The US operates at least 30 military bases in the Middle East, ranging from small outposts in Syria and military encampments shared with host nations to airbases under full US control. Some are large and visible while others remain highly secretive, likely managed by a combination of CIA or US special forces personnel. These range from a navy-run medical research lab in Egypt and naval and airbases in Qatar (the biggest in the region) and the United Arab Emirates to remote outposts in the contested desert zones of Syria.
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Iran’s strategy following the US’ withdrawal from the JCPOA has focused on two objectives. The first is to push back against the maximum pressure policy with the aim of proving its irrelevance in bringing Iran to the negotiating table on US terms. The second is to drive a wedge between the US and its regional allies, especially Iran’s Arab neighbours.
While the decision of the UAE to reduce its troops presence in Yemen is a notable turn in the four-year conflict, the UAE still plays a key role within it via its proxies and through counter-terrorism efforts. It has also carved itself a new strategic security role in the region and its reduced military footprint in Yemen could serve to mitigate reputational damage from participating in the war.
Critics charge that the survey by Dubai-based public relations firm asda’a bcw focussed on the 18-24 age group was flawed because it gave a greater weighting to views in smaller Gulf states as opposed to the region’s more populous countries such as Egypt, used small samples of up to 300 people, and did not include Qatar, Syria and Sudan.
The Sudanese revolution fell victim to disagreements in the Arabian Gulf region, especially those between the Saudi-Emirati-Egyptian alliance on the one hand and the Turkish-Qatari alliance on the other. Protesters in Sudan believe that the Saudi-Emirati-Egyptian alliance is trying to hijack the revolution, prevent the transfer of power to civilians and support the military council to ensure its loyalty to the alliance against Qatar and Turkey and keep Sudanese troops supporting the Saudi-led coalition in the war in Yemen.