The United States is transferring 4.2 thousand troops to Kuwait due to rising tensions in the Middle East. This was reported by the Associated Press, citing a representative of the US Department of Defense, Lt. Col. Mike Burns.
It is noted that 3.5 thousand soldiers of the 82nd Airborne Division, which is housed in Fort Bragg (North Carolina), will soon join the 700 US troops sent to Kuwait earlier this week.
According to the agency, the Pentagon’s move was caused by “growing tensions following the assassination of a high-ranking Iranian general by the United States.”
Recall, Washington launched a missile strike on the night of January 3 in the vicinity of Baghdad Airport. As a result of the attack, the Iranian General of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Kassem Suleimani, as well as the deputy head of the Iraqi Shiite militia Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and about ten people who accompanied them, were killed.
The Pentagon confirmed this information, saying that the decision to attack was personally made by the head of the White House. As noted in the US Department of Defense, such a move was aimed at “curbing future Iranian attack plans,” since Washington considers the IRGC a terrorist organization. At the same time, the Pentagon justified its actions by the need for extraterritorial protection of American personnel.
US authorities accuse General Suleimani of involvement in attacks on the military and diplomats of the United States. Washington believes that it is he who is behind the organization of the unrest in Baghdad, which led to attacks on the US embassy, but the White House has not yet brought any evidence of the guilt of an Iranian general. Tehran categorically rejects such claims.
- US Department of Defense Building
- © SAUL LOEB
Relations between Iran and the United States escalated in September after an unmanned aerial vehicle attack on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, resulting in a nearly halved oil production in the kingdom. It was possible to return to previous indicators only after a couple of weeks. Washington blamed Tehran for these attacks, even though the Hussite Yemeni rebels claimed responsibility for them. According to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Iran "launched an unprecedented attack on world energy supplies." The head of the Ministry of Defense of the Islamic Republic Amir Khatami, in turn, rejected all the charges.
Experts recall that Kuwait, where the United States is now deploying an additional military contingent, borders on Saudi Arabia and Iraq. In addition, this country has a maritime border with Iran. According to HSE professor Dmitry Evstafiev, Donald Trump “pulls the US military closer to Iran” to increase pressure on him. According to the analyst, the Pentagon pursued the same goal, sending a soldier to Saudi Arabia in November. This was stated in a letter published on the White House website by Donald Trump to the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States Congress Nancy Pelosi.
“The first part of these troops has already arrived in Saudi Arabia, the remaining forces will be deployed in the next few weeks. Together with an additional contingent, the total number of US forces in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will be approximately 3 thousand people, ”the head of the White House said in a statement.
In addition, Trump indicated that missile and radar systems, an air expeditionary wing, and two fighter squadrons would be sent to the kingdom. The US president explained all these measures with the intention to oppose Iran.
“In order to reassure our partners, deter further provocations on the part of Iran and strengthen regional defensive potential, it was ordered to deploy an additional contingent of the US Armed Forces in the Middle East ... They will remain in Saudi Arabia until their presence ceases to be necessary for the indicated above goals, ”the letter emphasized.
The Russian Foreign Ministry noted then that the strengthening of the military presence in the SA leads to "escalating tensions" in the Persian Gulf region. This was stated by Deputy Head of the Russian Foreign Ministry Mikhail Bogdanov.
Analysts also recall that the US is in no hurry to withdraw its troops from Syria. According to Konstantin Blokhin, an expert at the Center for Security Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the general tendency of the latest steps of the White House is “an increase in the military contingent in the Middle East”.
- Donald Trump at an American military base in Iraq
- © Jonathan Ernst
It is worth noting that in mid-December, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, in an interview with the Chinese television channel Phoenix, said that several thousand US military, including employees of private military companies, were in Syria. At the same time, the American side previously stated that only about 500 troops are present in the eastern part of the SAR. According to Kenneth Mackenzie, the head of the Central Command of the US Armed Forces, in the near future it is expected that they will resume the operation of the United States against the "Islamic State" *.
“Clear the space”
According to Dmitry Yevstafyev, it was no coincidence that Washington chose Kuwait to build up its military contingent in the region. According to him, “this is a completely logical point for the concentration of forces and means in the event of some military option” against Iran.
“The American side chose Kuwait to deploy its military, because it is easiest to evacuate from this country. In addition, this is a rather interesting place from the point of view of logistics, from here it is quite easy to transfer troops to Iraq and Saudi Arabia, as well as direct weapons to some coastal areas of Iran, ”Yevstafyev said in a conversation with RT.
However, from the point of view of Konstantin Blokhin, the main motive of the Americans in this case is still political pressure on Iran. According to him, Trump thus expects to persuade the leadership of Iran to negotiate.
“Trump is trying to demonstrate that he is the Supreme Commander. The American leader wants to show: although the positions of Russia, Turkey, Iran and Syria have strengthened in the Middle East, the United States should not be written off, ”the analyst said.
Moreover, in his opinion, it is important for Washington to maintain the image of a security guarantor for its allies, "otherwise they may raise the question of whether they need such a defender."
“The US is showing determination to protect its allies from Iran. However, it must be understood that about 4,500 US troops are an insignificant figure for the Islamic Republic, ”said Blokhin.
However, even such an increase in the American contingent in Kuwait could exacerbate the situation in the Persian Gulf, the analyst believes.
“In the Middle East, the level of instability and uncertainty will rise. This region will more and more resemble a powder keg. However, at this stage, neither Iran nor the United States needs a war, ”Blokhin emphasized.
- Tehran Business District
- © Thomas Schulze / ZB
Blokhin also pointed out that the buildup of the American contingent in Kuwait for the United States is now "very welcome", since the Iraqi parliament voted to withdraw foreign troops from the state after General KSIR Kassem Suleimani was killed as a result of an American strike on the territory of the republic.
“Most likely, now to those 4.2 thousand American soldiers there will also be added those soldiers who are now on the territory of the Iraqi republic,” the expert explained.
Dmitry Evstafyev, in turn, argues that Washington’s recent actions speak of the US’s desire to "reconfigure its military presence in the Middle East."
“Trump is engaged in quite complex maneuvers, in which he somewhere withdraws troops, somewhere, on the contrary, strengthens his presence. Thus, he is still increasing the number of US troops in the Middle East exactly where he considers it necessary. This is important for the American side, since the United States cannot completely leave this region, but they want to clear the space in order to play a scenario of controlled or uncontrolled chaos in the future, ”the expert concluded.
* “Islamic State” (ISIS, ISIS) - the organization was recognized as terrorist by decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation of December 29, 2014.