The U.S. has maintained a costly presence in the Middle East for decades, with at least 60,000 troops stationed around the region, according to United States Central Command.
Driving the news: The Department of Defense announced Friday it will send more American troops to Saudi Arabia following mid-September attacks on the world's largest oil processing facility at Abqaiq and a major oil field at Khurais. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Saudi officials claim Iran was responsible for the attack, despite the nation's denial.
By the numbers: The U.S. has nearly 800 military bases around the world, and U.S. Central Command says there are between 60,000 and 70,000 U.S. troops in the Middle East.
- Afghanistan: 14,000 U.S. troops in the country, plus 8,000 NATO soldiers.
- Bahrain: The small Gulf island-nation is home to more than 7,000 American troops, mostly Navy. Bahrain is "pivotal to maintaining Persian Gulf security" given its location.
- Iraq: About 5,200 U.S. troops are in Iraq as of January, per a spokesperson from the Department of Defense. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said American troops are presently deployed in Iraq to help combat ISIS.
- Jordan: Approximately 2,795 U.S. troops support operations to defeat ISIS and promote regional stability.
- Kuwait: Over 13,000 American troops are stationed in Kuwait, which also includes the U.S. Army Central's forward headquarters. The Kuwaiti government often supports the U.S. to counter Iran, and is part of the Saudi-led coalition to combat Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. The only other countries that host more U.S. troops are Germany, Japan and South Korea.
- Oman: A few hundred U.S. soldiers are in Oman, near the Strait of Hormuz. The country has hosted U.S. operations since 1980, and has assisted the U.S. in combating ISIS.
- Qatar: There are as many as 13,000 American troops in Qatar, with future plans to expand the base. The Gulf nation supports U.S. efforts to combat regional terrorism.
- Saudi Arabia: The U.S. pulled most of its soldiers out following the Sept. 11 attacks. However, there were plans to send more than 500 troops there as of early September following increasing tensions with Iran and to provide Saudi forces with assistance in Yemen, per AP. The Trump administration announced plans to send hundred more following attacks on Saudi oil facilities on Sept. 14.
- Syria: Approximately 2,000 U.S. service members are in Syria, according to a spokesperson from the DOD. Syria is still in the midst of a civil war that's seen multiple countries get involved — including the U.S., Russia and Turkey.
- Turkey: The number of American troops in Turkey isn't clear, but the country's strategic location makes it valuable for transporting arms and people.
- United Arab Emirates: 5,000 U.S. troops are stationed in the UAE, the tiny nation situated near to the Strait of Hormuz.
Where U.S. troops are located:
- Oman: Port of Salalah and Port of Duqm
- Turkey: Izmir and Incirlik Air Bases
- United Arab Emirates: Al Dhafra Air Base, Port of Jebel Ali and Fujairah Naval Base
- Kuwait: Camp Buehring, Ali al-Salem Air Base, Camp Arifjan, Camp Patriot and Shaykh Ahmad al-Jabir Air Base
- Bahrain: Naval Support-Bahrain, Shaykh Isa Air Base and Khalifa Ibn Salman Port
- Qatar: Al Udeid Air Base and Camp As Sayliyah
Yes, but: There are other U.S. bases in the region, but the locations aren't disclosed for security purposes.
The big picture: Even with all of these troops in the Middle East, the U.S. is still prepared to send more if tensions with Iran continue to escalate after the U.S. exited the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal.
- The White House announced it would deploy 1,500 additional troops to the Middle East in May to "enhance protection of forces already in the region."
- The Pentagon also presented a plan to White House national security officials to send up to 120,000 troops to the Middle East if Iran attacked American forces.