10 years ago
Central Command (CENTCOM), responsible for operations in the Middle East, East Africa and Central Asia, is currently located in Tampa, Florida. In what I see as a high stakes gambling move, the U.S. is moving CENTCOM to Qatar.
The United States will shift the headquarters of the Army’s Central Command to a new and expanded facility in Qatar, the US ambassador said here on Tuesday.
“Qatar and the US are cooperating towards building a new headquarters for the US Central Command. Camp Al Sayliyya has been the temporary base for several years. The two countries will expand the facilities at the Al Udeid airbase,” Chase Untermeyer told a press conference.
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“In fact there are plans to build more infrastructure at the Al Udeid airbase not just by the US, but also by the Government of Qatar … Now the Qatari Air Force operates out of the civil airport and at some point, in one or two years, they will operate from Al Udeid airbase, which means construction of extra facilities,” Untermeyer said.
Without going into detail on US troops in Qatar and the long-term objectives, the US envoy said: “We have a very strong military relationship with Qatar, but we are guests here, so I would not define how permanent our presence is.”
He said the bases do not host combat troops, but provide logistical support to the US Air Force and used as transit points for the military.
This move parallels the construction of the gigantic U.S. embassy in Baghdad, a mammoth $592 million facility. Despite protestations to the contrary from all sides, the U.S. will have a presence in the Middle East for years to come. Moreover, it is likely that the U.S. will not deploy forces completely out of Iraq or the Middle East for decades.
Just in case you object, the U.S. adminstration says, “you want to bet?”