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Official Says Peace, Security in Middle East Are Possible Through Partnerships

Oct. 6, 2021 | BY David Vergun , DOD News

Integrated deterrence and a whole-of-government approach with allies and partners across the Middle East is key to enabling peace and stability in the region, a Defense Department official said.

Mara Karlin, performing the duties of deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, spoke today at a virtual Middle East Institute Defense Leadership Series event.  

"This means that we want to think about how to maintain our status in the Middle East,as a partner of choice by supporting our regional partners and affirming our shared interests to counter common threats," Karlin said.

Soldiers get in position with guns.
Jordanian Armed Forces
Jordanian Armed Forces personnel provide security and medical care to simulated casualties during a visit, board, search and seizure scenario as part of Exercise Infinite Defender 21 at Aqaba Naval Base, Jordan, Sept. 23, 2021.
Photo By: Marine Corps Sgt. Benjamin McDonald
VIRIN: 210923-M-SX452-104C

The U.S. military is a global power with global reach, she said.

As a recent example, consider the evacuation of 124,000 people in just a few weeks: That was "just extraordinary," she said.

Although the U.S. military might not have as many boots on the ground as it once did in the region, it can still project sustainable power through dynamic force deployment using its carrier strike groups, over-the-horizon capabilities and coordination with allies and partners in anti-terrorism efforts and deterring bad behavior by Iran, she said.

On working together with partners, Karlin provided some examples.

A soldier stands in front of a helicopter.
Flight Check
Sailors assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron, perform pre-flight maintenance checks on an MH-60S Seahawk helicopter onboard Naval Support Activity, Bahrain, Sept. 22, 2021. HSC-26 is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of naval operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the region.
Photo By: Army Cpl. Thiem Huynh
VIRIN: 210922-A-RK348-0022

The U.S. is working with Gulf partner nations to develop integrated air and missile defense systems to defend against ballistic missile threats, she said.

The Abraham Accords between the U.S., Israel, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, agreed upon last year, are also likely to foster greater regional security cooperation, she said.

Jordan has also played a key role in counterterrorism efforts in the region, and its counterterrorism forces have helped to train other regional partners, Karlin said.

Soldiers get in position with guns.
Infinite Defender
Jordanian Armed Forces personnel provide security during a visit, board, search and seizure scenario as part of Exercise Infinite Defender 21 at Aqaba Naval Base, Jordan, Sept. 23, 2021.
Photo By: Marine Corps Sgt. Benjamin McDonald
VIRIN: 210923-M-SX452-063C

Iraqi security forces, including the Kurdish Peshmerga, have also been especially helpful in the fight against terrorism, and the U.S. has continued helping to professionalize their military forces and assisted in increasing their military capacity and capability, she said.

The United Kingdom, France and other NATO allies have also been particularly helpful in providing military support to partners in the region, as well, she added.