Strategy, Security, and War in Iraq: The United States and the Gulf in the 21st Century
Russell, James A.
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Over the course of events taking place in and around the Persian Gulf over the last three years, the United States has used force to replace a despotic dictator who once served Western interests, placed considerable distance between itself and its erstwhile regional partner Saudi Arabia, and reduced its role as arbiter in the Arab–Israeli dispute. Operation Iraqi Freedom would seem to reveal that the United States has chosen a broader vision for the role that force could play as part of a more aggressive security strategy. The Gulf littoral’s forward-deployed footprint, set into place during the first Gulf War, enabled effects-based capabilities to be tested in Iraq that have come online since the 1990s, enabling the US military to begin to operationalise what was initially dubbed the ‘Revolution in Military Affairs’ and now is called ‘Transformation’. As such, the Gulf infrastructure provides the US with a model to emulate around the world as it seeks to realign its forces to better address new threats in the global theatre. The Gulf facilities will become central hubs in the network of bases stretching throughout Central and South Asia and the Horn of Africa which will perform missions associated with the global war on terror. Operation Iraqi Freedom represents only the beginning of this phenomenon in an emerging new global defense strategy that may see forward-deployed forces around the world used with increased frequency to manage an uncertain security environment.
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