US President Donald Trump told reporters that Saudi Arabia, at his request, will pay for the deployment of additional American soldiers in the wealthy Arab kingdom after a 14 September attack on the country’s oil facilities.
“We are sending more troops to Saudi Arabia,” Trump said on Friday. “Saudi Arabia, at my request, has agreed to pay us for everything we are doing to help them and we appreciate that.”
Earlier on Friday, the US Department of Defence said in a statement that the Trump administration would deploy an additional 3,000 troops as well as air defence systems to Saudi Arabia.
“At the request of US Central Command, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper authorized the deployment of additional US forces and the following equipment to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Two fighter squadrons; one Air Expeditionary Wing (AEW); two Patriot batteries; one Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD),” Defence Department chief spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in the statement.
The US Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs, Clarke Cooper, is set to visit Riyadh, Amman and Doha over the weekend to strengthen commitments to regional security partners faced with what Washington considers “Iranian aggression,” according to a US Department of State release.
In Riyadh, Cooper will join Under Secretary of Defence John Rood for a meeting of the Strategic Joint Planning Committee during which US and Saudi officials will consult on regional security and defence cooperation, the release noted.
In Amman, Cooper will meet with Jordanian officials to discuss regional security challenges and opportunities to expand logistics and weapons sales partnerships in support of “the Jordan Armed Forces’ ability to secure its borders; counter terrorist threats; participate in coalition operations; and defend Jordan’s national territory.”
During his final stop in Doha, Cooper will participate in a military conference hosted by the US Central Command (CENTCOM) and discuss security issues with Qatari officials.
Drone attacks on two Saudi Aramco plants, in Abqaiq and Khurais, were carried out on 14 September. Due to significant damage done to the facilities, the production of around 5.7 million barrels of crude oil per day was suspended, accounting for over a half of Saudi Arabia’s total daily output.
Although responsibility for the attack was claimed by Yemen’s Houthi movement, the United States and Saudi Arabia have placed the blame on Iran. Tehran denied any role in the incident.