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US Says to Deploy Additional Forces to Saudi Arabia

US Says to Deploy Additional Forces to Saudi Arabia

Friday, 11 October, 2019 - 17:15
In this file photo taken on July 18, 2019, US Marine Corps General Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. (C-L), Commander of the US Central Command (CENTCOM), shakes hands with Saudi military officers during his visit to a military base in al-Kharj in central Saudi Arabia. AFP

The Pentagon announced on Friday a new deployment of forces to Saudi Arabia to confront Iranian threats in the region.

The planned deployment will include fighter squadrons, one air expeditionary wing and air defense personnel, the Pentagon said.

It said it was sending two additional Patriot batteries and one Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD).

"Taken together with other deployments, this constitutes an additional 3,000 forces that have been extended or authorized within the last month," Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said at a news conference at the Pentagon on Friday that “Saudi Arabia is a longstanding security partner in the Middle East."

"We thought it was important to continue to deploy forces, to deter and defend, and to send the message to the Iranians: Do not strike another sovereign state, do not threaten American interests, American forces, or we will respond," he said.

Esper said he had spoken with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman Friday to discuss adding US firepower to Saudi Arabia's defenses.

Speaking alongside Esper, Army Gen. Mark Milley said that the deployment of additional forces to Saudi Arabia is for the purpose of reestablishing deterrence with respect to Iran.

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