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21 July, 2019 00:00 00 AM
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US to send troops to KSA as tensions with Iran escalate

BBC, London

The Pentagon has said US troops are being deployed to Saudi Arabia to defend American interests from "emergent credible threats". The move comes amid heightened tensions with Iran over the safety of shipping lanes in the Gulf. Saudi Arabia confirmed that King Salman had approved the move "to strengthen regional security and stability". The kingdom has not hosted US forces since 2003 when they withdrew at the end of the war with Iraq. The US presence in Saudi Arabia lasted 12 years, starting with Operation Desert Storm in 1991, when Iraq invaded Kuwait.

As many as 200 US aircraft were stationed at the Prince Sultan air base situated around 80 kilometres (50 miles) south of the capital at the peak of the Iraq war, and as many as 2,700 missions a day were handled by the headquarters in Saudi Arabia. But relations between the two countries were not always easy during the 12 years of cooperation, particularly following the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York which were orchestrated by Saudi-born al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

BBC North America correspondent Peter Bowes says the US is understood to be deploying Patriot air defence missile batteries manned by 500 soldiers to Prince Sultan Base in Saudi Arabia. The US also plans to send a squadron of F-22 stealth fighters to the base.

“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,” a statement from US Central Command said.

Tensions between the US and Iran have worsened since Washington unilaterally withdrew from a landmark 2015 nuclear deal. The US has since tightened sanctions it re-imposed on Iran’s oil sector. Last month, Iran shot down a US surveillance drone over the Strait of Hormuz, accusing it of violating Iranian airspace. The US insisted the drone had been over international waters at the time, and condemned it as an unprovoked attack.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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