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U.S. sending troops to bolster Saudi defenses after attack

27 Comments
By Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday approved sending American troops to bolster Saudi Arabia's air and missile defenses after the largest-ever attack on the kingdom's oil facilities, which Washington has squarely blamed on Iran.

The Pentagon said the deployment would involve a moderate number of troops - not numbering thousands - and would be primarily defensive in nature. It also detailed plans to expedite delivery of military equipment to both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Reuters has previously reported that the Pentagon was considering sending anti-missile batteries, drones and more fighter jets. The United States is also considering keeping an aircraft carrier in the region indefinitely.

"In response to the kingdom's request, the president has approved the deployment of U.S. forces, which will be defensive in nature and primarily focused on air and missile defense," U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said at a news briefing.

"We will also work to accelerate the delivery of military equipment to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE to enhance their ability to defend themselves."

The Pentagon's late Friday announcement appeared to close the door to any imminent decision to wage retaliatory strikes against Iran following the attack, which rattled global markets and exposed major gaps in Saudi Arabia's air defenses.

Trump said earlier on Friday that he believed his military restraint so far showed "strength," as he instead imposed another round of economic sanctions on Tehran.

"Because the easiest thing I could do, 'Okay, go ahead. Knock out 15 different major things in Iran.' ... But I’m not looking to do that if I can," Trump told reporters at the White House.

But the deployment could further aggravate Iran, which has responded to previous U.S. troop deployments this year with apprehension. It denies responsibility for the attack on Saudi Arabia.

Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi movement, which has been battling a Saudi-led military coalition that includes the UAE, has claimed responsibility for the strikes.

Relations between the United States and Iran have deteriorated sharply since Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear accord last year and reimposed sanctions on its oil exports.

For months, Iranian officials issued veiled threats, saying that if Tehran were blocked from exporting oil, other countries would not be able to do so either.

However, Iran has denied any role in a series of attacks in recent months, including bombings of tankers in the Gulf and strikes claimed by the Houthis.

U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, have fingered southwest Iran as the staging ground for the attack, an assessment based at least in part on still-classified imagery showing Iran appearing to prepare an aerial strike.

They have dismissed Houthi claims that the attacks originated in Yemen.

One of the officials told Reuters the strike may have been authorized by Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The United States is wary of getting dragged into another conflict in the Middle East. It has troops positioned in Syria and Iraq, two countries where Iranian influence is strong and Iran-backed forces operate openly.

U.S. officials fear Iran's proxies might attempt to strike American troops there, something that could easily trigger a broader regional conflict.

Saudi Arabia has said it was attacked by a total of 25 drones and missiles, including Iranian Delta Wing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and "Ya Ali" cruise missiles.

U.S. Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said officials were still hammering out the best array of capabilities to defend Saudi Arabia, noting the difficulty combating a swarm of drones.

"No single system is going to be able to defend against a threat like that, but a layered system of defensive capabilities would mitigate the risk of swarms of drones or other attacks that may come from Iran," Dunford said.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

27 Comments

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No attack. It was an inside job judging for tge fact that they have missile defences, they were quick to raise oil prices, and to increase military presence in SA. According to USMC Maj Gen Smedley D Butler, “War is a Racket”. “The Money Masters” by Bill Still, documents how the bankers have caused most of the wars for profiting fom both warring parties.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Saudi spent billions on American weapons and were defeated on the first attack. Need to be asking questions why those very important oil refineries were not protected.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

I don't agree with this. Let the Saudis deal with it. Maybe they can get the Chinese to send a few troops from the biggest army in the world if they can't handle it on their own.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

And does this surprise anyone? This is a REPUBLICAN administration - they live to start Middle East Wars - it's in their blood, their DNA....

And what happens when they do this - many American young men and women die and we spend hundreds of millions of dollars that could be spent within the US on infrastructure, health care, education...

Raise up - tell your Congressman and Senator no more wars - we already have two we've been trying to extricate ourselves from for years - we don't need a third....

And vote Democrat in 2020!

4 ( +6 / -2 )

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday approved sending American troops to bolster Saudi Arabia's air and missile defenses

The US under Trump has continued to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia, and now once again US troops will be put at risk to defend one of the most brutal regimes on the planet.

Now once again the lives of millions throughout the Middle East, maybe around the globe, will be put at risk.

Saudi is a cash cow for the US defense industries. Trump's current Secretary of Defense comes from one of the world's largest defense industries, as did his predecessor.

For Trump's economy to stay strong, he needs to continue to subsidize big defense industries.

The weapons sold to Saudi have resulted in the slaughter of innocents in Yemen. Blood is on Trump and his predecessor's hands.

Trump's showing he's just another warmonger. He's undermining the US republic and putting the world at risk through his incompetent leadership.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

And when the first American goons die it will be war. And the stupid public will fall in line just like they always do, resulting in far more American deaths. Then they will find the first deaths were a false flag 20 years later but just go back to munching away in the trough.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

an assessment based at least in part on still-classified imagery showing Iran appearing to prepare an aerial strike.

Why is it taking this long to de-classify and show the world this important convincing evidence that the whole world is waiting for ?

I guess there is no evidence and if they do come up with anything it would be blurred and incomprehensible and the defense for the blurred images would be "security reasons"

Give up, the debris that the Saudis displayed the other day failed to convince even my grand mom.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

That'll stop those drones and missiles...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Saudi spent billions on American weapons and were defeated on the first attack. Need to be asking questions why those very important oil refineries were not protected.

They didn’t expect a drone attack, so I’m sure a missile shield is being discussed or the usage of drones for the Saudis...

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

And does this surprise anyone? This is a REPUBLICAN administration - they live to start Middle East Wars - it's in their blood, their DNA....

Because the Democrats refuse to deal with adversaries that put us in the situation, if they had backbone and would engage them or sanction them heavily, Republicans wouldn’t have to go in an cleanup.

And what happens when they do this - many American young men and women die and we spend hundreds of millions of dollars that could be spent within the US on infrastructure, health care, education...

Raise up - tell your Congressman and Senator no more wars - we already have two we've been trying to extricate ourselves from for years - we don't need a third....

As far as sending troops in, that’s the wish of Bolton and Bill Krystol not Trump’s so no need to worry, but if you’re a soldier and you are called for duty, that’s your job. Trump is trying to not to go the war route as best he can and we don’t have to send in a massive ground troop for an invasion, we have enough F 22‘s and F-35 I can do the job nicely.

And vote Democra in 2020!

Yes, please vote for the losing party.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

The refinery was attacked by drones and cruise missile. The Saudi are the biggest buyer of American weapons which failed them. They should buy the Israeli missile defense systems. Important sites should be protected against attacks.

Saudi have spent hundreds of billions on America weapons and promised Trump to spent hundreds of billions more. They need a serious rethink.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Because the Democrats refuse to deal with adversaries that put us in the situation, if they had backbone and would engage them or sanction them heavily, Republicans wouldn’t have to go in an cleanup.

It was a republican president who illegally invaded and attacked Iraq and Afghanistan based on faulty intelligence which killed millions of people and cost $6 trillion to date. He then handed over the problem to Obama who had been opposed to those wars.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

The refinery was attacked by drones and cruise missile. The Saudi are the biggest buyer of American weapons which failed them.

Then we make a defense system for them that won’t fail. Now that we know what we are dealing with.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

And does this surprise anyone? This is a REPUBLICAN administration - they live to start Middle East Wars - it's in their blood, their DNA....

Because the Democrats refuse to deal with adversaries that put us in the situation, if they had backbone and would engage them or sanction them heavily, Republicans wouldn’t have to go in an cleanup.

Clean-up? How long have we been cleaning up Afghanistan? How long Iraq? Now, how long will it be with Iran? And how many American military members have to die? Perhaps it doesn't matter to you, since you've referred to our military as "expendable"...

And what happens when they do this - many American young men and women die and we spend hundreds of millions of dollars that could be spent within the US on infrastructure, health care, education...

Raise up - tell your Congressman and Senator no more wars - we already have two we've been trying to extricate ourselves from for years - we don't need a third....

As far as sending troops in, that’s the wish of Bolton and Bill Krystol not Trump’s so no need to worry, but if you’re a soldier and you are called for duty, that’s your job. Trump is trying to not to go the war route as best he can and we don’t have to send in a massive ground troop for an invasion, we have enough F 22‘s and F-35 I can do the job nicely.

Pompeo is a NEOCON....O'Brien is a Bolton student.....Trump is a Moron: look out Iran......

And vote Democra in 2020!

Yes, please vote for the losing party.

Not the GOP - The Guardians of Putin...and purveyor of Middle East Wars....

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It was a republican president who illegally

Not illegal.

invaded and attacked Iraq and Afghanistan based on faulty intelligence which killed millions of people and cost $6 trillion to date. He then handed over the problem to Obama who had been opposed to those wars

And still now you have more people in Afghanistan that died under Obama’s Presidency and he just left it, typical Democrat.

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/some-2500-americans-have-died-in-afghanistan-and-iraq-under-obama-62022/

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

the GOP - The Guardians of Putin...and purveyor of Middle East Wars....

Guaranteed if HRC had become president we'd be far more involved militarily in the Middle east than we are now. Trump is trying to extricate us in the face of opposition of the Deep State neo-cons and neo-liberals.

Remember HRC and Biden voted for the Iraq war. It's not just the GOP. This is a fact.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Clean-up? How long have we been cleaning up Afghanistan? How long Iraq? Now, how long will it be with Iran?

Nothing happened with Iran yet, relax and he probably won’t, as for strategic military strikes that’s an entirely different story.

And how many American military members have to die? Perhaps it doesn't matter to you, since you've referred to our military as "expendable"...

When I said, expendable, I don’t mean it in the sense that the lives of men and women in the military are worthless, the exact opposite, but when you’re a soldier, that is part of the soldiers job, just like with my job we are often sent to conflict areas and we know the consequences, but we gladly do our jobs to bring more insight in for people to see what is happening in the world.

Not the GOP - The Guardians of Putin...and purveyor of Middle East Wars..

I don’t know what all of that means, but what I do understand is the last administration was very shady when it came to Russia and although I am a fan of Bolton, his way is not the way in the Avenue the president wants to take and I respect that, regardless of the moron liberals are trying to convey In people’s minds.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

the GOP - The Guardians of Putin...and purveyor of Middle East Wars....

Guaranteed if HRC had become president we'd be far more involved militarily in the Middle east than we are now. Trump is trying to extricate us in the face of opposition of the Deep State neo-cons and neo-liberals.

Guaranteed by who?

Remember HRC and Biden voted for the Iraq war. It's not just the GOP. This is a fact.

The fact is that Repub President Bush 1 launched the war in Afghanistan and Repub President Bush 2 launched the war in Iraq - and Repub Moron President Trump is already starting to launch the war with Iran....SECDEF just said troops being sent to Saudi.

Repubs are drawn to Middle East wars just like Donnie is drawn to porn stars and Playboy Bunnies....

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Guaranteed if HRC had become president we'd be far more involved militarily in the Middle east than we are now. Trump is trying to extricate us in the face of opposition of the Deep State neo-cons and neo-liberals.

Ok, now I guarantee that it's actually over 1000 times worse under Trump than it would have been if HRC had become president.

See how I just won that debate? Mic. Drop.

(For those who need to be told: that was satire)

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Clean-up? How long have we been cleaning up Afghanistan? How long Iraq? Now, how long will it be with Iran?

Nothing happened with Iran yet, relax and he probably won’t, as for strategic military strikes that’s an entirely different story.

And that answered the question how?

And how many American military members have to die? Perhaps it doesn't matter to you, since you've referred to our military as "expendable"...

When I said, expendable, I don’t mean it in the sense that the lives of men and women in the military are worthless, the exact opposite, but when you’re a soldier, that is part of the soldiers job, just like with my job we are often sent to conflict areas and we know the consequences, but we gladly do our jobs to bring more insight in for people to see what is happening in the world.

Your words - in black and white. No amount of backtracking can change them... By the way, I spent 27 years in uniform so I don't need a lecture on "soldering" by someone who hasn't...

Not the GOP - The Guardians of Putin...and purveyor of Middle East Wars..

I don’t know what all of that means, but what I do understand is the last administration was very shady when it came to Russia and although I am a fan of Bolton, his way is not the way in the Avenue the president wants to take and I respect that, regardless of the moron liberals are trying to convey In people’s minds.

Someone keeps forgetting the past two and a half years - the fawning Summits with Putin, the destruction of the meeting minutes, the siding with Putin over his own intel professionals, Trump Tower Moscow penthouses....

Tell us again what Trump has done to confront Putin and help Crimea since 20 Jan 2017?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I'm confused. Saudi Arabia is about half as strong as Iran. Wadn't there a another country that counter balanced Iran's power? Yeah, I think there was. Started with an I or something. And, wadn't it, like, in between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Kina like, wedged between a rock and a hard, place. If you see what I mean.

And didn't some Republican jerks, like, invent some stupid reasons to lie the US into a war, and didn't it take a long time for things to settle down there...? My memory is kinda bad, but I think that happened. Something about Yellow Cake. Which I don't like, ';cause I like strawberry short cake, and banana cream pie, which is yellow.

If you're gonna have yellow, it's gotta be pie.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Trump made this mess now he is sending his people there to die for what certainly not for democracy now is it...worst president ever...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@bas4 just like with my job we are often sent to conflict area

Yawn. With the exception of armed mercenary forces (aka contractors) who provide military related support services, work done by paid civilians for the military cannot be seen as comparable in any way to what uniformed troops do. Only those with no knowledge of life behind or even anywhere near the lines and zero cred would even suggest that.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Some of the public accomplishments Trump is credited for all on the White house home page!

Which is a link re-direct from the Internet Research Agency in Saint Petersburg....

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Maybe the Saudis should bring in Obama.

Soooo, when the Right Wing Nutters whine that Obama was weak, they were wrong!!!

Make up your mind , was Obama weak or was he strong?

He got Bin Laden, so me thinks he did not boast but got things done.

Donny claims he got Laden Jr, but has given zero proof.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Saudi Arabia has said it was attacked by a total of 25 drones and missiles, including Iranian Delta Wing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and "Ya Ali" cruise missiles.

Cruise missiles that their sophisticated expensive American radar systems could not detect.

They are not even ashamed of the blatant lies and the embarrassment of the lies.

Are they trying to tell us Iranian missile technology is so advanced it cannot be detected by U.S. radar.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The American Iraqi war was illegal and had no UN mandate.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

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