All Eyes on Middle East and Balkans for Next US Combat Caper

© REUTERS / Rafael MarchanteNATO soldiers participate in NATO Exercise Trident Juncture in Troia, near Setubal, Portugal November 5, 2015.
NATO soldiers participate in NATO Exercise Trident Juncture in Troia, near Setubal, Portugal November 5, 2015. - Sputnik International
The next major US military operation is likely to take place in the Middle East or the Balkans, according to an analysis published by the US magazine The National Interest.

The US is most likely to enter into a military operation in the Middle East or the Balkans, according to a study of its most recent military activities which was published in the US magazine The National Interest.

Author Daniel Sukman created a graphic to display the US' combat and peacekeeping operations over the last 35 years, from which he deduced the next most likely targets.

​"If recent history is a guide to the future, the next major combat operation will likely occur in either the Middle East or the Balkans. Indeed, the current crisis in Syria and Iraq lend a degree of confirmation to this prediction," wrote Sukman.

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He identified the Middle East as the most likely location for major military operations, citing half a dozen US operations in the region since 1980, as well as counter-terrorism and drone strike missions such as those in Pakistan and Yemen.

Europe's position as a bridge to the Middle East is one of the elements contributing to the possibility of US combat operations there, particularly in the Balkans, said Sukman.

"The US military also continues to provide both the backbone and muscle of NATO, having contributed air power over Kosovo and major logistical support to NATO allies."

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"Indeed, over the past thirty-five years, major combat operations and peacekeeping operations took place in the Balkans with a heavy emphasis on both air power and ground forces."

Sukman, a US Army strategist, recommended that the US invest in infrastructure so that its armed forces are able to travel to combat operations in Europe and the Middle East. He also questioned the effectiveness of the current US strategy that favors air and naval power, and relies on partner nations to provide ground forces.

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