The United States is deploying dozens more fighter jets and extra air defenses to Saudi Arabia. The deployments, on Friday, October 11, bolster efforts to defend Saudi against Iran, just hours after Iran says two missiles hit one of the its oil tankers in the Red Sea, off the coast of Saudi Arabia.
U.S. State Department Spokesperson Brian Hook makes the announcement: "Today the Defense Department announced the deployment of additional U.S. forces to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Secretary Pompeo and Secretary Esper have had many talks with the Saudis … The product of these bilateral talks is the announcement today that an additional 3000 forces will flow to Saudi Arabia."
Hook says the deployment is to protect American interests. "The troops that we are sending into Saudi and the enhanced assets our defensive. They are there to defend our interests and to help Saudi defend itself. We are not looking for conflict in the Middle East. We have had plenty of it."
Hook reiterates the Trump administration’s stance: "This administration does not seek conflict with Iran. We have been equally clear to the regime that we will defend our citizens, forces, and interests including against attacks by Iran or its proxies. We stand with our partners and our allies to safeguard global commerce and regional stability."
Pentagon’s decision reflects a wider response to the suspected Iranian missile and drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities on September 14.
[Brian Hook, US State Department spokesperson]: "The regime in Iran has a choice. It can act like a country or it can act like a cause. Iran must change its behavior and act like a normal nation or it will watch its economy crumble. While the Iranian leaders make that decision, we will stay focused on working with our partners to defend themselves from attacks."
The U.S. has deployed about 14,000 more troops, including additional ships to support maritime security in the Persian Gulf area since May, as tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia intensified.