Trump Prepares to Send US Troops to Saudi Arabia

Photo of author

( — September 24, 2019) — US President Donald Trump has approved sending of US troops to Saudi Arabia to strengthen their air defense following last Saturday’s drone attack on oil facilities, which Washington blames on Iran, while Tehran denies responsibility, The Washington Post reports.

The Pentagon said on Friday that a moderate number of troops would be sent to Saudi Arabia, and that the nature of their operations will be primarily defensive.

U.S. Navy Gen. Joseph Dunford said the deployment would not include thousands of troops, but did not disclose details.

United States Secretary of Defense Mark Esper has announced that the Pentagon will lead the US military efforts in the Middle East.

The announcement of the deployment of US troops appears to have closed the door to any decision in the short term to retaliate against Iran after the alleged attack on Saudi oil facilities, which has shaken the global oil market and revealed large holes in the country’s air defense.

The September 14 drone attacks on two facilities in Saudi Arabia are seen as a test of the world’s will to maintain international order. It has been the biggest aggression against Gulf oil infrastructure since Saddam Hussein burned oil fields in Kuwait in 1991.

Iran adamantly rejects accusations that it is behind the attack that initially halved the world’s largest oil export which mainly comes from Saudi Arabia’s oil production. Yemen’s Houthis, however, a movement close to Iran that has been fighting in Riyadh for four years, took full responsibility.

The United States also announced new measures against the Iranian central bank and Tehran’s sovereign fund for “terrorist financing,” which Trump described as “the most stringent sanctions ever imposed on a country.”

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin explained that they are targeting “the latest source of revenue for the Iranian central bank and the National Development Fund, their sovereign wealth fund that will be cut off from our banking system. This means that there will be no more money for the Revolutionary Guard, the elite army of the Iranian authorities, for the financing of terrorism,” he stated.

The Iranian government described the sanctions as a desperate move out of the inability to react. “The Central bank sanctioning shows American despair more than anything else, because Americans have imposed all possible sanctions on Iran. What they are currently doing is sanctioning a central bank that has already been sanctioned, but under another name. Their measure shows an effort to block Iran’s international trade, food and medicine, “says Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister.

Trump has also been threatened by the leader of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

“Be careful. Restricted aggression will not remain limited,” the Guard threatened explaining that they are intended for punishments and prosecutions which they already demonstrated.

“We will continue to the complete destruction of any aggressor,” The Iran’s Revolutionary Guard representative said.

The US is still deciding exactly how many troops and with what kind of equipment it will send to Saudi Arabia, while the Saudi authorities are trying to calm tensions and say they will first have to investigate the attack on the oil facilities thoroughly and then take the necessary measures.