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U.S. Army report recommends maintaining Fifth Fleet base in Bahrain

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WASHINGTON — The United States is concerned over the future of its military presence in Bahrain, a report said.

Bahraini officials "view the presence of the U.S. Fifth Fleet headquarters in Bahrain as an important deterrent limiting Iran's options against them."

The U.S. Army has determined that the presence of the American naval presence could be endangered by Shi’ite unrest in Bahrain. A report by the army war college’s Strategic Studies Institute asserted that Bahrain, which hosts the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, was increasingly worried over the threat by Iran.

“Bahrain however is the most problematic of the Gulf Arab allies due the government’s brutal repression of pro-reform demonstrators who are overwhelmingly drawn from that country’s Shi’ite majority,” the report, titled “The Arab Upheavals and the Future of the U.S. Military Policies and Presence in the Middle East and the Gulf,” said.

Authored by Andrew Terrill, the report urged Washington to maintain its military presence in Bahrain despite U.S. criticism of the Gulf Cooperation Council kingdom headed by King Hamad Bin Issa Al Khalifa.

Terrill said Bahrain, with tiny energy resources, was looking to the United States to prevent a total dependence on Saudi Arabia.

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