You U.S still have around 30 thousand troops in Middle East, which are spread across the region. The country has operated military bases there for decades, and had more than 160,000 soldiers in Iraq in 2007 and more than 100,000 in Afghanistan in 2011. The bases have strategic importance for the USA and are located in several countries. (read more below)
Since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas, the US has returned to sending troops to the Middle East, in addition to military ships.
The number of US troops in the Middle East was significantly reduced in 2021, following a withdrawal of soldiers in Afghanistan.
In this text you will see:
- Where are US troops in the Middle East?
- How important is the bombed base in Jordan?
- Why does the US have troops in the Middle East?
- Are American bases in the Middle East frequently attacked?
The largest US military base in the Middle East is located in Qatar. It is known as Al Udeid Air Base and was built in 1996.
The US has approximately 900 troops in Syria, in small bases such as the Al Omar Oil Field and Al-Shaddadi, mainly in the northeast of the country. There is an outpost near the country’s border with Iraq and Jordan known as the Al Tanf garrison.
In Iraq, there are 2,500 troops distributed across installations such as Union III and the Ain al-Asad air base, although negotiations are ongoing over the future of these troops.
Base bombed in Jordan
The Jordanian military base bombed by Iranian-backed groups on Saturday (27) is in a strategically important position in the country, because it is the closest point to the borders with Syria and Iraq.
Known as Tower 22, the base is close to the Al Tanf garrison, located across the border in Syria, where there is a small contingent of US troops. Tanf played an important role in combating Islamic State and is part of the US strategy to contain Iran’s military expansion in eastern Syria.
Three US soldiers die in attack in Jordan
Why does the US have troops in the Middle East?
The US maintains troops in the Middle East for different reasons, and, with the exception of Syria, they are there with the permission of each country’s government.
In some countries, such as Iraq and Syria, US troops are there to fight Islamic State militants and also to assist local forces. However, in recent years these soldiers have been the target of attacks by Iranian-backed forces and have actively fought back.
Jordan, a key US ally in the Middle East, has hundreds of American instructors and carries out extensive military exercises throughout the year.
In other cases, such as Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), U.S. troops are present to reassure allies, conduct training, and be used as needed in operations in the region.
Are American bases in the Middle East frequently attacked?
US bases are highly protected, with air defense systems to protect against missiles or drones. Facilities in countries such as Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are generally not targeted by attacks.
Troops deployed in Iraq and Syria have been frequently attacked in recent years. Since October 7, 2023, US troops have been attacked more than 160 times by Iranian-backed militias, resulting in around 80 injuries, not counting Sunday’s attack on the Jordanian base, which left another 40 injured.