King Salman of Saudi Arabia has approved hosting the United States military in his country to bolster both stability and security, according to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
The SPA quoted a Ministry of Defence official who said US troops would enter the kingdom “to increase joint cooperation in defence of regional security and stability and to preserve its peace.”
The Saudi Foreign Ministry tweeted the news saying that the United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia were “strengthen [sic] their longstanding partnership in (the) face of regional threats.”
“King Salman has approved hosting US Armed Forces to increase joint cooperation in defense [sic] of regional security and stability and to preserve its peace,” they said.
The United States Department of Defense confirmed the reports in the Saudi media in a statement saying troops would be deployed to “provide an additional deterrent” in the region that is facing “emergent, credible threats.”
These threats refer to the escalating tensions between the US, UK and Iran. Just yesterday, Iran seized a UK oil tanker in the Gulf and briefly detained another in the Strait of Hormuz. That same day, the US claimed to have shot down an Iranian drone threatening a US ship, which Tehran denies.
An anonymous US official told Reuters that the deployment would include “about 500 U.S. military personnel in Saudi Arabia.”
The United States and Saudi Arabia have a strong relationship that has seemingly strengthened with the good relationship between President Donald Trump, King Salman, and the controversial Crown Prince Mohammed, the latter of whom has been accused of being behind the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Saudi Arabia has denied the Crown Prince’s involvement in the assassination that took place in Turkey in October 2018. The journalist went missing after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.