimeter earth berms.
GSCS Wins RMS Contract for USAF Aircraft Parking Apron Materials
2001) Readiness Management Support L.C. has competitively awarded GSCS a contract for the rapid supply of base course aggregate
(42,184 metric tons) and sub-base aggregate (73,482 metric tons) in support of construction of a new US Air Force concrete
aircraft-parking apron at Al-Udeid Air Base, Qatar.
October 2001 satellite images showed extensive work had already been completed at Al-Udeid
Oct 2001 images of runways, structures and roads show an air base far more advanced than the official story would have us believe, revealing
that the base was certainly more than one month old. If this construction was part of the original Qatari project, or new
US additions cannot be known. What is known is that the base was not "a simple runway and a field of sand covered by two-dozen
tents and a few warehouses". Satellite images from Jan 2002, and the following June, show the rapidity with which base was completed. The clock on war with Iraq was running, and the military was in a race
to beat that clock.
THE ROAD TO WAR WAS PAVED WITH PROPAGANDA
As any chess player can attest, the game is most often won or lost in the first few moves. The Bush Administrations
plan for regime change in Iraq was much like a chess game, each piece needed to be in place before the gambit. Although the
grand schemes were hatched in the plush offices of right wing think tanks and corporate boardrooms, the heavy lifting was
done by simple pawns in the hot deserts of the Southwest Asia, long before the first rumbles of shock and awe were ever heard.
Able to use the smoldering embers of the World Trade Center as a canard to sell a "global" war on terror to not only the
American people, but to those who would fight it, the Administration was able to cover their tracks with a web of misinformation.
Al-Udeid was never intended as a frontline in a war against the terrorists of 9-11. It was planned as the frontline for something
far different; the "War on Terror", which was nothing more then a clever repackaging of the plans for Iraqi regime change
that began with the first Gulf War.
The level of misinformation can be illustrated with a simple story coming from the building of Al Udeid:
According to the official DOD history of Al Udeid, the first fatality of Operation Enduring Freedom was a civil engineer,
Master Sgt. Evander Earl "Andy" Andrews who died on Oct. 10, 2001 in a construction accident. To honor Andrews, the sprawling
tent city at Al-Udeid was christened "Camp Andy". The story of "Camp Andy" is oft told in press accounts about the base and
is a cornerstone in the façade of the official account.
Left out of the official story is the fact that since the existence of the base was classified at the
time, the military initially announced only that the fatality occurred somewhere in "Southwest Asia", and his parents waited
months to find out what had really happened to their son.
Just as Master Sgt. Andrews parents were not told
the truth about their sons' death in Qatar, the American people were never told about the planning and execution of the war
in Iraq. The history of the building of AL Udeid demonstrates that the Military planners were on a path to war long before
the events of that fateful September morning "changed everything".
This is the first in a three part series by the IRAQFACT working group on military activities prior to Congressional approval for war
Source (with comments):
CNN Special Report: War In Iraq
Forces: U.S. & Coalition/Air Force
Al-Udeid Air Base
overhead view of a tent city built for U.S. military personnel at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar. This area of the base was named
Camp Andy in memory of Master Sgt. Evander Earl "Andy" Andrews, a civil engineer who died on October 10, 2001, in a construction
Location: 20 miles south of Qatari capital, Doha.
About 3,300 U.S. military, mostly Army, plus pre-positioned equipment.
Units: 379th Air Expeditionary Wing;
44th, 340th and 379th Expeditionary Air Refueling squadrons; 434th and 911th Air Refueling Wings; and 93rd Air Control Wing,
according to military research group Globalsecurity.org.
Aircraft: Force includes KC-10 and KC-135 tankers,
B-52 bombers, EA-6 electronic warfare aircraft and E-8C Joint Stars reconnaissance planes.
Role: The $1.4 billion
base has the longest runway (2.8 miles) in the region and can accommodate up to 120 aircraft. Early in the Afghanistan campaign,
F-16 fighters and E-8C Joint Stars reconnaissance planes that monitor ground units were based here, along with refueling tankers.
NOTE: CNN's policy is to not report information that puts operational security at risk.
Sources: CNN, U.S. Defense
Department, GlobalSecurity.org, Periscope
CNN Special Report: War In Iraq