The Pentagon announced it will be deploying U.S. troops and military equipment to Middle Eastern allies, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, following Iran’s attack on Saudi oil facilities last weekend.
“The president has approved the deployment of U.S. forces, which are primarily defensive in nature and primarily focused on air and missile defense,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Friday, as reported by The Hill.
“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.” (RELATED: Report: Drone Strikes On Saudi Oil Facilities Wipe Out 5% Of Daily Global Oil Supply)
Officials at the briefing would not confirm how many troops the U.S. would be sending, but the number is likely to be in the hundreds, according to the Washington Examiner.
“We are contributing to Saudi Arabia’s defense. We would be looking, as the secretary said, for other international partners to also contribute to Saudi Arabia’s defense,” said Gen. Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Corps.
“Despite repeated calls from President Trump to begin diplomatic talks, Iranian aggression continues to increase,” said the Secretary of Defense. “In the face of this sustained malign behavior, the United States and other countries have demonstrated great restraint in hopes that Iranian leadership would choose peace and reverse Iran’s steep decline into isolation and economic collapse.”
Esper added the attack on the Saudi’s oil industry was a, “dramatic escalation of Iranian aggression.”
“We promise the Saudi regime that our future operations will expand and be more painful as long as its aggression and siege continue,” Houthi rebels said on Saturday taking credit for the attack.
Trump had reportedly called the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed Bin Salman, on Saturday to tell him the U.S. will, “cooperate with the kingdom in supporting its security and stability.”
“Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked, the president tweeted on Sunday to reiterate support for the kingdom. “There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!”
Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked. There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 15, 2019