US shifts Middle East command center from Qatar to South Carolina after 13 years

US Air Force officials said recent incidents involving Iran added urgency to the change. (File photo: Reuters)

The US command and control in the Middle East moved its post in Qatar back to the US on Saturday for the first time in 13 years, according to The Washington Post.

Since the 1991 Gulf War, the Al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar has been used to command fighter jets and other Air Force assets in the Middle East. But over the weekend control over the regional air power of the US and its allies shifted to the Shaw Air Base in South Carolina.

The unannounced operation was temporary as Al-Udeid took back control on Sunday.

US Air Force officials told The Washington Post that recent incidents involving Iran added urgency to the change, which had been a long-held goal of the military’s, to move functions to a different base.

“Iran has indicated multiple times through multiple sources their intent to attack US forces,” said Col. Frederick Coleman, commander of the 609th Air and Space Operations Center, in an interview with The Washington Post.

“Frankly, as the war against ISIS winds down and as we continue to work through a potential peace process in Afghanistan, the region is calming down and potentially more stable than it has been in decades,” he said. “Except for Iran.”

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 10:00 - GMT 07:00