US back to region

Muna Al Fuzai

According to Reuters, US officials said the administration of US President Donald Trump is considering deploying 1,000 US troops in Kuwait as a reserve force in the war against terror and the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria. The news dominated the headlines of many dailies, because this option reminds every one of the common and straightforward Republican foreign policies to preserve the security and safety of American interests and allies in the region. Therefore, maintaining the security and safety of Gulf states is obvious and indisputable.

This scenario bodes a strong return of Americans to the region. It is indeed a different route from the policy of former US President Barack Obama, whose foreign policy was widely criticized. This option of keeping some US standby forces is a part of a strategy of the United States in the war against terrorism and to eliminate IS. In fact, it is no surprise that the US president excluded Iraqis from his revised travel ban to America. The resolution was based on the recommendations of the US secretaries of state and defense to support the international coalition in the war on terror.

The region is confronting many challenges in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. All these problems have negative repercussions on all levels. Therefore, the Gulf states need US support and assistance and the security of the region is a red line. Some recent press reports have pointed to the deployment of US troops in Syria to help local Syrian forces, which is required to eliminate IS. But we should not be naive to imagine that the war will be a picnic, because the Syrian region has been mired in war for years now with different militants fighting there. The elimination process of all these factions and militias will not be easy and requires unity, and time too.

I firmly believe that a strong alliance between Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey can support the Gulf and Arab region to stop further depletion of the region’s wealth and that the end of the war in Yemen is an important step for peace. The more military operations continue, the costs for the coalition countries led by Saudi Arabia will increase, and Yemen will suffer more.

However, the issue is not only about affordability, but also about the consequences of the war if it continues. As the war continues, fear and anxiety in the Gulf region will increase and investments may decrease. The impact will not be limited to private sector projects, but will extend to construction projects and public spending, which will be delayed and slow down.

It seems to me that the US president will reconsider the status of US forces in the Gulf. This is good news, because it will send a strong message that Gulf security cannot be touched or threatened. The balance of international power in the region is essential. The coming days will bring further developments in this regard, so we must wait and hope for the best.

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