Why is the US bolstering its military presence in the Middle East? – Middle East Monitor

An American nuclear guided-missile submarine – USS Florida – left the Mediterranean Sea through the Suez Canal and entered the Red Sea on Friday, joining the Bahrain-based US Fifth Fleet. A picture was released showing the submarine in the Suez Canal equipped with a dry shelter for the use of special operations underwater vehicles.

On 31 March, CNN reported the Pentagon saying that a squadron of A-10 attack aircraft are to be deploying to the region.

According to CNN, Pentagon Spokesman Phil Ventura said that the US ordered the George H W Bush Carrier Strike Group to remain in the region to support US forces in Central Command, which covers the Middle East.

The US claims that the deployment of its forces and bolstering its military existence in the Middle East come in response to a series of alleged Iranian attacks on American targets in the region.

On moving the USS Florida from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea, the Wall Street Journal reported the US military saying that was a public show of force in response to the recent attacks on American positions by Iran-aligned militants across the Middle East.

READ: Israel approves plans to build settlement roads in East Jerusalem

Meanwhile, the spokesman of the Pentagon said: “We are committed to supporting the defeat-ISIS [Daesh] mission alongside a global coalition in Syria and prepared to respond to a range of contingencies in the Middle East if needed.”

This is what the US says, but the situation on the ground is likely very different. The US is working hard to protect its interests in the region.

It has been widely known that Turkiye considers the YPG as the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a “terrorist” group. The US and the European Union also consider the PKK a terror group it a terrorist group, but in many cases Turkiye has proved US support for the YPG.

Washington has invested much money and military training in the YPG under the guise of fighting Daesh, but really it has helped the YPG create an independent entity along the border with Turkiye. Causing a headache for Turkiye.

The US military deployment in the region is also believed to be securing the theft of Syrian resources. Energy World reported that the US forces in one case “smuggled 92 tankers and trucks of stolen Syrian oil and Wheat from northeastern Syria to US bases in neighbouring Iraq.”

Xinhua news agency reported that oil tankers and wheat trucks were sent to Iraq through illegal border crossings set up by the US-led SDF, which is part of the YPG. Xinhua pointed out that the US forces created military bases under the pretext of fighting terrorists in oil-rich areas in northeastern and eastern Syria, “and started systematic stealing of Syrian oil.”

“The Syrian Oil Ministry said in August that the US forces were stealing 80 per cent of Syria’s oil production, causing direct and indirect losses of about $107.1 billion to Syria’s oil and gas sector,” Energy World said.

Director of the Yafa Study Centre in Cairo, Dr Refaat Ahmad, told me: “The US does not make anything except for the sake of Israel’s national security. Therefore, building up American power in the region is related to what is happening in Palestine. They believe that the internal dispute [in Israel] might lead to a civil war in light of the increasing coordination among the poles of resistance.”

He also said: “The increasing indications on Russia’s victory in Ukraine, and the potential impact on the region worries the United States. Therefore, I see there is a connection between the destructive American moves in the region and international developments.”

At the same time, he pointed out to the Chinese crisis with the United States, noting that this sheds the light on the dwindling American influence in the region. “Washington is afraid that the regimes in the Middle East might ignore their alliance with the United States and turn to Russia and its allies, whose influence on the region has already started to expand,” Ahmad concluded.

Iran is not a US enemy but a functional friend, whose function is to be a preeminent potential threat in the region. Under the pretext of deterring Iran and protecting its best friend,Washington keeps bolstering its military power in the region.

All the whole, the United States’ military presence means it is able to offer support to the dictatorships in the region.


The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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