US to send troops to Saudi Arabia amid regional tensions

20 Juillet, 2019, 11:14 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
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With Iranian military threats in mind, the United States is sending American forces, including fighter aircraft, air defense missiles and likely more than 500 troops, to a Saudi airbase that became a hub of American airpower in the Middle East in the 1990s but was abandoned by Washington after it toppled Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein in 2003.

The move would provide "an additional deterrent, and ensures our ability to defend our forces and interests in the region from emergent, credible threats", the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said in a statement.

A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the deployment would include about 500 USA military personnel in Saudi Arabia, and is part of a boost in the number of US troops in the Middle East that the Pentagon announced last month.

Saudi Arabia has not hosted USA forces since 2003 when they withdrew following the end of the war with Iraq.

Earlier in the day, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud reportedly approved hosting of USA troops in the kingdom in a bid to enhance security in the region.

"This movement creates improvement of operational depth and logistical networks".

The SPA quoted a Ministry of Defence official who said United States troops would enter the kingdom "to increase joint cooperation in defence of regional security and stability and to preserve its peace".

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The state-run Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported the move earlier but did not provide details on the number of USA troops that are expected to arrive in the Kingdom.

The move aims to "increase joint cooperation in defense of regional security and stability and to preserve its peace", the report said.

The troops are part of a US deployment plan that will send 1,000 additional troops to the Middle East, the CNN report said.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry announced that U.S. troops would be based in the country, speaking volumes of the regional realignment of USA military power.

Neither the US Department of Defence or Riyadh have confirmed the location to which the US troops will be deployed. They are laying the ground work for a Patriot anti-missile battery as well as performing manual labor to improve parts of the runway and tarmac areas, Pentagon officials, speaking on background, said Thursday. Supported by an all-American array of creature comforts like fast-food restaurants and swimming pools, USA forces there flew and maintained air force fighters and other warplanes.

"The goal of Operation Sentinel is to promote maritime stability, ensure safe passage, and de-escalate tensions in worldwide waters throughout the Arabian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, the Bab el-Mandeb Strait (BAM) and the Gulf of Oman", it said.

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