US to deploy additional forces to Saudi Arabia

ARLINGTON (U.S.), Aug. 29, 2019 (Xinhua) — U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper (1st R) meets with Prince Khalid bin Salman (1st L), Saudi Arabia’s Vice Minister of Defense, at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, the United States, on Aug. 29, 2019. (Photo by Ting Shen/Xinhua/IANS)

Washington, Oct 12 (IANS) US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper has authorised an additional deployment of US military forces to Saudi Arabia to enhance the defence of the country.

The latest reinforcement includes two fighter squadrons, one Air Expeditionary Wing (AEW), two Patriot batteries, and one Terminal High Altitude Area Defence system (THAAD), the Pentagon said in a statement on Friday, Xinhua reported.

The statement noted that the Pentagon chief on Friday had informed Saudi Crown Prince and Minister of Defence Mohammed bin Salman of the latest force deployment, which aims to assure and enhance the defence of Saudi Arabia.

The statement made no mention of the exact number of the troops of the deployment.

Citing senior defence officials, the US media reported the troops’ number of the deployment authorised on Friday is around 1,800.

The Pentagon had increased the number of forces by approximately 14,000 to the US Central Command area of responsibility since May, according to the statement.

The tensions between the US and Iran have been escalated in recent months, pushing the region towards military conflicts.

Washington blamed Tehran for being responsible for the drone attacks on oil production facilities in eastern Saudi Arabia last month, a claim that has been strongly denied by Tehran.

In response, the US sent about 200 support personnel and missile defence equipment to Saudi Arabia, saying to “augment the kingdom’s air and missile defence of critical military and civilian infrastructure”.

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