The battle for the Arctic: The US Army returned to Iceland

Air Force United States can return to the Keflavik air base after a ten-year absence.

The US military is considering the possibility of returning to Iceland because of “security concerns” in Europe. It is reported today, 11 September, Icelandic edition The Reykjavik Grapevine with reference to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iceland.

The Foreign Ministry of Iceland stress that formal negotiations on the issue have not yet started. As the newspaper notes, the Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Vork in a recent interview with Defense News said that the Russian military aircraft performs air borders flights around Iceland, and so the island nation is interested in deepening military cooperation with NATO.

As previously reported news agency REGNUM, Deputy Minister of Defense of the United States Bob Vork visited Iceland on September 6-7. In a press release of the US defense department stated that Vork met with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iceland Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson and other high-ranking Icelandic officials. The talks focused on US military cooperation with Iceland and security issues in the Arctic. Deputy Minister of Defense thanked Iceland for its contribution to the protection of the northern flank of NATO. In addition, the sides discussed the future operations of the US airbase of Keflavik. Coos trip to Iceland ended a visit to the airbase of Keflavik.

We recall that Iceland is located in a strategically important region of the North Atlantic, it joined NATO in April 1949. Iceland is the only NATO member state that does not have its own army. NATO as a whole, and especially the United States during the Cold War created on the island of impressive military infrastructure. Even during the Second World War was built in Iceland Keflavik air base the United States. After the Second World War, in 1946, Iceland’s parliament takes a decision on the transfer of this airfield for the US Air Force base. In 1951, it was concluded US-Icelandic defense agreement, to fix the status of the US military base.

In the mid-1950s the country’s movement for withdrawal of foreign troops from the island, prompting the government of Iceland to present 1 June 1956 a note to the US government, but because of the escalating international tensions, this requirement in December of the same year was canceled. The question of the presence of NATO troops on the territory of Iceland, has been raised repeatedly throughout the period of “cold war”. In 1985, Parliament unanimously adopted a decision to declare Iceland “nuclear-free zone”, prohibiting any place NATO nuclear weapons on the island.

In 2006, the American forces were withdrawn from the base in Keflavik, but a bilateral defense agreement is still in effect.

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