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U.S. eyes Persian Gulf buildup

Oct. 30, 2011 at 10:24 AM

WASHINGTON, Oct. 30 (UPI) -- A boost in the U.S. military presence in the Persian Gulf could come as the last troops are withdrawn from Iraq, officials said.

U.S. military officials as well as officials of countries in the region have shown concern that the withdrawal of troops from Iraq could cause instability in the area. In light of an increasing threat from Iran, the Obama administration is seeking to reinforce military ties with Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman, The New York Times reported.

Central Command officers expect to position combat forces in Kuwait, incorporating successful deployment plans from previous years, although no specifics have been discussed, the Times said. The size of the combat force is still under negotiation, but officials predict smaller deployments.

"We are kind of thinking of going back to the way it was before we had a big 'boots on the ground' presence," Maj. Gen. Karl R. Horst, Central Command's chief of staff, told the newspaper. "I think it is healthy. I think it is efficient. I think it is practical."

The United States is also considering deploying more naval warships to international waters in the area, officials said.

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