“The president has approved the deployment of U.S. forces which will be defensive in nature,” U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said Friday.
The United States is deploying military forces to the Middle East after Saturday’s drone attacks on major oil sites in Saudi Arabia that the administration of President Donald Trump has blamed on Iran.
“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. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said at a news conference Friday.
Esper did not say how many troops would be sent, but said they would be primarily focused on air and missile defenses.
WASHINGTON, Sept 20 (Reuters) – 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.