The Trump Administration announced that, as part of a new aid package to Saudi Arabia, it will include American troops and advanced military equipment—and it claims the goal is to protect its ally, while turning up the heat on Iran.
The Pentagon confirmed it will deploy hundreds of American troops and equipment to Saudi Arabia to show support for its ally, after an unprecedented attack on the kingdom’s oil facilities.
In a statement, a spokesperson said the deployment is meant to “augment the kingdom’s air and missile defense of critical military and civilian infrastructure.”
|In addition to around 200 troops, the shipment will include four Sentinel radar systems and a Patriot missile battery, which are designed to improve Saudi Arabia’s surveillance capabilities. The Pentagon noted that it has more equipment ready to send when needed, and it has given “Prepare to Deploy Orders” to an unspecified number of troops.|
The announcement comes nearly two weeks after an attack targeting the world’s largest oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia was so powerful that it cut the country’s oil production in half.
US intelligence officials were quick to place the blame on Iran, claiming that there was no way the attack could have come from Yemen—even after Houthi rebels in the country claimed responsibility.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo referred to the attack as “an act of war,” and he is leading the charge to call on US allies in Europe to send their troops to Saudi Arabia as well, in a show of force against Iran.
Saudi Arabia’s minister of foreign affairs told the UN General Assembly that now is the time for the world to put the utmost pressure on Iran by cutting off its financial resources.
“The latest attacks and aggression have exposed the Iranian regime to the entire world. We are dealing with a rogue and terrorist regime that continues to threaten international peace and security,” Ibrahim al-Assaf said. “It is also jeopardizing our energy supplies and the world economy. Hence the recent attacks are a real test of the international community’s will.”
Iran has repeatedly denied any involvement, and President Rouhani said the countries making the accusations against Iran should present evidence of their claims.
“I told leaders when you accuse a country of something, do you know what that means? It means chaos and triggering a crisis, and fire in the region. They had no answer,” Rouhani said. “I told all of them that when I arrive in Tehran I would be waiting for your evidence.”
While Trump initially said that he was “locked and loaded” and ready to respond to the attack against Saudi Arabia, he has since repeated the claim that he wants to withhold from bombing Iran.
“For all of those that say, ‘Oh, they should do it. It shows weakness. It shows…’ Actually, in my opinion, it shows strength. Because the easiest thing I could do, ‘Okay, go ahead. Knock out 15 different major things in Iran.’ I could do that and—all set to go. It’s all set to go. But I’m not looking to do that if I can,” Trump said.
Meanwhile, the Trump Administration’s continued economic sanctions and warnings of aggression from Iran without providing concrete evidence, coupled with the latest deployment of troops is raising concerns that this conflict is still far from over.