Saudi Arabia has chose to host USA troops, says Saudi defence ministry

Clay Curtis
July 20, 2019

"This movement of forces provides an additional deterrent, and ensures our ability to defend our forces and interests in the region from emergent, credible threats", Central Command said.

Saudi Arabia has not hosted U.S. forces since 2003 when they withdrew following the end of the war with Iraq.

Saudi Arabia's defence ministry confirmed the deployment.

The United States and Saudi Arabia have a strong relationship that has seemingly strengthened with the good relationship between President Donald Trump, King Salman, and the controversial Crown Prince Mohammed, the latter of whom has been accused of being behind the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The statement on Friday came after Saudi Arabia's defence ministry confirmed that the kingdom would host USA forces to boost regional security and stability.

"Based on mutual cooperation between Saudi Arabia and the United States of America, and their desire to enhance everything that could preserve the security of the region and its stability".

The state-run Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported the move earlier but did not provide details on the number of USA troops that are expected to arrive in the Kingdom.

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BBC North America correspondent Peter Bowes says the USA is understood to be deploying Patriot air defence missile batteries manned by 500 soldiers to Prince Sultan Base in Saudi Arabia.

Starting with the January 1991 air war against Iraq after its invasion of Kuwait the previous summer, the USA flew a wide range of aircraft from Prince Sultan air base, originally known as al-Kharj. In 2001, the base became home to the us military's main air control organization, known as the Combined Air Operations Center, which orchestrated the air war in Afghanistan until it was relocated in 2003 to al-Udeid air base in Qatar.

The tension in the Gulf region is escalating along with U.S. -Iran conflicts about the Iranian nuclear activities.

Iran's semi-official news agency, Fars, reported that Mesdar was briefly detained in the strait of Hormuz and given a notice to comply with environmental regulations before being allowed to continue on its way.

Trump reimposed crippling sanctions on Iran that had been lifted under the deal in return for curbs on Tehran's nuclear program.

Troops are preparing the base for the arrival of aircraft and additional soldiers later in the summer, one USA official said.

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