SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE STATEMENT OF GENERAL DAVID H. PETRAEUS, U.S. ARMY, COMMANDER U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND BEFORE THE SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE ON THE AFGHANISTAN-PAKISTAN STRATEGIC REVIEW AND THE POSTURE OF U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND
01 APR 2009
The Arabian Peninsula commands significant US attention and focus because of its importance to our interests and the potential for insecurity. These Arab states on the Peninsula are the nations of the AOR most politically and commercially connected to the US and Europe. They are more developed economically and collectively wield defense forces far larger than any of their neighbors, and they are major providers of the world’s energy resources. However, many Gulf Arabs suffer from degrees of disenfranchisement and economic inequity, and some areas of the Peninsula contain extremist sentiment and proselytizing. As a result, the Peninsula has been a significant source of funding and manpower for extremist groups and foreign fighters. These internal troubles are often aggravated and intensified by external factors, such as the Iranian regime’s destabilizing behavior, instability in the Palestinian territories and southern Lebanon, the conflict in Iraq, and weapons proliferation.
Because of the Peninsula’s importance and its numerous common security challenges, the countries of the Arabian Peninsula are key partners in the developing regional security network described above. CENTCOM ground, air, maritime, and special operations forces participate in numerous operations and training events, bilateral and multilateral, with our partners from the Peninsula. We help develop indigenous capabilities for counter terrorism; border, maritime, and critical infrastructure security; and deterring Iranian aggression. As a part of all this, our FMS and FMF programs are helping to improve the capabilities and interoperability of our partners’ forces. We are also working toward an integrated air and missile defense network for the Gulf. All of these cooperative efforts are facilitated by the critical base and port facilities that Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, the UAE, and others provide for US forces.
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