Iran has called for the expulsion of U.S. troops from the Muslim world in the light of the assassination of its top general Qassem Soleimani. The U.S. military has bases in at least 13 Muslim majority countries, which it often uses to conduct military operations in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. But where are they?
Last year President Donald Trump confirmed that a planned troop build-up in Saudi Arabia was moving forward, with some U.S. forces on the ground and others set to deploy on a mission to “deter Iranian aggression”. The deployments will bring the total number of troops in Saudi Arabia to 3,000.
Military assets including radar and missile systems to improve air defences, an air expeditionary wing to support fighter aircraft and two fighter squadrons were also sent.
The Incirlik Air Base is used by the U.S. Air Force, housing about 5,000 airmen. Tactical nuclear weapons are stored at the base. Among them are up to 50 B61 nuclear bombs.
The Al Udeid Air Base houses the U.S. Air Force and is the headquarters of the United States Air Forces Central Command.
According to media reports in June 2017, the base hosted over 11,000 U.S. and U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition forces and over 100 operational aircraft.
Camp Arifjan is a U.S. Army installation in Kuwait which accommodates elements of the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Coast Guard. Many thousands of service members and contractors pass through Camp Arifjan either on their way to or from Iraq, Afghanistan or other countries in Southwest Asia.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
There are around 3,500 American military personnel stationed at the Al Dhafra Air Base in Abu Dhabi. The base is one of the key U.S. military bases in the region.
In 2014, the advance of ISIS from Syria to Iraq’s western provinces prompted the U.S. to intervene again in Iraq. In January 2019, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo put the number of U.S. troops in Iraq at approximately 5,000.
The Ain al-Assad air base, which houses U.S. troops, is one of the largest and oldest military bases in Iraq.
Another military base in Erbil, also targeted by Iran on Wednesday morning, houses U.S. troops. It is located in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq, run by the Kurdistan Regional Government, which is a strong ally of the U.S.
In October 2019, the Trump administration conducted a partial reversal of its order to pullout 1,000 troops from Syria, instead confirming a newly dedicated mission to guard oil and gas fields and infrastructure in eastern Syria from ISIS attacks. The U.S. simultaneously shifted more resources south and east into the oil-rich Deir ez-Zor Governorate. When coupled with the U.S. garrison at al-Tanf, the contingency force’s numbers rise to a flexible 800-900 personnel.
But they are present in Syria against the wishes of the government in Damascus.
The Naval Support Activity Bahrain (or NSA Bahrain) is a U.S. Navy base and is home to U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and United States Fifth Fleet.
It is the primary base in the region for the naval and marine activities in support of U.S. military activities in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Thumrait air base in Dhofar Governorate houses the U.S. Air Force.
Last year, the top American commander in Afghanistan, General Austin S. Miller, said that the size of the force in the country had dropped by 2,000 over the last year, down to somewhere between 12,000 and 13,000.
Camp Lemonnier is a United States Naval Expeditionary Base situated in Djibouti City and home to the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) of the U.S. Africa Command. It is the only permanent U.S. military base in Africa.
Niger Air Base 201 is a United States drone airbase located near Agadez, Niger. It is owned by the Nigerien military but built and paid for by the U.S.
Camp Bondsteel is the main base of the U.S. Army under KFOR command in Kosovo. The base serves as the NATO headquarters for KFOR’s Multinational Battle Group East.