Assessing the Emerging US Military Basing Posture in the Mideast
Air War College -Air University Maxwell AFB United States
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Throughout much of the 20th Century, American presence in the Mideast was limited to a small naval presence in the Arabian Gulf. Following Operation Desert Storm, however, the United States initiated an interventionist basing posture in the Mideast which has continued to this day. This posture has fostered a strategy of containment, protection and deterrence against regional adversaries and promoted stability among regional allies. Nonetheless, the strategic limitations of the policy became apparent when Al Qaeda used US Mideast presence as a political justification to conduct terror attacks against the West. The resulting prolonged wars have encouraged the US to build an expansive array of more than 20 regional air bases, which are unlikely to be economically or politically sustainable in the long term. Moreover, while the current security situation mandates a robust basing posture, it remains to be seen what degree of US presence will remain in the region or precisely what the US will choose as its enduring regional bases.