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US to Send an Additional 1,800 Troops to Saudi Arabia to Boost Defenses Against Iran
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=33048"><span class="small">Dan Lamothe, The Washington Post</span></a>   
Friday, 11 October 2019 13:07

Lamothe writes: "The Pentagon will deploy an additional 1,800 U.S. troops to Saudi Arabia, senior defense officials announced Friday, a modest increase in the U.S. military's presence in the Middle East meant to deter aggressive Iranian actions."

The U.S. has now deployed approximately 3,000 extra U.S. troops to the Middle East in the last month. (photo: Getty)
The U.S. has now deployed approximately 3,000 extra U.S. troops to the Middle East in the last month. (photo: Getty)


US to Send an Additional 1,800 Troops to Saudi Arabia to Boost Defenses Against Iran

By Dan Lamothe, The Washington Post

11 October 19

 

he Pentagon will deploy an additional 1,800 U.S. troops to Saudi Arabia, senior defense officials announced Friday, a modest increase in the U.S. military’s presence in the Middle East meant to deter aggressive Iranian actions.

The deployments include two fighter squadrons, an air expeditionary wing headquarters unit, two Patriot missile batteries and one air-defense unit operating a system known as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD. The Pentagon said last month that some of those units were preparing to deploy.

The deployments come as the Pentagon wrestles with how to deter Iran while simultaneously pivoting itself for greater competition with China across the globe. A strike group led by aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln has been in the Middle East for months, and Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper declined to say Friday whether its deployment would be extended.

Esper, speaking Friday at the Pentagon, said that evidence recovered from recent attacks in the Persian Gulf region “prove that Tehran is responsible,” and that Iran’s bad behavior is part of a broader campaign to disrupt the global economy.

“Iran’s attempts to use terror, intimidation and military force to advance its interests are inconsistent with international norms,” Esper said.

The defense secretary said he spoke Friday with the Saudi minister of defense, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, to discuss Saudi Arabia’s defensive capabilities and U.S. efforts to protect partners in the region from further Iranian aggression.

“Saudi Arabia is a longstanding security partner in the Middle East, and it has asked for additional support to supplement their own defenses and defend the international rules-based order,” Esper said.

President Trump has long praised Saudi Arabia as a partner and a prolific buyer of American arms. But the kingdom has grown increasingly unpopular among Republican and Democratic lawmakers for its role in a brutal war in Yemen that has left tens of thousands of civilians dead, many from indiscriminate Saudi airstrikes using U.S.-supplied weapons.

The new deployments, taken together with others authorized within the last month, boost the number of U.S. troops in the Middle East by about 3,000, Esper said. An additional 14,000 U.S. troops have been deployed to the region since the spring, he added, with additional Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps units ready to deploy if necessary.

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