iran politics saudi arabia saudi aramco

US To Deploy Troops To Saudi Arabia In Response To Attacks, Esper, Dunford Announce

"Defensive in nature".

In a press conference on Friday evening, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford, announced that the Trump administration is deploying troops to Saudi Arabia.

US forces will assist in providing the kingdom with air and missile defense in the wake of last weekend’s drone and missile attacks which crippled the country’s oil production capacity.

The announcement came after days of speculation about whether Donald Trump would authorize military strikes on targets inside Iran. The president was briefed on options Friday, and, in keeping with his predisposition towards avoiding outright conflict, the White House has clearly decided that discretion is the better part of valor – for now, anyway.

Read more: Trump To Get ‘List Of Potential Targets To Strike In Iran’ On Friday

Asked by a reporter if “this now represents a full US commitment to defend Saudi Arabia and Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure”?, Esper repeated that the purpose is to “contribute to Saudi Arabia’s defense.”

He and Dunford made it clear that the US expects the same from other nations. “We are looking for other international partners to contribute”, they said.

On Wednesday, the Saudis displayed wreckage from the attacks which Riyadh says “unquestionably” shows they were “sponsored by Iran”. The day before, officials told the media that the US had pinpointed “the exact locations” inside Iran from which the attacks were launched.

Mike Pompeo visited the kingdom this week and spoke to Crown Prince Mohammed. In the hours after the attacks last Saturday, Pompeo was quick to fault Iran directly, as opposed to merely stating the obvious, which is that Tehran provides material support to the Houthis, who claimed the strikes.

Iran continues to deny any direct role. Javad Zarif on Thursday said military strikes on Iranian soil would lead to “all-out war”.

“What we would be deploying is to support the kingdom’s defenses”, Esper and Dunford reiterated, in a brief Q&A after the announcement. Pressed for details on the deployment, Dunford said it’s reasonable to say that it will not be “in the thousands”.

Quizzed on whether the world should consider this Trump’s response to Iran, Esper and Dunford said this is the “first step”, and it’s aimed at bolstering defense capabilities, ensuring the free flow of commerce through the Strait of Hormuz and maintaining international norms.

At the end of the day, it’s hard to escape the conclusion that for all the boasting about US energy independence, this administration has now committed the US military to defending Saudi Arabia’s oil.

Whatever was implicit in terms of America’s willingness to go to the mat for a country run by unelected royals in whose reign the ideology of al-Qaeda and ISIS is institutionalized, is now explicit.


8 comments on “US To Deploy Troops To Saudi Arabia In Response To Attacks, Esper, Dunford Announce

  1. mfn says:

    It’s all about the oil. Same as it ever was.

    • PaulMiller says:

      @mfn: You are too cynical. Don’t you recall the ferocity of their response to the 10 or 11 Saudi Nationals involved in the 9/11 attack? Don’t you remember their contributions in forming OPEC, and raising the price of crude oil about 10 fold in the 70’s ?

      What American family wouldn’t be proud to see a loved one sacrificed in the deserts of the Middle East, preserving the right to be-headings, assassinations, and stoning at the whim of deranged monarchs?

      No, Mr. mfn, when you have a staunch ally in a despot like MBS, you put American lives at risk to help them, just the same as they put Saudi lives at risk defending the USA!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I’m thinking this was why we saw this Repo operation mess all week, and why the Fed announced they’ll be continuing them through October 10th.

  3. privateer says:

    It’s the early 1900’s Balkans all over again. If I were the ME equivalent of an archduke, I’d be packing my bags about now.

  4. Billy Oxygen says:

    No benefit to American citizens; ZERO! Defending the constitution my ass!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Trump pushed hard for the $110B ‘defense deal’ w/ Saudi Arabia in ’17, to include $350B over 10 yrs. Israel has ALSO been ‘gifted’ 100s of $billions in defense deals & weaponry.

    I’m not aware of any mutual Defense Treaty between US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia, but I guess if Bennie & MBS tell Trump to defend them, from that which they appear incapapble of defending themselves…. well, ok then, let’s go everyone!…

    On a slightly different note: What was Bin Laden’s claimed reason for 9/11 attacks? Oh… that’s right: US Troops stationed in Saudi.

    I spent 30 yrs in US Military. I’m pretty familiar w/ this snake den, to include DC, Israel, & Saudi Arabia. There’s NO REASON for US to be militarily involved in Saudi, based on these ‘drone attacks.’

    Defend yourselves, you pricks. Re Oil, isn’t USA #1 producer currently? And production wasn’t harmed in Saudi, just some processing…

  6. jamaican says:

    totally agreed.
    Why should it be the US’s job (or anybody else’s) to defend these bloated royals whose penal code is literally the same as ISIS’s?
    Let them fight their own war if they deem it necessary (bet they won’t), they got more than enough military hardware thanks to their “great” deals with the Chosen One.
    No foreign intervention EVER in the Middle East yielded any positive results, it’s only gotten worse.
    And if oil should go to $ 200 / barrel due to armed conflict, it will at least serve to speed up the transformation towards a world powered by renewable energy and render the religious zealots irrelevant.

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