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article imageUS promises to retain strong military presence in Persian Gulf

By Paul Iddon     Dec 7, 2013 in Politics
On a visit to Bahrain US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has assured his country's Gulf Arab allies that the US will retain a strong military presence in the Persian Gulf following its interim agreement with Iran.
The Jerusalem Post reports that the US will maintain 35,000 troops in the Persian Gulf region along with ships, tanks and warplanes. Mr. Hagel gave these assurances at the Mana Dialogue security forum which was hosted on the island kingdom of Bahrain.
"We know diplomacy cannot operate in a vacuum," the Secretary of Defense said before adding, "Our success will continue to hinge on America's military power, and the credibility of our assurances to our allies and partners in the Middle East."
These comments and assurances come amidst the Arab states concerns regarding the US losing its focus on the region following its willingness to pursue dialogue with Iran concerning the latter's nuclear program. Saudi Arabia in particular is frustrated at lack of US action over situation in Syria.
As The Washington Post points out in its report Hagel visit constitutes the first visit by a US Cabinet member to Bahrain since the Arab Spring protests on that island kingdom was put down brutally by the Bahraini regime along with its Saudi Arabian ally. Bahraini activists are disgruntled at the lack of US criticism in regard to the crackdown perpetrated by its ally who it maintains a strategic gulf alliance with. The US Fifth Fleet has a base on the island kingdom.
More about US, Bahrain, Iran, Persian Gulf, Saudi arabia
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