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An American soldier stands guard during a joint patrol with Turkish troops in the Syrian village of al-Hashisha. Photo: Delil Souleiman/AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. has maintained a costly presence in the Middle East for decades, with at least 60,000 troops currently stationed around the region, according to United States Central Command.

Driving the news: The killing of Iran's Gen. Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in a U.S. drone strike has put the world on edge, with Iran promising revenge. The U.S. is preparing to deploy about 3,000 additional troops to the region, and had already sent 750 troops after protesters attacked the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

By the numbers: The U.S. has nearly 800 military bases around the world, and U.S. Central Command says between 60,000 and 70,000 U.S. troops are in the Middle East.

  • Afghanistan: 14,000 U.S. troops are in the country, plus 8,000 NATO soldiers.
  • Bahrain: More than 7,000 American troops, mostly Navy, maintain Persian Gulf security in Bahrain.
    • Troops are stationed at Naval Support-Bahrain, Shaykh Isa Air Base and Khalifa Ibn Salman Port.
  • Iraq: About 5,200 U.S. troops were in Iraq as of January, per the Defense Department. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said American troops are presently deployed in Iraq to help combat ISIS.
    • The number is likely to change soon as the Iraqi military said U.S. troops are no longer allowed to stay in the country.
  • 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, including those at the U.S. Army Central's forward headquarters.
    • The troops are stationed at Camp Buehring, Ali al-Salem Air Base, Camp Arifjan, Camp Patriot and Shaykh Ahmad al-Jabir Air Base.
  • 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.
    • The troops are stationed at Port of Salalah and Port of Duqm
  • Qatar: As many as 13,000 American troops are in Qatar, with plans to expand bases. The Gulf nation supports U.S. efforts to combat regional terrorism.
    • The troops are stationed at Al Udeid Air Base and Camp As Sayliyah.
  • Saudi Arabia: The Trump administration announced on Nov. 19 that approximately 3,000 U.S. troops will be deployed to Saudi Arabia to protect the region "against hostile action by Iran and its proxy forces," according to a press release.
  • Syria: The U.S. Central Command is unable to disclose the current number of troops due to safety concerns.
    • A spokesperson from the DOD said approximately 2,000 U.S. service members were in Syria before Trump pulled the troops, but around 800 might remain to protect oil resources, the Military Times reports.
  • 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.
    • The U.S. has air bases in Izmir and Incirlik.
  • United Arab Emirates: 5,000 U.S. troops are stationed in the UAE, the tiny nation near to the Strait of Hormuz.
    • The troops are stationed at Al Dhafra Air Base, Port of Jebel Ali and Fujairah Naval Base.

Yes, but: There are other U.S. bases in the region, but the locations aren't disclosed for security purposes.

Go deeper:

Editor's note: Updates with developments following the killing of Soleimani and al-Muhandis.

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
Jan 5, 2021 - World

Biden's nuclear dilemma: Iran's move on enrichment raises the stakes

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden hopes to revive the Iran nuclear deal after taking office, but that task is only growing more daunting.

Driving the news: Iran announced today that it would begin to enrich uranium to 20% — within striking distance of weapons-grade levels — at its underground Fordow facility.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Several states report zero COVID deaths for the first time in months — CDC says schools should still universally require masks and physical distancing.
  2. Politics: New York to lift mask mandate for vaccinated people — CDC director says politics didn't play a role in abrupt mask policy shift.
  3. Vaccines: Sanofi, GSK COVID vaccine shows strong immune response in phase 2 trials — Vaccine-hesitant Americans cite inaccurate side effects — 600,000 kids between 12 and 15 have received Pfizer dose since FDA authorization.
  4. Business: How retailers are responding to the latest CDC guidance — Delta to require all new employees be vaccinated — Target, CVS and other stores ease mask requirements after CDC guidance.
  5. World: World's largest vaccine maker expects to resume exports by end of 2021 — Biden administration to send 20 million U.S.-authorized vaccine doses abroad.
  6. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
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Scoop: Biden to waive sanctions on company in charge of Nord Stream 2

Angela Merkel (left) with Vladimir Putin. Photo: Adam Berry/Getty Images

The Biden administration will waive sanctions on the corporate entity and CEO overseeing the construction of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline into Germany, according to two sources briefed on the decision.

Why it matters: The decision indicates the Biden administration is not willing to compromise its relationship with Germany over this pipeline, and underscores the difficulties President Biden faces in matching actions to rhetoric on a tougher approach to Russia.