The Military-Industrial Complex Is Alive and Well

Even without officially declared wars, thousands of American troops are in Middle Eastern combat zones.

Written by Anthony Constantini

What’s happening: America has deployed 1,200 American troops to the Middle East in response to Hamas’ attack on Israel, and there is an increasing likelihood that the U.S. will become involved in the Yemeni Civil War.

Why it matters: There are no formally declared American wars in the region, and successive presidents were elected to reduce America's involvement there. But a glance at troop numbers reveals America's military-industrial complex is thriving.

  • The numbers: America has about 40,000 personnel in the region and around 35 bases. Many see no fighting. But others do.

Kuwait: The country hosts 13,500 U.S. forces, the most in the region. They arrived after the Gulf War when America freed the country from Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

  • Keep in mind: Iraq’s government has no desire to invade Kuwait. The country is under no threat, and Hussein is long gone — but the troops remain.

Hot spots: The past decade witnessed American troops fighting primarily in two Middle Eastern countries: Syria and Iraq.

Syria: America has 900 military personnel in the country. Officially, they are there to fight the Islamic State — but they’re unofficially there to check Iranian influence in the country.

  • Former President Donald Trump wanted to leave Syria but was convinced to keep 200 troops. However, his staff later admitted to obfuscating the actual (much higher number) of forces.

Iraq: There are about 2,500 American military personnel in Iraq, a decade after former President Barack Obama ended combat operations.

The rest are peppered throughout the region; 9,000 are in Bahrain and 2,700 in Saudi Arabia.

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