Murphy's Law: French Fighters Over Iceland


April 25,2008: French jet fighters are replacing American ones in defending Icelandic air space. The U.S. has had troops stationed in Iceland since World War II. That's because Iceland has no armed forces of its own, and occupies a strategic position in the north Atlantic. During the Cold War, U.S. warplanes regularly intercepted Russian maritime patrol aircraft that strayed into Icelandic airspace. But two years ago, the U.S. Air Force withdrew its fighters. Right about then, Russian long-range patrol aircraft, which had been absent since the Cold War ended in 1991, returned. Since then, Russian aircraft have wandered into Icelandic air space 13 times. So the Icelandic Defense Minister (actually the Minister of Justice, who also takes care of military matters), asked NATO for some help. Four French Mirage 2000 interceptors are off to Iceland. Other NATO countries will provide interceptors on a rotating basis.


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