Although the United States has been out of Iraq for several months, military officials are still planning to maintain a presence in the area. A proposal from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee would put 13,500 troops in neighboring Kuwait to let the U.S. respond to any developments in the region, The Associated Press reports.
The recommendation comes after the committee conducted a study that looked at the relationship between the United States and area nations including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar. Given the growing tension with Iran and the uncertainty caused by last year's Arab Spring, maintaining a presence seems like the right course of action, researchers determined.
"Home to more than half of the world's oil reserves and over a third of its natural gas, the stability of the Persian Gulf is critical to the global economy," the report said, according to the AP, which received an advanced copy. "However, the region faces a myriad of political and security challenges, from the Iranian nuclear program to the threat of terrorism to the political crisis in Bahrain."
There are currently about 15,000 soldiers stationed in Kuwait, so the plan would actually cause a slight decrease. However, there have been some estimates of about 40,000 total troops in the region in the future.