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News > U.S.

US Military Buildup in Mideast Compromises Regional Security

  • U.S. troops in a Middle East country, 2023.

    U.S. troops in a Middle East country, 2023. | Photo: X/ @DD_Geopolitics

Published 20 August 2023 (21 hours 21 minutes ago)
Opinion

Earlier this month, the U.S. Navy's Bataan Amphibious Ready Group and the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit arrived in the Middle East.

The United States has been building up its military presence recently in the Middle East, particularly the Gulf, on the pretext of protecting ships from Iran's "harassment," but analysts warned that the U.S. move would compromise regional security.

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Earlier this month, Pentagon Press Secretary Pat Ryder said the U.S. Navy's Bataan Amphibious Ready Group and the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit had arrived in the Middle East as part of a pre-announced deployment to support deterrence efforts against Iran in the Strait of Hormuz and elsewhere.

In several posts on X, previously known as Twitter, the U.S. Central Command announced on Wednesday that the U.S. Air Forces' aircraft had operated in the regional waters.

In response, the navy of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) in early August staged large-scale military drills in the country's southern waters as a display of its troops' preparedness to ensure the security of the Iranian waters.

Iranian authorities have repeatedly rejected U.S. accusations against Iran as "baseless," stressing that the region's security can be ensured only through cooperation among regional countries without the interference of transregional powers.

RISKY REPERCUSSIONS

Analysts maintain that the U.S. military's increased presence in the Gulf is set to raise tensions in the Middle East rather than ensure its security and peace.

Koroush Ahmadi, a former Iranian diplomat based in Tehran, warned in a recent interview with the Iranian news website Entekhab that the U.S. move would increase the risk of "wanted and unwanted" clashes in the region as there is no consensus between the two sides on avoiding conflicts.

Sina Toossi, a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy, a Washington-based think tank, was quoted by Qatar's Al Jazeera TV as saying last week that U.S. President Joe Biden is committed to continuing his predecessor Donald Trump's "failed policy" of economic warfare and escalation against Iran, which could lead to a dangerous "cycle of mutual escalation."

Emad Abshenas, a Tehran-based researcher, said in an analysis published on Sunday, said that the U.S. military buildup in the region is in fact aiming at reminding Arab countries of its presence and taking control of their exports, as the Arab states are selling oil in return for currencies other than the dollar.

Abshenas said the Americans also seek to raise the cost of energy transportation to and from the region and hold the regional countries to ransom through drone attack threats, for which Washington may put the blame on Iran or naval mines. He added that regional Arab states, disappointed with the U.S. ability to ensure their security, have sought to find new allies.

BEHIND-THE-SCENES MOTIVE

China's growing influence in the region has motivated the U.S. to maintain its presence in the region, former Iranian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Seyed Mohammad Hosseini said in an article published by the Iranian Diplomacy website on Thursday.

China's greater participation in the Middle East's affairs through peaceful approaches and mediation to end regional conflicts has led to Washington's fear that Beijing seeks to replace it as the security guarantor in the region, said an analysis published on the Eco Iran news website.

An article published on the Pars Today news website also said that one of the main motives behind the U.S. increased military presence in the Middle East is countering China's rising clout in the region.

The Pars Today article added that Arab governments' growing inclination toward forging closer ties with China, Russia and Iran has also prompted the U.S. to reconsider its retreat strategy in the region. 

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