US to send more troops, defense equipment to Saudi Arabia

US Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper speaks before a meeting with Saudi Arabia's Vice Minister of Defense Prince Khalid bin Salman and others at the Pentagon on August 29, 2019, in Washington, DC. (File photo)

The United States is planning to send a large number of additional forces, possibly thousands, to Saudi Arabia following the September 14 attack on its oil facilities, which Washington and Riyadh have blamed on Iran, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Friday.

A statement from Chief Pentagon Spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman confirmed that US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper informed Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman on Friday of the additional troop deployment to assure and enhance the defense of Saudi Arabia.

“At the request of US Central Command, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper authorized the deployment of additional US forces and the following equipment to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Two Fighter Squadrons, one Air Expeditionary Wing (AEW), two Patriot Batteries and one Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD),” Hoffman said.

“Taken together with other deployments, this constitutes an additional 3,000 forces that have been extended or authorized within the last month,” he added.

The deployment is part of a series of what the United States has described as defensive moves following the attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities last month, which rattled the global energy market.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:54 - GMT 06:54
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