U.S. to deploy additional troops to Saudi Arabia after oil attacks

September 21, 2019

According to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, last week’s attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities was an “act of war” that has the Iranian regime’s “fingerprints” all over it.

As the situation in Persian Gulf becomes increasingly precarious, President Donald Trump has authorized additional U.S. troops to be deployed to Saudi Arabia to help protect “critical infrastructure.”

Iran’s “fingerprints” all over it

Secretary Pompeo traveled to Saudi Arabia and other allied nations in the Gulf region this week to discuss the volatile situation with Iran, NBC News reported.

“This was an Iranian attack,” Pompeo told reporters in the Saudi city of Jeddah. “We were blessed there were no Americans killed in this attack, but anytime you have an act of war of this nature, there’s always a risk that could happen.”

NBC noted that U.S. officials now believe, based on the latest intelligence, that the attack on Saudi oil facilities was not perpetrated by drones launched from Houthi rebels in Yemen, but rather, were the end result of low-altitude cruise missiles fired from western Iran.

Pompeo informed reporters that even if the “fraudulent” claims of the Houthi rebels had been true, “it doesn’t change the fingerprints of the Ayatollah as having put at risk the global energy supply.”

The Wednesday report from NBC noted that President Donald Trump was considering a wide range of options to choose from for a response to Iran, including taking military action. One avenue of response immediately taken was Trump’s direction to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to dramatically increase economic sanctions on the Iranian regime.

Additional troops deployed to Saudi Arabia

Though U.S. military action doesn’t appear imminent, it’s still on the table as a possibility. Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced on Friday that the president has authorized the deployment of additional U.S. troops to the region as a safeguard measure.

“All indications are that Iran was responsible for the attack,” Esper said in a briefing on Friday. He pointed out that the U.S. had a responsibility to protect its people and interests wherever they are around the globe, and that the international community had a responsibility to protect global markets from those who would destabilize them.

“All of this is threatened by Iran’s significant escalation of violence,” he said. Esper noted that both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates had requested assistance from the U.S. in addressing the attack that, one way or another, originated from or was directed by Iran.

“In response to the Kingdom’s request, the president has approved the deployment of additional U.S. forces, which will be defensive nature and primarily focused on air and missile defense,” Esper said. “We will also work to accelerate the delivery of military equipment to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. to enhance their ability to defend themselves.”

It remains to be seen if this buildup of troops in the Middle East will lead to targeted retaliatory strikes or a broader military conflict, or if the Iranian regime will back down.

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Ben Marquis

Ben Marquis is a staff writer for Conservative Institute.