The United States is continuing forward with a deployment of 3,000 troops to Saudi Arabia to deter threats from Iran, according to a letter sent by President Trump to the U.S. Congress this week.
“United States Armed Forces have been deployed to the Middle East to protect United States interests and enhance force protection in the region against hostile action by Iran and its proxy forces,” the White House wrote. “Additional forces ordered to deploy to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia include radar and missile systems to improve defenses against air and missile threats in the region, an air expeditionary wing to support the operation of United States fighter aircraft from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and two fighter squadrons.”
The U.S. first started to build its troop presence in Saudi Arabia in May, according to Stars and Stripes, after intelligence reports indicated new Iranian threats to U.S. interests.
Iran is widely suspected of being behind the recent attacks on two key Saudi oil fields in September, which temporarily affected production. In addition to European countries, the United States and Saudi Arabia have pointed the finger at Iran for those attacks.
In a speech yesterday to the Saudi Shoura Council, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman reiterated allegations that Iran was behind the attack on Aramco, as well as others targeting oil tankers this summer.
He said Saudi Arabia “adhered to wisdom in confronting these cowardly acts.”
“Iran must realize that it has before it serious choices and that for each there are consequences to bear,” King Salman said, according to the AP, and added that the Kingdom does not seek war but is prepared to defend itself firmly against any aggression.
Meanwhile, as the U.S. approaches a Presidential election year in 2020, the deployment of troops to Saudi Arabia is likely to become an election issue as President Trump seeks re-election.