by Editor (Editorials, Crescent International Vol. 53, No. 12, Rajab, 1445)
The Washington warlords maintain nearly 800 military bases worldwide. These cost billions of dollars annually. Does that bother the warlords? Not at all. They love wars because these bring huge profits for the armaments industries in which they are heavily invested.
America’s appetite for war is well established. It does not matter if the US has not won a single war since the Second World War despite roping in many countries to join its wars of aggression against innocent people.
West Asia bristles with US military bases that are a major source of instability in the region. Not all military bases have been established with the consent of the governments. Syria and Iraq immediately come to mind.
Let us list the countries where the US has military bases. These consist of navy, air force and army personnel and equipment. Oman, the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Djibouti, Lebanon and Turkiye all have US bases.
Until August 2021, the US also maintained several military bases in Afghanistan and Pakistan. After their defeat at the hands of the Taliban, the Americans fled leaving behind a vast stockpile of weapons. Some estimates put the price of weapons left in Afghanistan at $80 billion. That is a lot of weapons.
In most countries, the US has multiple bases: navy, air force and army. This last category needs elaboration. American ground troops comprise the marines, special forces and infantry units. Barring a few exceptions, the vast majority of countries that host US military bases have illegitimate regimes. Often, the Americans claim to be protecting those regimes or training their forces.
Who are they protecting them from is unclear. As far as training local forces, the Americans have obviously not done a good job. Take the cases of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, the UAE or Jordan. Their forces are only good at suppressing their own people or fighting other Muslims. Not one of these regimes has been able to stand up to the zionist war criminals that are perpetrating a genocide in Palestine.
The US also claims to have its troops in the region to protect “American interests”. This is a vague expression and can range from stealing the region’s natural resources—oil and gas—to destabilizing governments that want to protect their freedom and independence.
The Islamic Republic of Iran, Syria and Iraq (to some extent) fall under this category. Imran Khan’s government in Pakistan was overthrown because he wanted to maintain an independent foreign policy.
And then there is the illegitimate entity thrust like a dagger into the heartland of Islam: the zionist state of Israel. It is imperialism’s outpost in the region. The US has stockpiled huge quantities of weapons in Israel that are used both by the zionist entity (as in the ongoing genocide of the Palestinians today) as well as for use against other countries.
Let us list the approximate strength of US forces in each country.
Saudi Arabia: 2,700;
The UAE: 3,500;
Syria: 900 (although most sources put the number at more than 2,000);
Oman: Several hundred;
Israel: several hundred, perhaps thousands and a military base.
Even based on these “official figures”, they add up to 45,400 troops. Since the start of Israel’s war on Gaza, the US has rushed thousands of additional troops to Israel. They are involved in attacking Hamas’s Al-Qassam Brigades. These are in addition to the thousands of Jewish citizens from the US, Canada, Britain, Australia etc that have rushed to Israel to participate in the genocide of Palestinians.
The US has also deployed several naval ships to the Mediterranean as well as the Red Sea in support of Israel. Those include two aircraft carrier groups with roughly 7,500 personnel each and two amphibious navy ships carrying thousands of marines. Several thousand more US troops are on heightened alert and can be dispatched to the region at short notice.
American troops’ presence in Kuwait, Bahrain, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Jordan predates by many decades the US’s first war on Iraq in January 1991. The Iraqi dictator Saddam Husain was lured by the Americans into attacking Kuwait and then more than half a million troops were rushed to the region to destroy Iraq.
The Americans perpetrated a genocide of not only Iraqi troops but also innocent civilians. The latter were victimized twice: for decades they suffered Saddam’s brutality and then the Americans came to slaughter them again under the pretext of liberating them.
The US used depleted uranium shells in Iraq causing tens of thousands of deaths from contamination. Decades later, many Iraqi mothers still give birth to badly deformed babies. Iraq’s water and soil have also been poisoned.
The US and a number of other countries sent their troops to evict Iraqi forces from Kuwait. The Americans never left Kuwait. Instead, they expanded their presence opening new bases wherever they could.
The US Fifth fleet in Bahrain occupies the former British naval base after Bahrain was ‘granted’ independence in 1971. Its role is not difficult to determine: bullying and destabilizing countries in the region if they do not follow American orders. The US Fifth fleet is essentially an anti-Iran naval armada.
In neighbouring Qatar, the Americans occupy the air base at Al-Udeid. Built by Qatar at a cost of $1 billion in 1996, the Americans took it over in September 2001 to launch operations against Afghanistan. It also serves as the regional base of the US Central Command. The US drone that attacked and killed Iran’s top commander, General Qassem Solaimani on January 3, 2020 had flown from this base.
In Saudi Arabia, the Americans use several air bases including Prince Khaled air base, Prince Sultan air base and Prince Fahd air base. These were built by the Saudis at the cost of billions of dollars but are now being used by the Americans to attack Muslim countries.
The US also has bases in the UAE, Oman and Jordan. Some of them are used by the naval or air forces of other countries as well such as Britain and Australia.
Given their role, the American forces’ role can be summarized as follows:
To destabilize and attack countries that refuse to surrender to US demands, and secondly, to protect the illegitimate zionist entity in Occupied Palestine. Some countries are beginning to challenge US hegemony. These include in addition to Iran, also Syria and Iraq.