The Pentagon is preparing to send hundreds of troops to Saudi Arabia amid escalating tensions with Iran.
Two US defense officials said that five hundred troops are expected to go to the Prince Sultan Air Base, east of the Saudi capital of Riyadh, according to CNN
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Some US troops and support personnel are reportedly already at the base preparing for a Patriot missile defense battery and runway and airfield improvements
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News of the deployment comes as the House passed three resolutions to block the Trump administration from selling billions of dollars in weapons to Saudi Arabia.
The Express reports: The base is located in a desert area east of Riyadh and is believed to be difficult for Tehran missiles to target. A formal announcement to Congress is expected to be made sometime next week.
Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Project, studied high-resolution satellite images taken at the base in June.
He said: “A small encampment and construction equipment appeared at the end of a runway by June 27, suggesting that improvements are already underway.
“The encampment to the east of the runway is typical of Air Force engineering squadrons deployed overseas.”
Riyadh is known to be sensitive about discussing US troops in Saudi Arabia and thus neither they nor Washington have commented on deployments.
The Saudi Arabian authorities are not believed to have even announced the development.
In May, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that despite tensions over the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, Washington was selling $8.1billion (£6.5million) worth of arms to Saudi Arabia: “These sales will support our allies, enhance Middle East stability, and help these nations to deter and defend themselves from the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
The deal bought condemnation from some in Congress, with Ted Lieu, a Democratic representative saying: “The emergency declaration is nothing more than an egregious abuse of power by an Administration that doesn’t like being told, ‘No.’ There is no emergency, but there is a conflict in Yemen that has killed thousands of civilians with US-made weapons and a Congress that is tired of being complicit.”
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