King Salman approves massive US military deployment for Saudi Arabia’s ‘defense’

FILE PHOTO © Reuters/Hugh Gentry / Free

Saudi Arabia’s king and crown prince have approved the deployment of around 3,000 US troops and equipment to the kingdom, as regional tensions rise and Washington and Riyadh face off against Tehran.

Saudi state news agency SPA announced the royal approval on Saturday night, reporting that the deployment takes place in line with the “historic relations and well-established partnership” between the two countries.

It also comes at a time of escalating tensions with Iran. The military bolstering was announced by the US on Friday as reports came in that an Iranian oil tanker had been struck by two projectiles in the Red Sea. Washington and Saudi Arabia have also accused Iran of a string of sabotage attempts on its own on oil tankers, and blamed Tehran for a drone strike on two Saudi oil facilities last month, albeit without providing proof.

Criticized for pulling American troops out of northern Syria yet deploying several times more forces in Saudi Arabia, US President Donald Trump has defended the deployment by declaring that the Saudi royal family have “agreed to pay us for everything we’re doing.”

The SPA report on Saturday made no mention of a payment.

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