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American military strategy in the middle East
Material posted: Publication date: 13-11-2014

The article reveals the military policy and military strategy of the United States in the Middle East, its geopolitical characteristics, main activities of American military policy in the region over the last decade, the results of this activity as a result of the activities of the United States.

In the beginning of XXI century Military policy of the USA became an important factor in determining the results of operations of the international security both at the global and regional levels. At the same time, analysis of trends in the development of the international situation suggests that the U.S. rate will inevitably lead to confrontation with a large part of the world.

It should be noted that the American equivalent of the Russian term "military policy" is the phrase "defensepolicy" ("defense policy"), which implies the use of military force to protect the country and ensuring U.S. national interests in peace and war. An integral part of defence policy is the military policy(militarypolicy), which includes equipping, training, basing and use of U.S. Armed forces, the identification and formulation of specific strategic goals and objectives of the armed forces, concepts of their use and harmonization of various kinds of armed forces between them.

Thus, the basis of U.S. national security is national defense(nationaldefense), and the security of the state should be ensured "a military or defense advantage of the United States over any foreign state or group of States".

At the beginning of the XXI century the role and importance of military policy in the political life of the United States has increased significantly. This is primarily due to the tragic events of September 11, 2001, conducting military campaigns in Afghanistan, Iraq, and in early 2011 in Libya. It was then that the internal security has become one of the main tasks of the Armed forces of the United States, which turned almost all of U.S. foreign policy in the military, held under the slogan: "Who is not with us is against us".

Moreover, it was then that the President of the United States, declaring a global war on international terrorism, has called the American people "a nation at war", thus recognizing the policy of state military.

Becoming a national idea, military policy is almost directly linked to the internal policy of the state, especially in its social sphere ("plus a dollar for the war, minus a dollar on social needs") [1].

In the United States created a system of guidelines, fixing the goals, objectives, methods and main directions of implementation of the military policy of the U.S. to protect States in times of peace and war. The main ones in this area are the national security Strategy, national defense strategy, national military strategy, national strategy of internal security, the Four annual defense review, the concept and employment doctrine of the armed forces and inter-service groups, as well as a number of other documents. They regulate the conduct of military policy in the near, Middle and far East, Central and South Asia, Africa, etc.

However, in recent years U.S. policy in the middle East are faced with serious problems. Attempts to entrench in the region democracy on the American model, taken under the administration of J. Bush, ended in failure. In these circumstances, the new US President Barack Obama was forced to reconsider how General political attitudes, and American military strategy for the region. The bet was made not on the Pro-Western liberals, and the traditional holders of power and influence in the face of tribal elders and "warlords". Occurs, however, the question of the stability of the middle East Pro-American autocrats in the conditions of so-called "Arab spring" and, more importantly, about the degree of their loyalty toward official Washington.[2]

From a geographical point of view, under the Middle East region in the broad sense refers to the area extending in the East – from Iran and Afghanistan (in some cases even Pakistan); West to Morocco and Mauritania; to the North from Turkey; in the South to Somalia. The middle East during the 19th-20th century has consistently been, and still is today one of the first places among the geostrategic priorities of the leading powers in the world, first the UK, Russia, Germany, then USA. The increased interest and importance of the Middle East in the modern world is dictated by economic, political, military-strategic, demographic factors.

The importance of the Middle East is due to such important characteristics as:

  • the military-political;
  • economic;
  • religious.

From the political point of view, the middle East occupies an important geostrategic position. Control over this region allows you to tie together Western Europe - Mediterranean - Indian ocean - East Asia. This significantly reduces the length of the sea communications. In addition, in the last century has increased the value of some Straits, located in the middle East. This is due to the performance of their economic functions and especially functions "oil transit". Along with this, the strategic importance of the Middle East for the major powers of the world is that since the beginning of the cold war and the establishment of the bipolar structure of the world, he was turned into a zone of confrontation between the interests of the USA and the USSR, he was treated two warring system as a springboard to resolve their military-political interests (as a valid option of deterring the opponent). The region immediately adjacent to the limits of the CIS (the Russian Federation), in addition, it serves the short sea, land and air communications between Europe, Asia and Africa. From this point of view, the middle East was represented (during the cold war) and today is for the United States (primarily) strategic importance.

Of considerable importance in the ongoing processes in the Middle East region plays an economic factor. This region is the richest oil pantry of the world. As you know, a number of critical raw materials is placed in a very limited number of countries. This can be clearly seen on the example of water and oil resources. And he and the other factor that largely determines the situation in the middle East.

Traditionally in the middle East the importance of the religious factor is decisive. It should be noted that the religious factor, in turn, exerts influence on demographic processes. In Islamic States there is still a Patriarchal type of family with high fertility rates. According to the forecasts of international organizations by 2020, Asia will be living more than half the population of the Earth. The Muslim population of the world over the last 100 years has increased dramatically. In 1990 the number of Muslims in the world was 4.2 %. In 1995, 15, 9%. In 2025 it is planned - 19, 2 %. For the leading countries of the West one of the main challenges in this region is to stimulate economic development, increase the number of people employed in manufacturing, in services women, destroy the traditional family model - this should help to lower fertility. [3]

But, despite the extremely cautious policy of America the U.S. role in provoking the explosion in the middle East is obvious. There are different versions of this political activity US:

1. Pro-American

The political leadership of the United States of America before everyone realized that the backlog in the Arab world, problems will inevitably lead to social revolutions, the collapse of vassal rulers, and she decided to lead the popular movement. Therefore, the U.S. quite deliberately went to the aggravation that is controlled by the Middle East after a short crisis to get even more under control, but a stable democratic region.

2. Anti-American

In this version all the events in the middle East is seen as a continuation of the American policy of "color revolutions" aimed at the creation of national States. According to Yuri Krupnova is "natural for the geopolitics of the U.S. desire to carry out the restructuring and reorganising stuff in the Middle East. Goal is all that Ms.: to approve <...>even more controlled and efficient in given them the framework modes <...> need a new notarized the loyalty of regional leaders for the control of pipelines and unimpeded pumping of oil and gas in the right directions."[4]

The stone, which is broken on this version is Libya. Krupnov believes that "Libya is different from Tunisia and Egypt only by the fact that the leader of the Jamahiriya "hears" or "understands" a clear signal "leave the scene". At first glance, the situation here is really the same as with Mubarak, who tried to fight for power and almost overplayed the opposition, but advanced much further. For correcting the ruler of Egypt was enough statements by Obama and Mubarak capitulated. Gaddafi didn't give in to any provocations. All right, if not almost instant escalation of unrest in Libya into an armed rebellion and if it weren't for the UN security Council resolution No. 1970. Now much has been written about the resolution of the UN security Council No. 1973, to authorize a foreign intervention against a legitimate government, which began to defend itself from armed rebels. It is rightly considered as the verdict of the Westphalian system of world order. However, the previous resolution on Libya is also unique. It forbids all countries to adopt the family of Gaddafi, and thus effectively condemning them to certain death in case of defeat of Colonel. Therefore, the cause of the war in Libya is not in the stubbornness of Gaddafi. As a result Colonel Gaddafi is no other choice but to fight to the death, did not leave. The resolution of the security Council is the best proof that the "fight order". It was clear that no one is going to ensure victory for the opposition.

Also, it is possible to disassemble any other version and every time will turn out in the end, something contrary to common sense Americans act to the detriment of themselves. All versions get the inevitable destabilization of the region and the emergence of a highly unstable political structures.

So, we must seek some explanation for the apparent inconsistency of the results of U.S. intervention in the events in the middle East. Therefore, the conclusion can be only one: the developers of the American strategy in the middle East and political scientists trying to understand their actions, different ideas about common sense, they are in different coordinate system looking at the world, and such notions as "stability" and "destabilization" in their view have different signs.

The grounds for this conclusion gives the distribution in the American establishment "chaos theory". In connection with the events in the Arab world it not remembered, but most of the political science community it is still rejected. The reason is that chaos is intuitively perceived as something terrible and catastrophic. Accordingly, immediately have associations with the dark forces, trying through the network of plots to plunge the world into its abyss.

In the same field, should highlight a few basic provisions "chaos theory":

  1. The abandonment of traditional perception of the world as a linear determinantal process, which results in the knowledge of the basic principles and the main options can be calculated.
  2. The world is a complex dynamic system, consisting of Nations, States, religions, etc., which, in turn, are also complex dynamic systems.
  3. A dynamical system never reaches its equilibrium.
  4. "Large interactive systems by organizations bring themselves to a critical state where a small event can start a chain reaction that can lead to disaster".

From this the adherents of chaos theory in the United States have a number of practical conclusions, the knowledge of which allows to understand the logic of the American strategy in the middle East:

  1. Stability is illusory and can never be the aim of its maintenance too costly for the country.
  2. National interests can be effectively and less costly methods to provide a flexible, "floating between Islands of order in the global world of political chaos".
  3. The U.S. should seek to actively change in societies in crisis, instead of trying to keep the pseudo stability.
  4. You must be open to the prospect to reinforce and exploit criticality, if it is in the interests of America.
  5. Long-term forecasts is a myth.

All this is not idle speculations of theorists, the quotes are taken from articles by high-ranking diplomat, one of responsible for US policy in the post-Soviet space. There is no point in discussing how "chaos theory"accurately describes the global processes and the extent to which the application meets the long-term interests of the United States. In recent decades we have already experienced that and pseudoscientific theory can become the guide to action. The important thing is that this theory proves that in political, diplomatic and military leadership of the United States there are certain forces who believe that the destabilization game on the exacerbation is the best way to ensure the interests of their country. Thereby removed the apparent contradiction triggered by the explosion of America in the middle East and its national interests.

But how the US cemented its power in the middle East? After the end of the cold war the American ruling circles sought to consolidate its hegemony in the middle East, expanding U.S. presence in Central Asia. According to the Director of the Council on the Middle East of the American Institute of foreign policy studies Garfinkle A., "what United States is doing in this part of the world, especially in the Persian Gulf, can best be defined as Imperial policy: Washington intends to achieve stabilization in the region, even if they have to use force (as has happened in the past). The Middle East region is the only region in the world after cold war US military power is growing, as is shown by the formation of the Central Command and the creation of the 5th fleet patrolling the Persian Gulf. Many States in the region are effectively American protectorates. Heads of offices of the CIA in some of the most friendly countries in the region at times act as true and proconsuls are far more significant figures than the American ambassadors in these countries. Not glorified truth is that over seven thousand miles from its own shores a few people in Washington arrogated to themselves the right to control this turbulent and important region, to identify in him the progress of Affairs and to exercise police functions".

The American intervention in Iraq in 2003 was the logical continuation of this policy. But along with geopolitical considerations, there were ideological ambitions. As noted by the Russian Explorer E. P. Smirnov, "having chosen Iraq as a starting point, "neo-cons" began to implement in the political thinking of the US doctrine of "regime change" and "democratic revolutions" in the middle East".[5]

Now no one argues about the fact that U.S. aggression against Iraq that began March 20, 2003 the missile and bomb strikes on Baghdad and other Iraqi cities, wore unprovoked in nature. In published in November 2010, the memoirs of George W. Bush "decision Points" (Decision Points) the American President recognizes that the decision to start "the Iraq campaign" was made on the basis of proven wrong about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. As a final fact about the costs of Bush can be considered together with his statement that "the removal of Saddam Hussein from power was correct." In other words, Bush recognizes that U.S. aggression was envisioned as the main goal the overthrow of the legitimate government of Iraq, in flagrant violation of the fundamental norms and principles of international law. Just and right it was the aggression against Iraq in their first debuted in September 2010, the memoir "a Journey: My political life" (Ajourney: My Political Life) and former Prime Minister of great Britain E. Blair, which, incidentally, was one of the reasons for the defeat of the labour party in the parliamentary elections in 2010

Meanwhile, "the right decision" for Bush and Blair has led to the fact that, according to published on the website Wikileaks in October 2010, data from the "Iraq dossier" in Iraq from 2004 to 2009 were killed 109 032 person, including 66 081 civilians. the Causes of victims of the civilian population was, according to published reports, the actions of the U.S. military indiscriminately used weapons (bombings and shootings) against anyone who they perceived as "terrorists", shootings by armed men, who were ready to surrender, and the atrocities and torture carried out by Iraqi military and police with the knowledge and connivance of the occupier.

Unleashing aggression against the Iraqi people and occupying the country with 22 million inhabitants, the USA and Britain took the case to legitimize their actions, using in this respect the existing Afghan experience. For these purposes, based on resolution 1511 of the UN Security Council dated 16 October 2003, they quickly made the so-called Multinational force (MNF) under unified American command. By March 2004 Iraq was already operating 24 500 soldiers from 34 countries, despite the fact that American and British troops by that time had more than 160 thousand soldiers. In may 2005 we formed the puppet Interim government of Iraq, and in December 2005, a permanent government headed by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, a prominent Shiite leader, closely associated with the West. 30 December 2006 by the verdict of a puppet Provisional Tribunal of Iraq was secretly executed by hanging captured in December 2003, Saddam Hussein.

Meanwhile in Iraq launched a large-scale liberation movement. Grew the protests against the actions of the U.S. and its allies in Iraq and in many countries, including the United States. By July 2009, the number of American soldiers dead numbered 4321, and by August 2010 – 4419. The greatest losses after the U.S. suffered the British army – 179. By September 2010, Iraq began to withdraw military personnel from many countries – participants of the MNF, starting with Spain. France and Germany did not support US aggression against Iraq.

According to the above-mentioned American research organization "Project of National interest, by July 2010 the cost of the White house on the conduct of the war in Iraq has reached 747,3 billion., while overall spending on combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan – 1,05 trillion.

In November 2008, under President Bush, between the U.S. and Iraq signed an Agreement on the status and terms of stay of us troops in Iraq, which included their withdrawal from Iraqi cities until June 30, 2009 and complete withdrawal from the country by 31 December 2011, the agreement includes provisions that are detrimental to the sovereignty of Iraq and allowing under certain conditions the saving in Iraq of American troops.

By executing the agreement, the Obama administration completed the withdrawal of American troops from Iraqi cities as scheduled. September 1, 2010, in a speech with address to the nation, Obama announced the "end of combat operations in Iraq". "In February of last year, Obama said, - I announced a plan to withdraw our combat brigades from Iraq. That's what we did. We withdraw from Iraq, nearly 100 thousand American soldiers. We closed and transferred hundreds of bases to the Iraqis. We withdrew from Iraq, millions of pieces of military equipment". However, Obama said that after the completion of thus operation Iraqi freedom US begin in Iraq "operation New dawn", to carry out which will be remaining in Iraq 50 thousand American soldiers. According to media reports, these troops rely on surviving in Iraq 94 military bases despite the fact that under the new operations they are engaged not only in combat training of the newly reconstructed Iraqi army, but also conduct so-called counter-terrorism actions, and if necessary ready to resume full-scale hostilities in Iraq."[6]

However, attempts to find simple solutions to the problems facing the Middle East region again ended in complete failure. This region is not only a serious military-political conflicts between member countries, but also huge contrasts from the point of view of their level of political, economic and socio-cultural development – contrasts which do not exist, for example, in Europe. The region includes some of the most wealthy and the poorest countries of the world. Annual income per capita in the region ranges from $ 1,000 to more than $ 100000. Despite isolated pockets of affluence, the majority of 530 million people in the region suffer from poverty, inequality, corruption, unemployment and lawlessness.

The most important tool in Washington's military policy in the Middle East region was and remains the Central command (CENTCOM) of the armed forces of the United States (US Central Command, Centcom). CENTCOM is responsible for the planning of operations and, in the event of hostilities, the control of American troops in the area, covering the area of the Middle East, Arabian Peninsula, Persian Gulf, southwest Asia and Central Asia.

So, official Washington and the Central command in recent years more and more rely in its regional policy is not Pro-Western liberals, and the traditional holders of power and influence in the face of tribal elders and "warlords". Would these people, however, listen to American notation about the "democratic values" and "human rights"?

Of course, not only in democratic values. United States, with rare exceptions, post on a permanent basis its armed forces mainly in the highly developed capitalist countries with stable democratic regimes. It is not surprising therefore that, despite the massive military presence of American troops in the area of responsibility of CENTCOM, where there are relatively few permanent American military bases at which stationed U.S. military (2333 people in Bahrain, 29 people in Egypt, 158 people in Qatar, 37 people – in the United Arab Emirates). The actual rejection of plans for "democratization" of the Middle East means that a permanent American military presence in the region will remain very modest and huge American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq will sooner or later be removed. And this, in turn, will inevitably impact on the political influence of the United States in this vital region.

Thus, we can conclude that the middle East is an important geopolitical space from the point of ensuring international stability and security as a whole. From a strategic point of view, this region is the transition zone between Europe, Asia and Africa, and the development environment has a significant impact on the stability of the entire Eurasian region, especially to the national interests of many countries of the world. The presence of large hydrocarbon resources in the region are conducive to an active policy of the leading countries in access to and control over these resources of strategic raw materials. In this region there are large U.S. military bases, designed to ensure strategic interests. Along with this the middle East for decades is one of the most militarized regions in the world. On key indicators of militarization and military spending in absolute terms, countries in the region are the leaders among developing countries, and according to some indices ahead and developed countries.

To prove the existence of the Americans Messianic purposes, a priori confidence in their right and duty to spread freedom means breaking down open doors. The first attempt to establish "Pax Americana", based on economic power and a nuclear monopoly, the US has taken at Truman. Even then, America gave itself the right to pre-emptive strikes and took a course on the creation of the military machine, to counter which no one was supposed to be the slightest chance. The very possibility of a potential enemy "in the process of industrial and scientific development to attack the United States and to defend against our attack" was declared a crime worthy of a nuclear strike.

To realize the Messianic idea of world domination after the Second world war failed. The USSR did not allow. Which led to the emergence of a "containment strategy" and a long "cold war".

The collapse of the Soviet Union was really one of the greatest geopolitical catastrophes that shook, literally, the whole world. USA and the West in General, it took a while to get used to new realities, to become aware of the incident. In the 90-ies of America gently but steadily, gaining momentum, testing the limits of the possible. Until, finally, they decided that such boundaries for US no, we could do anything. Then came the time of George W. Bush. Bush was intended to make US global power, what we call the unipolar world. It is most closely aligned with, first, the purposes and tasks which the country is considered vital; and secondly, methods for their implementation, which at the time seemed the United States optimum. Only country who believed in his limitless power and his unlimited right, could the President and the consent of Congress and the Senate, to leave the world: "Who is not with us is against us".

In the absence of equal military enemy, the U.S. failed to convert unprecedented in human history economic and military power in unlimited political power. Politics George W. Bush was awakened in all continents, practically in all countries, even allied with the U.S., a powerful anti-American sentiment, unforeseen energy resistance. The world did not accept the dictates of America. Opened bleak prospect of opposition (in various forms) on the principle of "all against America, and America against all". For such a confrontation even resources of the United States was not enough.

U.S. policy has always distinguished a harmonious blend of tenacity, consistency in goals and flexibility in methods. Which in no small degree contributed, and the two-party system. Therefore, the failure of the policies of George Bush could not fail to produce in US the desire to find other ways, other strategies to achieve the goal to which the country had pursued for decades. With the coming to power in the U.S. Obama the world has been transformed America, voluntarily refused the role of dictator, having put on the difficult mission to be the leader of mankind on the way of building a "new era of engagement". The only superpower puts its power at the service of the common good, and the rest of the country, also realizing the responsibility, unite around the leader and make a reasonable contribution to the solution of global human problems. But this concept did not last for long, and the reason for this was:

  1. Obama's policy is hardly enough for a year.
  2. It quickly became clear that the country that consumes more than it produces, and perceptions of "common good" diverge greatly from the other States and peoples.
  3. Multi-billion dollar program of humanitarian aid will solve nothing.

Realizing the inevitability of revolutionary upheavals in the Arab world, and the lack of resources for the policy of maintaining the status quo in an essential region of the U.S. has taken a course in aggravation. The calculation is clear: possessing absolute supremacy over all States in economic, military and information fields, America should be the main recipient of the output from this crisis.

If the rehearsal of a new strategy in the middle East is successful, it may include in the "draft Obama". And then in the post-Soviet space we will soon see a revival of the discontented masses. This will be the "color" revolutions of the new generation.


Borovkov And I.



  1. Sidorin, A. N., Prishchepov M. V., Akulenko, V. P. the U.S. Armed forces in the twenty-first century: the Military and political work. – Moscow: Kuchkovo field; Military book, 2013
  2. Batiuk V. I. "American military strategy in the greater middle East", the magazine "Russia and America in XXI century", 2009
  3. Middle East in international relations.
  4. In February media information war against Libya – http://
  5. The online edition of Russia and America in the twenty-first century. http://www. rusus. ru /?act=read&id=260
  6. The current strategy of USA and NATO publ/50-1-0-607
  7. Igor Shishkin: Why America blew up the greater middle East?

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