Posted by: sean | February 24, 2007

Israel seeks permission to fly through Iraqi airspace

The AP reports on news from the Daily Telegraph that Israel wants American permission to fly over Iraq to get to Iran:

Israel opened negotiations to fly through U.S. controlled airspace in Iraq to carry out strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities, a British newspaper reported Saturday. Israel’s deputy defense minister denied the claim.

The Daily Telegraph newspaper quoted an unnamed Israeli defense official as saying the talks were aimed at planning for all scenarios, including any future decision to target Iran’s nuclear program.

Israeli bombers would need a corridor through U.S.-administered airspace in Iraq to carry out any strikes, the official was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

I know that Iraq doesn’t exactly have an air force and that the US controls Iraqi airspace, but does that really change the fact that, as a sovereign nation, Iraq should decide who is allowed to cross its airspace? Granted, there would be no way for Baghdad to enforce a denial of Israeli sorties in Iraqi airspace, but with all of the rhetoric we hear about Washington being in Iraq to help its sovereign government, you wouldn’t think that it would be asking too much for the US to enforce Iraqi decisions on this matter.

Unfortunately, we’ve seen all too many times how American respect for sovereignty is only valid so long as it’s in America’s interests to respect it.

Otherwise, I can’t say that I’m surprised that Israel is planning a contingency plan of attack on Iran in case no agreement can be made between the UN and Tehran. After all, much to France’s chagrin, Israel attacked the Iraqi nuclear reactor Osirak in 1981.

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