The top US Air Force general in the Middle East said that the US Air Force would continue to be stationed in the region even as military planners consider competition with China and Russia as Washington’s next major challenge. A three Star American General, Gregory Guillot told the Journalists during a media interaction that despite US troops withdrawal from Afghanistan during mid-August this year, the US Air Force will continue its presence in the Middle East to oversee its operations in Afghanistan as well as Iraq and Syria. According to General Guillot, he does not see any scenario in the region in which the United States does not have an important role.
In fact, the power competition has always continued between the major global powers of the world throughout history. After the conclusion of World War II, the world community went through a cold war between two major power blocks led by the United States and the former Soviet Union. That power competition led to a massive military buildup, introduction of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and deployment of rival forces in important parts/ countries of the world to deter and block adversaries’ influence in that area. During this wargame, the two rival powers did not ignore the Middle East and Persian Gulf region, due to its highly sensitive geostrategic location at the intersection of three continents while having most of the world’s oil reserves. Over the decades, the US Military has been stationed in various Arab states including Qatar, Oman, Dubai, Bahrain, Jorden, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait in a bid to keep Russia out of the Middle East affairs. After the end of the American military campaign in Afghanistan, there were rumours of a significant shift in US military doctrine in the broader Middle East region, however the recent statement of the US General has negated all such assumptions.
Apparently, the current geopolitical scenario does not support this valuation precisely, because from the US’s perspective the situation becomes more challenging throughout Asia due to ever rising rivalry with Russia and China. Presently, the United States has brought the issue of Taiwan to the Center stage of International Politics besides providing full military, diplomatic and political support to Taipei. While China is pursuing an aggressive doctrine to counter the US-Taipei nexus while using all available resources. Presently, the situation in the Indo-Pacific waters and adjacent Indian Ocean region is deteriorating gradually.
On the other hand, the uncertain future of US Iran nuclear talks in Vienna has caused serious concerns in the west and currently, the Biden administration is discussing alternative options with its allies to deal with Iran if nuclear talks fail during the upcoming seventh round. Although nothing specific had been made in this regard, it could not be other than a US-Iran joint military venture against Iranian Nuclear installations during coming months. Besides the Iran Nuclear deal, several other factors including resurgence of ISIS, maritime attacks on cargo vessels and arms smuggling in Persian Gulf, conflict in Yemen, and the situation in Syria, Libya and Lebanon do not permit the US to reduce its military presence in the region. Ostensibly, America is likely to reinforce its military presence in the Middle East and Persian Gulf regions to contest these challenges in the days ahead.