The Biden administration is making a critical mistake by removing American military assets from the Middle East, which is sending the wrong message to participants in the nuclear talks in Vienna with Iran, the region's most dangerous aggressor, writes Vice Admiral (Ret.) John Miller, former commander of the U.S. Fifth Fleet, in an article on the Defense News website.
According to Miller, the Pentagon has already removed three Patriot anti-missile batteries from the Persian Gulf region, including one in Saudi Arabia, and the administration plans to remove additional military hardware, including an aircraft carrier strike group and intelligence collection systems.
In Vice Admiral Miller's opinion, U.S. Central Command should act quickly to prevent the transfer of arms from Iran to Yemen and Iraq, and the U.S. should act together with Saudi Arabia, Israel, Egypt and Jordan to develop air defense systems in the Red Sea. The admiral notes that Israel has a multilayered air defense system with medium and long-range missiles, and thus Israel can assist in defending interests in the Middle East.
Admiral Miller also wrote, "the U.S. Army should expedite its deployment of the two Israeli Iron Dome systems it recently acquired, and it should rapidly procure Israel’s David’s Sling interceptor. According to the U.S. director of air and missile defense, Brig. Gen. Brian Gibson, the Army has been testing and training the Iron Dome batteries, which should be ready for use by the end of 2021."
Iran has already attacked targets in Iraq and Saudi Arabia, proving they are capable of assaulting American interests in the region, Admiral Miller wrote, adding that the reduction of the military presence while facing such attacks may cause greater escalation by Tehran and its proxies.
He concludes the article by saying that the Biden administration is emphasizing strategic competition with China in the Indo-Pacific region. "Yet, the Biden administration need only look at dynamics in the Middle East to see great power competition playing out."