Defense Secretary Mark Esper has ordered the deployment of additional troops, two fighter squadrons, one air expeditionary wing, two Patriot Missile batteries and one THAAD missile defense system to Saudi Arabia. US troops will total approximately 3,000 and will add support to the kingdom’s defenses after an attack on their oil fields in September.
Iran has been blamed for the oil field attacks by the US, Europe, and Saudi Arabia. Iran denies the allegations.
Friday’s announcement comes on the heels of President Donald Trump’s abrupt decision to pull U.S. troops out of northeastern Syria Sunday night. The decision raised alarm bells among America’s allies across the globe and sent the Pentagon and the State Department scrambling to contain the fallout.
A bipartisan report on the crisis in Syria, released just weeks before, had urged the Trump administration to keep troops in Syria to counter Iran’s influence, act as a buffer between Turkey and Kurdish forces and stave off a resurgence of ISIS.