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The Middle East, U.S. Bases Here, There, Everywhere….

September 23, 2019

US military bases galore…The map does not include the U.S. naval Armada in the Persian Gulf, Indian Ocean and Eastern Mediterranean Sea…

 

What follows below is an article in full from the on-line source “Axios” from two days ago (September 21, 2019). Its author, Rashaan Ayesh has done his homework. Check the links and you will see that most of the sources are from U.S. Congressional citations. Main point – the Middle East is up to its neck in U.S. military bases, including it appears in Saudi Arabia. Many if not most, are located in a circle surrounding Iran.

A number of decades ago I was amused that there was a debate in Finland, that Nordic wonderland, concerning how many lakes the country has. 80,000? 200,000? Might not interest others, but for Finns it was an important question and I would guess still is today. Key here – at what size precisely does a “pond” become a “lake?”

Its a similar puzzle when it comes to counting the number of U.S. bases, both in the Middle East and worldwide. At what size does a concentration of U.S. military personnel become “a base?” Then there is the new category of “mobile” or “temporary” U.S. bases, the kind becoming more common in Africa pockmarking that continent but also widespread in the Middle East. Probably most are secret because of Special Forces operations. Point here is simply to note that the size of the U.S. military presence is more than likely much larger than the approximately 60,000 personnel suggested below, and that Ayesh’s figures are, if anything, quite conservative.

For all that, besides the fact that the Houthi drone strike against Saudi oil fields exposed the (well known) Saudi inability to use U.S. purchased weapons, it reveals how ineffective this huge U.S. regional military presence has been, even in protecting U.S. interests. Asymmetrical warfare, advances in technology are neutralizing this overbearing, frankly gigantic U.S. military presence and showing how vulnerable it is.

Yemeni Houthi rebels, whose fighting ability has been grossly underestimated by Washington. The Trump Administration refuses to believe that they could have both engineered and then executed the drone strike on the Saudi oil fields that humiliated the Saudis, and showed the uselessness of U.S. patriot missiles and communications technology

A couple of additional points.

The U.S. military missions in a number of  obvious regional hot spots are missing, among them Israel, Syria, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Pakistan and Algeria. As Ayesh notes, “there are other U.S. bases in the region, but the locations aren’t disclosed for security purposes.”

Still, I am surprised that there are no statistics provided for Israel and Egypt given the exorbitant amount of military aid both countries receive. U.S. military and counter insurgency forces have been active in Pakistan for decades both targeting Afghanistan and Iran. Silence on that score too! Not a word about the U.S. military presence in Syria? Quite curious with several known U.S. bases in both the south of the country near the border with Jordan and in the northeast along the highway leading from Baghdad to Damascus, their presence already a major point of contention.

News of a U.S. base in the Tunisian Sinai desert and U.S. counter-insurgency elements “advising” (a term that is broadly applied) the Tunisian military fighting Islamists in Tunisia’s western regions have been reported in both the Western and Tunisian press (part of Africom).

While the numbers of U.S. military personnel in Algeria is a carefully guarded secret, the evolution of the U.S. Algerian security relationships since 2001 has been such that it would highly unusual if there is not some Special Forces presence there, especially in the Sahara. For a while there was a U.S. base at Tamanrasset, but at least from my information, it closed down.

So for as interesting and well documented as these figures are, they are incomplete and show only a part of the picture.

Finally look specifically at the troop numbers for Saudi Arabia. Found it interesting that even prior to the Houthi drone attack on the Saudi oil fields that Washington had announced (through AP) that it had intended to send 500 troops to the kingdom “to provide Saudi forces with assistance in Yemen.” Makes me wonder if the announcement that troops were being sent to Saudi after the drone attack is essentially the same number that was headed there prior to it.

 

_____________________

Axios

Where U.S. troops and military assets are deployed in the Middle East

Rashaan Ayesh – September 21, 2019

The U.S. has maintained a costly presence in the Middle East for decades, with at least 60,000 troops stationed around the region, according to United States Central Command.

Driving the news: The Department of Defense announced Friday it will send more American troops to Saudi Arabia following mid-September attacks on the world’s largest oil processing facility at Abqaiq and a major oil field at Khurais. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Saudi officials claim Iran was responsible for the attack, despite the nation’s denial.

By the numbers: The U.S. has nearly 800 military bases around the world, and U.S. Central Command says there are between 60,000 and 70,000 U.S. troops in the Middle East.

Afghanistan: 14,000 U.S. troops in the country, plus 8,000 NATO soldiers.
Bahrain: The small Gulf island-nation is home to more than 7,000 American troops, mostly Navy. Bahrain is “pivotal to maintaining Persian Gulf security” given its location.
Iraq: About 5,200 U.S. troops are in Iraq as of January, per a spokesperson from the Department of Defense. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said American troops are presently deployed in Iraq to help combat ISIS.
Jordan: Approximately 2,795 U.S. troops support operations to defeat ISIS and promote regional stability.
Kuwait: Over 13,000 American troops are stationed in Kuwait, which also includes the U.S. Army Central’s forward headquarters. The Kuwaiti government often supports the U.S. to counter Iran, and is part of the Saudi-led coalition to combat Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. The only other countries that host more U.S. troops are Germany, Japan and South Korea.
Oman: A few hundred U.S. soldiers are in Oman, near the Strait of Hormuz. The country has hosted U.S. operations since 1980, and has assisted the U.S. in combating ISIS.
Qatar: There are as many as 13,000 American troops in Qatar, with future plans to expand the base. The Gulf nation supports U.S. efforts to combat regional terrorism.
Saudi Arabia: The U.S. pulled most of its soldiers out following the Sept. 11 attacks. However, there were plans to send more than 500 troops there as of early September following increasing tensions with Iran and to provide Saudi forces with assistance in Yemen, per AP. The Trump administration announced plans to send hundred more following attacks on Saudi oil facilities on Sept. 14.
Syria: Approximately 2,000 U.S. service members are in Syria, according to a spokesperson from the DOD. Syria is still in the midst of a civil war that’s seen multiple countries get involved — including the U.S., Russia and Turkey.
Turkey: The number of American troops in Turkey isn’t clear, but the country’s strategic location makes it valuable for transporting arms and people.
United Arab Emirates: 5,000 U.S. troops are stationed in the UAE, the tiny nation situated near to the Strait of Hormuz.

Where U.S. troops are located:

Oman: Port of Salalah and Port of Duqm
Turkey: Izmir and Incirlik Air Bases
United Arab Emirates: Al Dhafra Air Base, Port of Jebel Ali and Fujairah Naval Base
Kuwait: Camp Buehring, Ali al-Salem Air Base, Camp Arifjan, Camp Patriot and Shaykh Ahmad al-Jabir Air Base
Bahrain: Naval Support-Bahrain, Shaykh Isa Air Base and Khalifa Ibn Salman Port Qatar: Al Udeid Air Base and Camp As Sayliyah

Yes, but: There are other U.S. bases in the region, but the locations aren’t disclosed for security purposes.

The big picture: Even with all of these troops in the Middle East, the U.S. is still prepared to send more if tensions with Iran continue to escalate after the U.S. exited the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal.

□ In May, 2019, the White House announced it would deploy 1,500 additional troops to Iran and the surrounding area in May to “enhance protection of forces already in the region.”
□ The Pentagon also presented a plan to White House national security officials to send up to 120,000 troops to the Middle East if Iran attacked American forces.

Yemeni Houthi rebels, whose fighting ability has been grossly underestimated by Washington. The Trump Administration refuses to believe that they could have both engineered and then executed the drone strike on the Saudi oil fields that humiliated the Saudis, and showed the uselessness of U.S. patriot missiles and communications technology.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. William Watts permalink
    September 23, 2019 2:40 pm

    Rob,

    On the map graphic, which I’ve seen in several places, do each of the flags represent bases or just a military presence? Thanks.

    On Monday, September 23, 2019, View from the Left Bank: Rob Prince’s Blog wrote:

    > Rob Prince posted: ” What follows below is an article, in full from the > on-line source “Axios” from two days ago (September 21, 2019). Its author, > Rashaan Ayesh has done his homework. Check the links and you will see that > most of the sources are from U.S. Congressional ci” >

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