US Secretary of Defence Authorizes Military Personnel, Resource Deployment to Saudi Arabia

US to deploy troops to Saudi Arabia in face of 'credible' regional threats

Saudi Arabia's King Salman "approved hosting U.S. Armed Forces in the Kingdom to increase joint cooperation in defense of regional security and stability".

Saudi Arabia's ruler has approved hosting US armed forces in the Kingdom, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Saturday.

King Salman of Saudi Arabia has approved hosting the United States military in his country to bolster both stability and security, according to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday that a U.S. warship destroyed an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz, but Tehran denied the U.S. assertion.

The Trump administration reinforced its controversial military relationship with Saudi Arabia when it proposed sending hundreds of troops to the country amid increasing tensions with Iran.

Senior American defence officials said some U.S. 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.

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

"In coordination with and at the invitation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Secretary of Defence has authorized the movement of US personnel and resources to deploy to Saudi Arabia", the US Central Command of the Department of Defence announced in a statement.

Officially, Pentagon officials rarely confirm on the record troop deployments to Saudi Arabia because of political sensitivities in that nation -- as well as growing unhappiness in Congress with Saudi Arabia, the home of 15 of the 19 September 11 hijackers. Washington has blamed a series of mysterious yet minor attacks on oil tankers on Iran, despite a lack of evidence or motive, and cried foul after Iranian air defenses downed a surveillance drone in Iranian airspace last month.

Iran on July 19 seized a British-operated oil tanker in the strait and briefly detained another in an apparent retaliation for a seizure off Gibraltar - a British territory - of an Iranian tanker on July 4.

Iran's revolutionary Guard claimed to have taken the British-flagged Stena Impero into port after Iranian officials said it had infringed maritime regulations.

Friction between the USA and Iran has worsened since Trump unilaterally withdrew Washington from a historic nuclear deal signed in 2015 between Tehran and world powers and re-imposed sanctions against the Islamic Republic. The US said the drone had been over global waters.

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