UK Strategizing About ‘Return to East of Suez’

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Context
01-05-2013_East of SuezOn April 29th, UK based think tank dealing with defense and security affairs, Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), presented a ‘Return to East of Suez’ policy brief. The paper suggests that Britain is considering placing its land, sea, and air forces across the Middle East, for touch and go type operations, which increasingly look likely due to the fragile situation of the Arab Spring inflicted region.

The report suggests that Arab awakening, the situation of Iran and Syria, has made the Middle East volatile and Britain had to prepare policy options on how to respond.

The potential policy shift is presented as a prudent attempt to place military assets around the region, for a number of explosive scenarios in the Middle East. According to the report, the potential missions could be in support of the American and European operations, but could be taken independently as well. And, it goes on to ease European worries that Britain is looking to operate outside of European security arrangement.

In a larger framework, as US pivots to the Pacific, UK may be pivoting towards the Middle East. Whether this is a coordinated move is not known yet, nonetheless, further reaction from other global powers is likely. At the time of French deployment in Mali, PoliTact had pointed out the move could trigger reactionary actions from other European nations, to develop their respective zones of influence.