U.S. to send 500 troops to Saudi Arabia as Iran tensions heat up

Security assessments have shown that Iranian missiles would have difficulty targeting the base located in a remote area.

By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
July 18, 2019 10:17
1 minute read.
US Army soldiers arrive at Israel for preparations of the 2019 Juniper Falcon annual drill

US Army soldiers arrive at Israel for preparations of the 2019 Juniper Falcon annual drill. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

The United States is sending 500 troops to the Prince Sultan Air Base east of the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh, reported CNN.

Some of the troops and support personnel are already at the base preparing for a Patriot missile defense battery and runway and airfield improvements, according to US defense officials.

Security assessments have shown that Iranian missiles would have difficulty targeting the base located in a remote area.

The 500 troops are part of the 1,000 additional troops that the Trump administration announced it was sending to the Middle East in June. Congress has not been formally notified of the deployment, but has received an informal heads up with an announcement expected next week, according to CNN.

The announcement will include more specific details about the US military deployments which have been publicly announced.

Commercial high-resolution satellites captured an initial deployment of US troops and support personnel in mid-June as well as preparations being made ahead of the deployment of US troops.

"A small encampment and construction equipment appeared at the end of a runway by June 27, suggesting that improvements are already underway. The encampment to the east of the runway is typical of Air Force engineering squadrons deployed overseas," said Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Project at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, to CNN.

Stealth, fifth-generation F-22 jets and other fighters are expected to fly from the base, according to officials.

The Pentagon has declined to comment on the deployment due to Saudi sensitivities about having US troops in the country, according to CNN.

Pentagon spokeswoman Cmdr. Rebecca Rebarich said that there was "no official announcement" of the deployment, but the US military "continually works to manage our force posture in the region," according to The New York Times.


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