Leaving Iraq, U.S. Plans to Send Troops to Kuwait, Drones to Turkey and Texas
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Predator B drone...headed to Texas?
Withdrawing from Iraq has meant new missions for U.S. combat units and military hardware.
American commanders are negotiating with Kuwait to allow about 3,500 troops to redeploy to the Gulf emirate. The country already hosts 20,000 U.S. service personnel, although defense officials contend the additional soldiers won’t necessarily boost the total in Kuwait because some in-country may get shipped elsewhere.
Meanwhile, the U.S. is working on finding new homes for some of its Predator drones.
At least four of the unmanned aircraft were shipped to Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey in October. The decision came before Turkish leaders asked Washington to sell it drones for use against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Other drones may wind up in Texas, where some local officials want to bolster anti-drug and anti-illegal immigration campaigns along the border with Mexico.
The Send Equipment for National Defense Act would require that 10% of certain equipment returned from Iraq be made available to state and local agencies for border-security operations. This includes MQ-9 Reaper drones (a.k.a. “Predator B”). The bill was introduced by Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas).
Mayor John Cook of El Paso doesn’t like the idea of sending military hardware to his state, saying such a move would send the wrong signal and possibly damage the lucrative economic trade between his city and Ciudad Juarez across the border.
2 Mayors, 2 Views on Using War-Zone Equipment Along Border (by Julian Aguilar, New York Times)
U.S. Negotiating Combat Troop Boost in Kuwait (Agence France-Presse)
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