US foreign policy

US military unit that built bases in Middle East shuts down: Pentagon

According to the Biden administration’s new national security strategy, released last week, US foreign policy has “too often defaulted to military-centric policies underpinned by an unrealistic faith in force and regime change to deliver sustainable outcomes.”

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A US Air Force unit that helped build airfields in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries in the region has been folded, a Pentagon official said Wednesday, as the United States looks to alter its military involvement in the Middle East.

The Air Force's Expeditionary Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineer [RED HORSE] units are specialized, expeditionary capability, military officials told Al Arabiya English.

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The 557th Expeditionary RED HORSE held a ceremony last weekend in Qatar at the al-Udeid Air Base to mark the end of its service.

Washington has slowly reduced the number of troops it has on the ground in the Middle East, especially following the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021.

According to the Biden administration’s new national security strategy, released last week, US foreign policy has “too often defaulted to military-centric policies underpinned by an unrealistic faith in force and regime change to deliver sustainable outcomes.”

And with the leading threats to US national security emanating from China and Russia, the United States has been adjusting its political and military postures to adapt.

US outlet Stars and Stripes first reported on the unit's closing and said the Air Force’s 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron was deactivated last month.

“We have changing priorities,” Col. Anthony Figiera, the Commander of the 99th Mission Support Group, told Stars and Stripes.

Nevertheless, the US continues and will continue to be involved in the Middle East.

In February, the Air Force announced that it was hoping to complete 38 active construction projects by next month. The $1.4 billion worth of construction is part of a master plan that includes providing mission flexibility to commanders and upgrading airfield and flight line operations.

The new framework for foreign policy outlined in the national security strategy said the US would “make sure” its allies in the Middle East were able to defend themselves against foreign threats. The new strategy also states that the US will not allow foreign or regional powers to jeopardize the free flow of navigation through the Middle East’s waterways.

Read more: US military studying plans to build testing center in Saudi Arabia: CENTCOM

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