The recent Houthi attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea have highlighted the critical importance of US Naval force presence in the Middle East.

When the decades' long commitment of US ground troops to Afghanistan ended with the debacle of a withdrawal in 2021, the headquarters of the US Navy's Fifth Fleet in Bahrain once again became the anchor to US regional presence and the core protector of national interests in the region.

However, a sharp drop in deployed US Naval combatants in the Middle East reinforced to Arab partners and Iran, along with China and Russia, a clear new message — the US was leaving the Middle East to pivot to Asia and the Pacific.

Continue reading in Al Majalla

US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Nolan Pennington


The Middle East Institute (MEI) is an independent, non-partisan, non-for-profit, educational organization. It does not engage in advocacy and its scholars’ opinions are their own. MEI welcomes financial donations, but retains sole editorial control over its work and its publications reflect only the authors’ views. For a listing of MEI donors, please click here.