The US Occupied Middle East

The US Occupied Middle East

One of the most discussed topics in Turkey was America’s plan to jointly deploy a military contingent with 7 countries in the territories east of the Euphrates.

Recently the US, with the support of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, launched multinational military forces in Syria. Seven states, including the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Egypt and Jordan, have decided to deploy their militaries east of the Euphrates.

A few months ago, US President Donald Trump announced his intention to “completely withdraw the American military contingent from Syrian territory.” Apparently, this is not only not a question of leaving Syria, as there is an active attempt to deploy additional forces together with seven countries.

Turkey, in turn, opposes this initiative, rightly considering it a threat to its own security.

Later we learned that the United States, under the pretext of an attack on tankers in the Gulf of Oman, has decided to send an additional 1,000 troops to the Middle East.

46 US military bases are stationed in 11 countries in the Middle East

After US authorities decided to send an additional military contingent to the Middle East under the pretext of an incident in the Gulf of Oman, world attention was focused on Washington’s military presence in the region. It turned out that a total of 46 US military bases were deployed in 11 Middle Eastern countries.

According to the information Anadolu agency, among the US bases located in the region, which, since the First Gulf War in 1991, have a wide network of military facilities in the Middle East, are the Al-Udeid air force base in Qatar, the 5th Fleet Bahrain, the 3rd headquarters of the US Armed Forces in Kuwait (where more than 15,000 troops are stationed) and the Ez-Zafra Air Force Base in the UAE with an estimated contingent of 5,000 troops.

In addition, American special forces are stationed in Yemen, and in other countries like Oman, the United States has the right to use airfields and ports if necessary. In Syria, where the civil war has been ongoing for the past 9 years, there are 18 American bases.

Despite the fact that the exact number of US military in the Middle East is unknown, according to the Pentagon, about 54,000 American soldiers are stationed in the Middle East. The list of countries in the region in which the US military contingent is present is as follows: Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Israel, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Oman.

The largest US military base in the region is considered to be the Al Udeid Air Force Base in Qatar. It was built in 1996 for $ 1 billion.

On the Al Udeid base, located 30 km south-west of Doha, the capital of Qatar, more than 10 thousand soldiers, mainly of the air force, are stationed. In the Qatari region of As Sayliyah, there is another US base, where the general military equipment and equipment of the US Armed Forces are stored.

The 5th Fleet of the US Navy is stationed in Bahrain

Bahrain hosts the largest fleet in the Middle East – the 5th Fleet of the United States Navy. In addition, the US military in Bahrain uses Isa Air Base (formerly Shaikh Isa Air Base) and Muharraq airfield for their purposes. In total, there are more than 7,000 soldiers on the territory of the American military bases in Bahrain.

The 5th Fleet, whose operational zone covers the Persian and Oman gulfs, the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, covers a water area of ​​almost 2.5 million square kilometers.

Three strategic points in the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait are also part of the control zone of the 5th Fleet. According to available information, more than 4 thousand soldiers, aircraft carriers, submarines and a large number of military aircraft are deployed at the base in the capital of Bahrain, Manama.

It is feared that if tensions in the Persian Gulf continue to escalate, the 5th Fleet of the US Navy stationed in Bahrain will enter into a direct clash with Iran.

9 US bases operate in Iraq

On the territory of Iraq, which was occupied by the United States in March 2003 in order to overthrow the regime of Saddam Hussein, there are 9 American bases. Despite the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq in 2011, they retained their military presence in the country at the expense of these bases.

At present, there are about 5,000 soldiers in Iraqi territory. Among the US bases in Iraq, the Harir airfield in Erbil and the base at Erbil International Airport are also listed.

In Egypt, the American base is located in the west of Cairo.

In Jordan, the US military uses the Muwaffaq Salti Air Base.

In the south of Israel, which is the closest ally of the United States in the region, there are 2 US military bases. It also houses the US defense systems aimed at repelling missile strikes.

In the north and northeast of Syria, the United States, in conjunction with the PKK / Kurdish self-defense detachments of the YPG, control a large territory, which houses 18 bases and about 2,000 servicemen.

Kuwait’s largest military contingent

Kuwait is the country with the largest US military contingent in the Gulf. Between the United States and Kuwait, the Treaty on Defense Cooperation concluded during the First Gulf War in 1991, continues to operate.

Due to this, Kuwait has the status of “US ally outside NATO”, and the US has the right to maintain a large military contingent in the country.

The total number of US military at 5 bases in the camp of Arifjan, at the Ali Air Force base of Ali Al Salem, Ahmed al-Jaber air force base, Buehring camp and Patriot camp, exceeds 15,000.

The exact size of the US military contingent on the Omani air force bases Masirah, Tumrait and El-Musenna are unknown.

Such ports of Oman as Duqm and Salalah are also actively used by the US Navy.

Nurettin Kurt
Journalist, specialist in criminology, recipient of the EU Prize for Journalism and Turkish Journalists' Association’s press freedom award , and the author of “Journalist-wolf in the stressful triangle - Incident-police proceedings-lawsuit”,  Sedat Simavi Journalism Award - 2007 (Turkey) 32 yıllık gazeteci, polis ve adliye uzmanı, Sedat Simavi Gazetecilik Ödülü başta olmak üzere, 2011 ve 2017 TGC Başarı ödülü, Avrupa Birliği Araştırmacı Gazetecilik Ödülü, iki kez Çağdaş Gazeteciler Derneği haber ödülü, yedi kez Barış Selçuk Gazetecilik Ödülü ile birlikte çeşitli Sivil Toplum Kuruluşları tarafından ödüle layık görülmüştür, ‘Olay-Polis-Adliye- Gerilim Üçgeninde Kurt Gazeteci’ isimli kitabın yazarıdır

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January 2023