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June 25, 1996: Khobar Towers, Saudi Arabia

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Chapter Summary

The bombing of Air Force barracks at the Khobar Towers was a significant technical surprise to the United States. The bombing was important, because it was the first major strike at a U.S. military installation overseas since the 1983 Beirut bombing, and it represented a new threat against and attitude toward U.S. military forces stationed overseas. It had the potential to do significant damage to the U.S. mission in the Gulf and to derail efforts to restrain Iraq, although the 4404th Fighter Wing was fully active again within 48 hours of the bombing. The bombing was a failure of force protection, which was the fault of both military officers and policy makers, particularly because adequate intelligence and security depended on working with the Saudis. Public policy failures contributed to the bombing specifically dealing with Iran, working with the Saudis, and the ongoing U.S/U.N. fight with Iraq.

Keywords: Air Force barracks; Khobar Towers; public policy failures; Saudi Arabia; United States



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