Perspectives on the Persian Gulf military balance

Written by Jakob Aarøe Jørgensen, PhD Fellow at Center for War Studies

Anthony H. Cordesman, Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) has written an interesting report on US security challenges in the Middle East region. In this report, the first in a series of three, he explores ‘The Conventional and Asymmetric Dimensions’ of the Persian Gulf military balance.

The report focuses almost exclusively on the conventional and asymmetrical threats of one particular country, Iran. Cordesman argues that the US must continue to keep strong forces in the Persian Gulf in order to contain and deter Iran. The U.S. own military presence aside, Washington also needs to work with local strategic partners – i.e. Gulf states – along with global allies to neutralize both conventional and asymmetrical Iranian th

Cordesman’s report is particularly interesting because it provides a confrontationist approach to US-Iran relations in the midst of comprehensive diplomatic negotiations between the P5+1 states and Iran on a nuclear deal. He argues: "Barring an unpredictable diplomatic breakthrough, Iran will continue to challenge and undermine the US presence in the Middle East. The US cannot afford to be lax or dismissive in confronting Iran’s strategy. To effectively engage Iran, the US must continue to develop the means to counter Iran’s evolving assets throughout the region".

At a time where most of the world’s eyes are focused on what the results of the Obama administrations ‘diplomacy’ approach to Iran will be, Cordesman offers particularly enlightening insights into the threats and challenges that the U.S. face in the region. His insights serve as a reminder to U.S. and Allied policymakers that Iran will remain the Middle East’s most formidable threat. Unless of a genuine and comprehensive diplomatic breakthrough is reached, Western military capabilities need to remain preoccupied with reats.

how to cope with the Iranian challenge.

You can find the entire report here (CSIS website).