The United States is deploying military personnel and equipment to Saudi Arabia for the first time since 2003, the Pentagon announced.
“This movement of forces provides an additional deterrent, and ensures our ability to defend our forces and interests in the region from emergent, credible threats,” the U.S. Central Command said.
Since Washington withdrew from the 2015 nuclear agreement, tensions have risen between the U.S. and Iran. Earlier this week, President Donald Trump claimed the U.S. destroyed an Iranian drone, which Tehran denies.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman “approved hosting U.S. Armed Forces in the Kingdom to increase joint cooperation in defense of regional security and stability.
and to preserve its peace,” the country’s state press agency reported. Iran is Saudi Arabia’s main rival in the region.
The deployment will consists of 500 soldiers and include air defense missiles and and F-22 stealth fighters, according to the BBC. The U.S. army left Saudi Arabia in 2003 after a twelve-year presence that started when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1991.