The US military footprint in the Middle East has swelled some 33 percent in just the past four months, according to a new Pentagon report.
Since the beginning of July, the 40,517 troops and US Department of Defense (DoD) civilian population prosecuting war and other security missions in the Middle East has grown to 54,180, a rise of 33 percent, according to DoD personnel and workforce report data.
The numbers do not include a sharp increase in US troops — from some 11,000 to 15,000 according to military.com — deployed to hotspots in Afghanistan, where Washington has been at war for over 16 years.
The publicized troop increases in one of the most unstable parts of the world are thought to herald further escalations, as observed by the largest US troop deployment to the region in five years.
Pentagon numbers detailed in the November 17 quarterly report show that every country in the region that hosts a US military presence has seen a significant recent increase in DoD civilians and US troops.
The most recent DoD statistics reveal the current numbers by country: Egypt, 455; Israel, 41; Lebanon, 110; Syria, 1,723; Turkey, 2,265; Jordan, 2,730; Iraq, 9,122; Kuwait, 16,592; Saudi Arabia, 850; Yemen, 14; Oman, 32; United Arab Emirates, 4,240; Qatar, 6,671; Bahrain, 9,335, cited by Newsweek.
The US media outlet helpfully also detailed the previous June figures to reveal the expansion: Egypt, 392; Israel, 28; Lebanon, 99; Syria, 1,251; Turkey, 1,405; Jordan, 2,469; Iraq, 8,173; Kuwait, 14,790; Saudi Arabia, 730; Yemen, 13; Oman, 30; United Arab Emirates, 1,531; Qatar, 3,164; Bahrain, 6,541, according to Newsweek.com.
The moves are seen to be consistent with projected Pentagon policies.
“It now has more to do with long-standing preferences of [US DoD Secretary James Mattis] and senior military officials,” detailed foreign policy expert Dr. Micah Zenko, with London-based Chatham House.
Mattis and an old-guard of retired generals and military advisors surrounding US President Donald Trump “contend [that] all America’s enemies can be militarily defeated, by doing more of everything,” Zenko added, cited by Newsweek.