Washington will transfer an additional military contingent to the Middle East, as well as speed up the process of delivering military equipment to the region. This was stated by the head of the Pentagon, Mark Esper. As explained in the department, we are talking about a limited group of troops that will deal with issues of strengthening the air defense of the Gulf states.
Experts consider this decision of the White House an attempt to consolidate the US position in the Middle East. At the same time, some analysts regard the contingent buildup as a “symbolic gesture”, the purpose of which is to demonstrate to the Allies their readiness to defend their interests after the failure of the American air defense system deployed in the region.
US President Donald Trump approved the transfer of additional military contingent to the Middle East. Pentagon chief Mark Esper told reporters about this, explaining that this step is a reaction to Iran’s aggressive actions against Saudi Arabia (Washington accuses Tehran of being behind the attack of drones at oil refineries, Iran denies this).
“The President approved the deployment of US forces, whose activities will be defensive and mainly focused on air defense and missile defense,” said Esper, adding that Riyadh had previously requested such support.
The head of the Pentagon also noted that the American side will not only transfer additional forces to the region, but will also try to speed up the process of delivering military equipment to Saudi Arabia and the UAE in order to “expand their self-defense capabilities.”
“The president made clear that the United States is not seeking conflict with Iran. Moreover, if necessary, we have many other military options at the ready,” – added Esper.
In turn, the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford, said during a briefing that the number of additional troops would be limited and “would not be measured in thousands.” He added that a decision on which particular formations and weapon systems will be sent to the region has not yet been made. However, in the coming days it is planned to meet with officials of Saudi Arabia and the UAE to discuss the number and composition of the forces and means that these states need to expand their self-defense capabilities. Specific proposals will be presented early next week, the general added.
It is worth noting that information about a possible buildup of American forces in Saudi Arabia began to circulate in the media before the official announcement. On the eve of this, citing unnamed sources in the Pentagon, the newspaper The Wall Street Journal reported.
According to the publication, we can talk not only about the appearance of an additional contingent in the region, but also about the supply of additional air defense systems, as well as a squadron of fighter jets to protect the interests of Saudi Arabia.