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Bahraini Unrest Stirs Unease in Washington

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Alternate ones include the United Arab Emirates (UAE) or Qatar, though neither has the capacity to handle 40 ships and 30,000 personnel, so moving there remains years away.

Sources say the UAE is most likely as the navy already stations its aircraft carriers at Jebel Ali, Dubai's main port, and maintains an Al Dhafra air base.

Washington also has its forward CENTCOM headquarters in Qatar at its Al Udeid air base, 45 km from Doha, the capital. In addition, it pre-positioned large equipment supplies at Sayliyah army base. 

Moreover, a new port being built outside Doha has been expanded to include a naval base, adjoining the commercial facility. However, local sources say it's mainly for Qatar's navy, though plans could easily change.

However, any move from Bahrain would be costly, time consuming, and logistically hard because of the Fifth Fleet's size. Nonetheless, political realities may force a change. At the same time, Bahrain will pay a price if it happens. The fleet's been there for decades, using its port since the 1940s with a larger presence since the 1970s, expanded in the early 1990s.

It's located in the heart of the Persian Gulf near the Strait of Hormuz through which about 40% of the world's oil flows.

On March 16, the World Tribune headlined, "Sources: Fifth Fleet abandons base in Bahrain; Navy denies evacuation underway," saying:

"The US Navy has begun to vacate its facilities in Bahrain, diplomatic sources said," despite CENTCOM's denial. If reports were accurate, many personnel "were transfered to Oman, where a naval exercise was taking place."

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Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a (more...)
 

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