US slashes troops, missile batteries from Middle East

Isa Khan

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The Pentagon confirmed Friday that the US is reducing by eight the number of Patriot antimissile batteries in the Middle East. The agency confirmed a report in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) that said Saudi Arabia would see the greatest reduction in US military support, while Kuwait, Iraq and Jordan would also be impacted.

The WSJ said the US plans to pull a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, jet fighter squadrons, and accelerate the withdrawal of US troops from the Kingdom, in addition to the withdrawal of the antimissile batteries.

Retooling US forces for an era of great power competition​

The decision reflects both Washington's reposturing of US forces to counter Russia and China as well as shifting sands in the Middle East. As the curtain draws on the war in Afghanistan, competition with growing world powers is seen by US officials as the key driver of future military operations. For nearly two decades of the global war on terror, counterinsurgency dominated.

In those two decades and even beginning under the Obama administration which sought a "pivot to Asia," the rise of China has presented myriad challenges as it is now America's main rival in national security terms. The Biden administration is also hopeful of a more manageable relationship with Russia. Ideally, defense and national security officials would spend less time concerned with cyber-attacks and Russian troop build-ups.

However, US President Joe Biden made clear in his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva this week that those issues persist.

The new defense and diplomatic makeup of the Middle East​

While Iran remains the US's chief adversary, Trump-era maximum pressure tactics have shifted towards maximum diplomacy under the Biden administration.

Saudi Arabia has also strengthened its own defenses during Yemen's ongoing and devastating war and from attacks by Iran-backed Houthi militias.

The Pentagon began sending Patriot antimissile batteries and the THAAD system to Saudi Arabia after an attack on a Saudi oil facility carried out by Iranian drones in September 2019.

During a June 2 phone call, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin informed Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of the changes as most of the hardware being removed is currently located in Saudi Arabia.

In Iraq, the US moved Patriot antimissile systems into the country in January 2020. That month, Iran fired missiles at US troops at the Al Asad base in retaliation for the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in a targeted US drone strike at Baghdad International Airport.

Last year, the US reduced the number of troops in Iraq by half from 5,000 to 2,500. Earlier this month, the Pentagon began pulling more troops from Iraq.

Iraqi security forces are better trained and equipped and have taken on a greater role and responsibility for security in the country.

While threats remain, a new era of defense is here​

Pentagon spokesperson Commander Jessica McNulty told AFP some of the hardware would be relocated, although she would not say where to, while some is returning to the US for maintenance and refurbishment.

In an email to AFP, McNulty said, "The Defense Department maintains tens of thousands of forces in the Middle East, representing some of our most advanced air power and maritime capabilities, in support of US national interests and our regional partnerships". One senior defense official told the WSJ, that the reallocation of resources is best viewed as a return to a more traditional level of defense for the region.

"What you're seeing is a realignment of resources with strategic priorities," a senior defense official said, adding, "there is still substantial presence, substantial posture in the region".

The Biden administration's much-anticipated defense posture review is due out next month.

 

Cabatli_TR

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What is going on between Saudi Arabia and the USA? Trump stressed that the US was protecting them, but now the Biden administration is withdrawing the Patriot and THAAD batteries. Will Saudi Arabia and UAE be defenseless against likely Iranian proxy strike ? In recent months, As a side note, Greece had agreed to deploy Greek Patriot missiles to the soil of KSA.
 

xizhimen

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US is abandoning Saudis , it abandoned many of its so called "allies" before and KSA won't be the last, also US today doesn't have the money and resources it used to have which enabled US to project power around the world, withdrawing is just a natural process for a fast declining US.
 

Saithan

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I think thawing the ice between UAE and Israel will enable Israel to create Iron Dome in UAE seeing this KSA will have to make peace because US is no longer there to protect them. So if Turkey develops her layered AD system in time. KSA will have to backtrack on a lot they’ve made against Turkey.
 

BordoEnes

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US is abandoning Saudis , it abandoned many of its so called "allies" before and KSA won't be the last, also US today doesn't have the money and resources it used to have which enabled US to project power around the world, withdrawing is just a natural process for a fast declining US.

The US has just as much money and resources, if not more, then it did decades ago. Alliances are based on mutual interests, and if the interest of one party doesn't match with the other then it will inevitably fall apart, its just that simple. They are withdrawing more and more from the Middle-East because their interest are simply shifting towards the Pacific and countering China.

This is great news for the region. The resulting power vacuum will result in a more organic power balance in the Middle-East where the US is no longer a factor. Their retarded arbitrary policies have caused enough destruction and human suffering as it is. However this by no means means that China is any different, you are just as awful, if not more then the US.
 

TR_123456

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What is going on between Saudi Arabia and the USA? Trump stressed that the US was protecting them, but now the Biden administration is withdrawing the Patriot and THAAD batteries. Will Saudi Arabia and UAE be defenseless against likely Iranian proxy strike ? In recent months, As a side note, Greece had agreed to deploy Greek Patriot missiles to the soil of KSA.
Maybe its a trap,give Iran a window to try it and then use the GCC together with Israel to send Iran back to the 80's or even cause regime change?
Who knows?
 

xizhimen

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The US has just as much money and resources, if not more, then it did decades ago. Alliances are based on mutual interests, and if the interest of one party doesn't match with the other then it will inevitably fall apart, its just that simple. They are withdrawing more and more from the Middle-East because their interest are simply shifting towards the Pacific and countering China.

This is great news for the region. The resulting power vacuum will result in a more organic power balance in the Middle-East where the US is no longer a factor. Their retarded arbitrary policies have caused enough destruction and human suffering as it is. However this by no means means that China is any different, you are just as awful, if not more then the US.
US economy will be overtaken by China before the end of this decade if not sooner, I don't see how it still has the undisputedly dominant power, money and resources in the world at its disposal to hijack the humanity, US relative decline is something even Americans admit, the latest US poll shows for the first time in the history that over half of Americans believe now China, not US is the leading economy in the world. US now is in hysteric and panic mode, pulling all stops trying to counter China, but no one in their sane mind believes it can succeed.
As for China is as awful as US, we'll wait and see, at least China till now hasn't fired a single bullet to a foreign country for almost 40 years (this is the main reason that US repeatedly ridicules China of having no real combat experience) and during the same period of time, no one knows how many lives were lost around the world due to US invasion, bombing and proxy wars.
 
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