why does the UN announce U-2 flights

There are reports today that Iraq protested (with fighter planes) when the UN sent two u-2 missions over Iraq at the same time. As part of the story, I saw this:

full story (NYT)

My question: Why on earth would the UN announce U-2 flights in advance? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose?

And a bonus question: Why were these U-2s low enough to be able to be intercepted? I thought that traditionally U-2s flew well above the range of fighter planes.

You are trying to figure out why Saddam wants conditions set on unconditional compliance or are you trying to figure out why the UN is accomodating these conditions?

The latter. And I’m not looking for any kind of political answer. My suspicion is that pre-scheduling and pre-announcing a U-2 flight defeats the essential purpose of that flight. Am I right about that? Or are the U-2s capabilities such – or the nature of the scheduling such (e.g., the day is revealed but nothing else) – that pre-announcing a flight is no biggie.

The UN announces when the planes will be flying so that they’re not ‘accidentally’ mistaken for hostile planes and shot down. One would hope that the lead time of the announcement does not give the Iraqis the time needed to hide any shennanigans.


“I’m going to tickle you, yes, I going to tickle you, here I come, here I come…” - Kofi Anan