U.S. to boost Gulf presence after Iraq pullout: report

WASHINGTON Sun Oct 30, 2011 11:36am EDT

U.S. soldiers fold their national flag as they prepare to hand over their base to Iraqi forces in Iraq's southern province of Basra June 22, 2011.  REUTERS/Atef Hassan

U.S. soldiers fold their national flag as they prepare to hand over their base to Iraqi forces in Iraq's southern province of Basra June 22, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Atef Hassan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is planning to bolster its military presence in the Gulf after it pulls out its remaining troops from Iraq, the New York Times reported in its online edition on Sunday.

President Barack Obama said on October 21 that he had decided to withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of the year and the paper said that U.S. military officers and diplomats worried that the withdrawal could bring instability to the region.

It said Washington was negotiating to maintain a combat presence on the ground in Kuwait and was considering deploying more warships in the area.

No one at the Pentagon was immediately available to comment.

The United States also wanted to expand its military ties with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) -- Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman, it said.

The proposal needed approval by GCC leaders who are due to meet in the Saudi capital Riyadh in December, the paper said.

(Editing by Louise Ireland)