- (Reuters/Joshua Roberts)
Earlier this month President Obama made headlines when he announced the complete withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of this year. As a result of this drawdown, the Department of Defense has announced its plan to increase military presence in the Persian Gulf region, The New York Times reports.
This new presence likely includes new combat forces in Kuwait. In theory, U.S. troops positioned in Kuwait would be able to respond to an aggression by Iran or a collapse of security within Iraq.
While the majority of the public welcomed Obama’s announcement that would end the ten year war in Iraq, a promise he campaigned on in 2008, a lot of military and national security experts are leery of the plan, saying this could cause instability in the region. Critics unsuccessfully tried to pressure the president and Iraqi forces to leave as many as 20,000 troops in the country for security reasons.
In addition to Kuwait, the U.S. may send more naval warships to the region.
“The only people who think that our robust presence in the Gulf is going to help with Iraq are people who have never been in the military,” Michael Rubin, fellow at American Enterprise Institute (AEI) told The Christian Post.
“The fact of the matter is, you have to ask permission to cross borders. So if our troops are needed, they will get there hours too late.”
According to the Times, the Department of State will seek to bolster ties with Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman as a new "security architecture" for the region.
Maj. Gen. Karl R. Horst, Central Command's chief of staff, told the Times the plan was being described as "Back to the future" and "said the command was focusing on smaller but highly capable deployments and training partnerships with regional militaries."
"We are kind of thinking of going back to the way it was before we had a big 'boots on the ground' presence," he told the Times. "I think it is healthy. I think it is efficient. I think it is practical."
After Obama made his withdrawal announcement, he made it clear that Iraqi leaders refused to give U.S. troops immunity from prosecution in Iraqi courts, and that without it America’s stay in the country was short-lived.
“That’s nonsense,” Rubin said in response to Obama’s explanation.
“Obama doesn’t understand how Iraqis negotiate. They will go down to the last deadline and that’s when the real negotiating begins. We are months away from the wire. There’s a saying that ‘Americans play checkers while the Iranians play chess’ and in this case, it’s true.”
“Our withdrawal makes Iran cocky. It’s dangerous. Iraq needed American troops there to balance out the Iranians.”
Rubin said he believes Obama’s withdrawal decision was a completely political one.
“National security was not even thought about,” he asserted.
According to the Times, 12 senators demanded hearings on the White House’s ending of negotiations with Iraq on the counterterrorism efforts within the country.
“As you know, the complete withdrawal of our forces from Iraq is likely to be viewed as a strategic victory by our enemies in the Middle East, especially the Iranian regime,” 12 senators wrote Wednesday in a letter to the chairman of the Senate’s Armed Services Committee.