America is reported to have been told it cannot use Wideawake Airfield on Ascension to prepare for military action against Iran.
News media around the world have picked up on the story, though The Independent in London reports that Downing Street has refused to be drawn on the affair.
The Guardian says US diplomats lobbied to be allowed to use its bases on Ascension and Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean – both UK territories – as well as British bases in Cyprus.
It says America has been building up contingency plans for military action, in case diplomats fail to resolve a stand-off with Iran over nuclear weapons.
Ministers are reported to have told US officials that it would be illegal for Britain to help with what might lead to a pre-emptive attack.
The Guardian reports advice that it would breach international law because Iran has consistently denied it plans to develop a nuclear weapon, and so does not represent “a clear and present threat”.
Citing Whitehall sources, it says the US had not made a formal request, but discussions had been taking place “to scope out the British position”.
The paper quotes one source as saying America had been surprised to that Britain was reluctant to pledge support: “They’d expect resistance from senior Liberal Democrats, but it’s Tories as well. That has come as a bit of a surprise.”
Even so, the Royal Navy has a large presence in the Gulf.
After ten years of lies, mismanagement and never-ending wars, my suspicion is that most Americans would not support a war with Iran. Oh sure, there are some who would, but they are a minority. The trouble is, they are a rather loud (and/or unenlightened) minority. Trust me…..most of us in the US are very, very tired of war at this point. As such, the refusal to allow Ascension as a stop-over point, or base, doesn’t matter all that much, as it’s a war that likely will never happen.
– Stephen Meyers, via Facebook