Wednesday, 18 September, 2019

Donald Trump to send troops to Saudi Arabia amid Iran war fears

US Army soldiers arrive at Israel for preparations of the 2019 Juniper Falcon annual drill US to deploy 500 troops to Saudi Arabia amid Iran tensions: report
Patty Aguilar | 20 July, 2019, 15:41

Last month, the Pentagon announced it was sending 1,000 additional USA forces and more military resources to the Middle East but did not specify which countries they were going to.

The Trump administration has long sought to base troops in the remote region, but the decision to send them to Saudi Arabia comes amid outrage over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Wednesday's vote against the weapons sales is the latest effort by Congress to express disapproval of U.S. military support for Saudi Arabia since the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018. It simultaneously transferred its Combined Air Operations Center to neighboring Qatar.

The following month, U.S. Central Command chief Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie requested another 1,000 troops, the Pentagon said. Their presence until 2003 had helped to radicalize militants, including Osama bin Laden.

Commander Rebecca Rebarich, a Pentagon spokeswoman, told the New York Times there was "no official announcement" of the deployment to the Middle East but said the American military "continually works to manage our force posture in the region".

Tensions between Iran and the United States have been on the rise since Washington withdrew from the nuclear deal with Iran in 2018, reaching a risky peak in June 2019 when Iran's revolutionary guards (IRGC) downed a USA drone over worldwide waters in the Persian Gulf region.

The troop deployments were first announced in the weeks after the White House abruptly said in May it was sending the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group, along with a B-52 bomber task force, to the region to protect USA forces from unspecified Iranian threats.

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Assistant Secretary of State R Clarke Cooper appeared before the House Foreign Affairs Committee in June to make the case for the weapons sales to Saudi Arabia. USA lawmakers are putting pressure on Trump to suspend military relations with Riyadh, after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last October.

A year after the war was launched, Trump made his maiden foreign visit to Saudi Arabia, announcing more than $100 billion in arms sales to the kingdom.

They also said Trump's action shows that the United States is tolerating worst human rights abuses by Saudi Arabia in its war on Yemen.

The move is likely to be seen as an escalation in Iran.

The other would focus on a thorough review of Washington's policy on Saudi Arabia and ban travel to the U.S.by the Saudi royal family's members. "That has to stop". Trump cited the need to counter Iran's threat.

In 2019, the U.S. started building up its military presence in the region under the pretext of an "Iranian threat" and the latter's alleged intention to obtain nuclear weapons.

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