December 16, 2020

Small, Distributed, and Secure: A New Basing Architecture for the Middle East

By Becca Wasser and Aaron Stein

The recent assassination of Iranian physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh may not have been an American-led operation, but it nonetheless raised the risk of reprisal attacks, quite possibly targeting U.S. bases. The vulnerability of American military bases in the Middle East to missile attack is not new, but growing Iranian capabilities make U.S. assets deployed in the region more vulnerable. In recognition of this threat, a rethink of U.S. basing architecture is needed.

A rethink of U.S. basing architecture is needed.

The administrations of both Barack Obama and Donald Trump sought to scale back commitments in the Middle East in order to focus on countering Russia and China. But these plans were repeatedly thwarted by challenges in the region, as well as nervous local partners, and complications created by Washington’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran. President-elect Joe Biden has also argued for a reduced U.S. presence in the Middle East. It is this impulse to disengage from the region, combined with the risks to U.S. bases there, that makes a rethink so essential.

Read the full article in War on the Rocks.

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