U.S. military to stay put in Qatar

Monday, April 21, 2003

The United States plans to maintain its military presence in Qatar after the war in Iraq.

Officials said U.S. Central Command will remain in the A-Sayliyah base in Qatar indefinitely. The base houses a command and control center that has directed the ground war in Iraq.

The base contains advanced telecommunication and logistical facilities and manages operations throughout the area of Central Command. The area comprises more than 25 countries in the Gulf region and the Middle East.

Last year, Qatar and the United States signed a military cooperation agreement that envisioned a long-term U.S. presence in the emirate, Middle East Newsline reported.

Central Command has reduced operations at A-Sayliyah. The command has ended its daily briefings to the foreign media and many journalists and television crews have left the base.

The U.S. Army completed a pre-positioning facility at A-Sayliyah in 2000 in a $10 million project. The facility, which contains storage facilities and warehouses, can equip an amored brigade and is regarded as the largest single U.S. pre-positioning site in the world.

The United States began construction of the base in 1996. A-Sayliyah also includes a housing complex for more than 300 officers.

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