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20 Jul, 2019 00:02

Saudi Arabia invites US to 'preserve its peace' against Iran by swamping Gulf with more troops

Saudi Arabia invites US to 'preserve its peace' against Iran by swamping Gulf with more troops

Saudi Arabia has rolled out the welcome mat for US troops in a move it claims is aimed at “preserving its peace” – mainly by menacing Iran, where tensions have risen near a breaking point after multiple tanker seizures.

King Salman has approved hosting US forces in order to “increase joint cooperation in defense of regional security and stability and to preserve its peace,” Saudi state media reported on Friday. The Pentagon confirmed it has authorized movement of US troops and resources to Saudi Arabia in a statement issued later that day, validating the ongoing rumors and reports of a buildup of US forces in the country and neighboring Qatar, deployed to “counter the Iran threat.”

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The troops would be entering a region already heavily saturated with over 70,000 US military personnel. The Pentagon has been massing assets in the Persian Gulf for months, amid warnings by the Trump administration that while the belligerent show of strength is merely meant to keep the peace, acts of “aggression” by Iran will be met with deadly force.

Since May, the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier group, Patriot missile batteries, a bomber task force, and thousands of troops have been deployed to the Gulf, ostensibly to counter Iranian “escalation,” amid a flurry of threats to unleash fiery doom upon Tehran should anything untoward befall Americans or their allies. Washington has blamed a series of mysterious yet minor attacks on oil tankers on Iran, despite a lack of evidence or motive, and cried foul after Iranian air defenses downed a surveillance drone in Iranian airspace last month.

The seizure of two UK tankers by Iranian forces this week following the earlier British capture of an Iranian tanker has provoked a comparatively muted response from Washington, with Trump declaring it shows Tehran is “nothing but trouble” and promising to confer with London about what steps to take. While Trump claimed the US shot down – or electronically jammed – an Iranian drone last week, Iran released a video on Friday appearing to show no drone plummeting into the ocean during the relevant time window.

Also on rt.com Iranian military say all its drones returned safely to base after US claimed it shot one down

The “Iran threat” has also been used to ram through $8.1 billion in arms sales to the Saudis without congressional approval, a move that raised some hackles in Washington due to Riyadh’s ongoing bombing of Yemen. While the US has ended its midair refueling of Saudi planes in that conflict, they continue to back the coalition fighting the Houthis, which has turned Yemen into what the UN calls the worst humanitarian crisis of the 21st century.

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