US aiming to bolster military presence in Gulf: report

Washington, Oct 31: US is set to bolster its military presence in the Persian gulf by posting combat forces in Kuwait to respond to a collapse of security in Iraq or a military confrontation with Iran. The build up of troops in Kuwait will come after the remaining American troops withdraw from Iraq later this year, the New York Times reported quoting officials and diplomats.

The repositioning of the US forces in the region, besides deploying combat troops in Kuwait also envisages sending more naval warships to international waters off the region. Negotiations for placing ground combat troops in Kuwait are far advanced and as the new US military response would also entail expanded military ties with six nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)--Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and UAE.

Though Washington has already close military ties with all the gulf nations, officials said US was planning a "security architecture" for the gulf that would integrate air and naval patrols and missile defence, the report said.

President Barack Obama has already announced that all US troops would leave from Iraq by the end of the year, ending the eight-year war, but American officials fear that withdrawal could lead to instability or worse in its wake.

The US is pressing the Iraqi government to permit as many as 20,000 American troops to remain in Iraq beyond 2011, but the Pentagon is also drawing up an alternative security map. The size of the standby American combat force to be based in Kuwait remains the subject of negotiations, with an answer expected in coming days.

Officers at the Central Command headquarters here declined to discuss specifics of the proposals, but it was clear that successful deployment plans from past decades could be incorporated into plans for a post-Iraq footprint in the region.


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