Saturday, May 29, 2021

Don’t Withdraw U.S. Forces from the Middle East; Russia, China to Expand Middle East Influence as US Withdraws Troops

Specialist Seaman Michael A. Colemanberry/US Navy
Don’t Withdraw U.S. Forces from the Middle East:
Their importance is invaluable, extending far beyond the region itself.
As Iranian-backed terrorist groups lob rockets into Israel and the Biden administration withdraws all U.S. forces from Afghanistan, those clamoring for all American forces to be brought back home from the greater Middle East need a dose of realism. No matter how much fatigue politicians may have with the region, or how urgent it is for the U.S. to enhance its military focus on a rising China, U.S. forces should remain in the Middle East.
Some so-called “realists” view the remaining U.S. military presence in the Persian Gulf as the legacy of a bygone era when oil interests and democracy-promotion “neocons” reigned supreme. Today’s most urgent security challenges, the argument goes, require our military attention move eastward to Asia.
But it would be unrealistic and unwise to design a national-security strategy that relocates our naval fleet from Bahrain, our air assets from Qatar and the UAE, or our ground forces from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Let’s not be naïve: No modern president has been able to pull out of the Middle East. The attacks of September 11 and Iran’s malign activities and nuclear-weapons program are the most recent security challenges that justify a military presence with both counterterrorism and conventional military capabilities. Whether it be Barack Obama seeking to “rebuild at home” or Donald Trump railing against “forever wars,” neither president could counter the logic of sustaining our military footprint. In fact, both presidents reaped rich rewards from forward-deployed military assets when ordering our most significant counterterrorism successes since 2001: the strikes against Osama Bin Laden and Qasem Soleimani.
Presidents rely on a bedrock of military strength in the region to protect allies and deter adversaries. Our regional presence helped blunt the impact of President Trump’s unfortunate decision to reduce U.S. forces in Syria and reassured allies and friends, most notably Israel, that the U.S. was not ceding the region to Iran or Russia. The same presence allowed President Trump to strike the Assad regime’s chemical-weapons stockpiles, thereby deterring a brutal dictator and upholding international norms. --->READ MORE HERE
Russia, China to expand Middle East influence as US withdraws troops:
Russia and China will likely work to expand their influence in the Middle East as the US withdraws its troops from the region, the head of US Central Command warns.
Speaking to a group of reporters traveling with him through the Middle East, Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, who leads US Central Command, made the comments while addressing a persistent question: what kind of support can be expected from the US going forward.
“The Middle East writ broadly is an area of intense competition between the great powers. And I think that as we adjust our posture in the region, Russia and China will be looking very closely to see if a vacuum opens that they can exploit,” McKenzie began.
“I think they see the United States shifting posture to look at other parts of the world and they sense there may be an opportunity there,” he continued. --->READ MORE HERE

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