On May 7, 2020, US officials said that the US is removing four Patriot missile batteries from Saudi Arabia as part of a rotation of its military assets in the region.
Cmdr. Sean ROBERTSON, said that the US would move and circulate assets from Saudi Arabia. “As part of the Department’s global force management processes, DoD routinely circulates troops and assets to address emerging threats and maintain readiness”. “The Department maintains robust in-theatre capabilities, including air defense, to address any Iran-related contingencies as needed”.
“The Department of Defence continues to work with the international community and Saudi Armed Forces to strengthen regional air defense capabilities.”
Two of the anti-missile batteries deployed following the September 2019 attacks on Saudi oil installations “are now leaving”.
Iran and Huthi-backed rebels in Yemen were blamed for the combination rocket and drone attack which left two of state oil giant ARAMCO’s processing facilities, heavily damaged, roughly halving Saudi Arabia’s oil production.
US officials said they believe that a January 2020 strike that killed Iranian General Qassem SOLEIMANI, along with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic that has hobbled Iran, have reduced Tehran’s capabilities in the region.
Two other batteries had been kept in the region in March 2020 following an attack by pro-Iran factions on the Iraqi base of Taji, north of Baghdad.
The batteries’ return will also mark the withdrawal of the 300 US personnel who operate them and who was sent in 2019 by the Pentagon after the attack on oil installations and rise in tension in the Gulf.
The reductions are said to be based on assessments by some officials that Tehran no longer poses an immediate threat to US strategic interests.
Greece said in February 2020 that it would deploy some of its own Patriot missiles to Saudi Arabia, in a program arranged by the United States, Britain, and France.
Reuters reported that US President Donald TRUMP pressed Saudi Arabia to end its oil price war with Russia in April and threatened to withdraw US troops.
This article was edited using the data from the Aljazeera.com, France24.com, and Thenational.ae.
Source of the photo: france24.com.