The United States has authorised the deployment of military personnel and resources to Saudi Arabia, the Pentagon has said, as tensions in the Gulf mount over the US’s standoff with Iran, the kingdom’s archrival.a
The Pentagon said in a statement on Friday that the move would provide “an additional deterrent” in the face of “emergent, credible threats” in the region.
The statement on Friday came after Saudi Arabia’s defence ministry confirmed that the kingdom would host US 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 … King Salman gave his approval to host American forces,” a ministry spokesman was quoted as saying by Saudi state news agency SPA.
A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the deployment would include about 500 military personnel and is part of a boost in the number of US troops in the Middle East that the Pentagon announced last month.
The US military also said it had patrol aircraft monitoring the Strait of Hormuz, and was developing a “multinational maritime effort” to ensure freedom of navigation in key Middle East waterways.
In June, acting US Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan said he had authorised the deployment of about1,000 more troops to the Middle East for what he said were “defensive purposes”, citing concerns about a threat from Iran. The Pentagon did not say where the troops would be deployed at the time.
In response to attacks on four other tankers on May 12, US officials announced plans to send 900 more forces – including engineers and a fighter aircraft squadron – to the Middle East to bolster US defence, as well as extend the deployment of some 600 personnel manning Patriot missiles.