US deploys troops to Saudi Arabia fearing Iran threats to “American interests”
The Pentagon has said US troops are being deployed to Saudi Arabia to defend American interests from “emergent credible threats”. The BBC reported.
The move comes amid heightened tensions with Iran over the safety of shipping lanes in the Gulf, BBC said.
Saudi Arabia confirmed that King Salman had approved the move “to strengthen regional security and stability”. BBC added.
The kingdom has not hosted US combat forces since 2003, when Donald Rumsfeld announced their withdrawal. The US presence in Saudi Arabia started with Operation Desert Storm in 1991, when Iraq invaded Kuwait, according to the BBC.
BBC North America correspondent Peter Bowes says the US is understood to be deploying Patriot air defence missile batteries manned by 500 soldiers to Prince Sultan Base in Saudi Arabia.
The US also plans to send a squadron of F-22 stealth fighters to the base, BBC wrote.
“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,” a statement from US Central Command said, BBC said.