The Pentagon does not publicly acknowledge the American presence at Al-Dhafra, but the twin-runway airfield has become a vital part of U.S.-led campaign against the Islamic State.
On many nights, the U.S. planes are accompanied by a wave of F-16 Fighting Falcons operated by the UAE’s air force, Chandrasekaran reports. The UAE has indeed become America’s closest ally in the fight against ISIL.
“The UAE has gone all in,” said retired General Anthony Zinni, a former CENTCOM commander. “It’s the strongest relationship that the United States has in the Arab world today.” (The Washington Post, 9 November)
Shared concerns over the rise of militant Islam and Iran’s regional policies and nuclear program are likely to be the foundation of the growing U.S.-UAE relationship.
File photo: Emblem of the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing (380 AEW), attached to U.S. Air Force Central (AFCENT) stationed at Al-Dhafar Air Base, the UAE.