Published: Sun, July 21, 2019
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Saudi King approves hosting USA troops to enhance security in region

Saudi King approves hosting USA troops to enhance security in region

The Pentagon has said USA troops are being deployed to Saudi Arabia to defend American interests from "emergent credible threats".

This decision is a strong-worded message to the Iranian regime that any random attempts to exploit the regional tensions will be faced by force.

Earlier in the day, CENTCOM announced that the United States armed forces have surveillance aircraft observing the situation in the Strait of Hormuz.

In June, the Pentagon said it would deploy 1,000 troops to the Middle East but did not say where they were going.

The move, agreed in conjunction with the kingdom, aims to boost regional security as tensions in the Gulf mount over Iran's standoff with the USA over sanctions and the 2015 nuclear agreement, and Tehran's seizure of two British-linked vessels in the strait of Hormuz on Friday.

In response to attacks on four other tankers on May 12, USA officials announced that month plans said to send 900 more forces - including engineers and a fighter aircraft squadron - to the Middle East to bolster U.S. defence, as well as extend the deployment of some 600 personnel manning Patriot missiles.

The "Iran threat" has also been used to ram through $8.1 billion in arms sales to the Saudis without congressional approval, a move that raised some hackles in Washington due to Riyadh's ongoing bombing of Yemen.

The gesture comes amid rising tensions between Washington and Tehran in the Gulf that have impacted global oil markets.

Putting US combat forces back in Saudi Arabia, after an absence of more than a decade, adds depth to the regional alignment of US military power, which is mostly in locations on the Persian Gulf that are more vulnerable to Iranian missile attack.

Senior American defence officials said some United States troops and Patriot air defence missile systems have already arrived at Prince Sultan Air Base, south of Riyadh, where the troops have been preparing for the arrival of aircraft later this summer as well as additional troops.

The British Foreign Office confirmed a second naval vessel, the Liberian-flagged Mesdar, had been seized in the Strait of Hormuz by Iranian authorities.

Iran's semi-official news agency, Fars, reported the ship 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.

The tensions between Iran and the United States have increased since the White House announced in May 2018 that it would abandon the so-called Comprehensive Joint Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the multilateral nuclear agreement with Tehran is formally known.

Last month, Iran downed a U.S. surveillance drone that it said had violating Iranian airspace.

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