- Tensions are rising in the Middle East between Washington and Tehran, severely affecting the world oil markets.
- Political analysts believe that the US military is deploying Patriot missile batteries and 500 US troops.
- Saudi Arabia has not received US troops since 2003 when it withdrew last time after the end of the Iraq war.
US forces are deployed in Saudi Arabia to defend US interests in the face of “serious emerging threats,” the Pentagon said. The move comes amid growing tension with Iran over the safety of shipping lines in the Gulf. Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz has agreed to “host US forces to enhance security and stability in the region,” according to the Saudi Press Agency.
The Saudi announcement came as part of a joint move aimed at strengthening regional security after rising tensions in the region, according to statements by the Saudi Defense Ministry. There have been no US troops in Saudi Arabia since 2003 when troops withdrew after the invasion of Iraq. The US presence in the kingdom began with Operation Desert Storm in 1991, when Iraq invaded Kuwait.
Political analysts believe that the US military is deploying Patriot missile batteries and 500 US troops at Prince Sultan base in Saudi Arabia. The United States also plans to deploy a squadron of F-22 fighter jets at the same base. “The movement of forces provides additional deterrence and ensures our ability to protect our forces and interests in the region from serious emerging threats,” the US Central Command said in a statement.
“Based on the joint cooperation between Saudi Arabia and the United States, and in the interest of promoting everything that would preserve the security and stability of the region, King Salman agreed to receive US military forces,” a Saudi Defense Ministry spokesman was quoted as saying.
Tensions are rising in the Middle East between Washington and Tehran, severely affecting the world oil markets. Iran said it had seized a British tanker in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday morning, but denied Washington’s claim to have dropped an Iranian drone earlier this week. The United States has blamed Iran for attacks on oil tankers in the region since May.
The tension between the United States and Iran has grown sharply since the United States tightened sanctions it re-imposed on Iran individually after the withdrawal from a nuclear deal with Iran reached in 2015.
About 200 US warplanes were stationed at Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz air base 80 kilometers from the Saudi capital of Riyadh during the Iraq war. US forces conducted about 2,700 operations a day conducted by the US Central Command in Saudi Arabia during that war.
Relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia remained close and cooperative until the September 11 terrorist attacks on a number of vital buildings in the United States, planned by Saudi-born Osama bin Laden, an al Qaeda leader.