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Pentagon announces new troop deployments to Saudi Arabia

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  • Pentagon announces new troop deployments to Saudi Arabia

    The Pentagon will deploy about 1,500 extra troops to Saudi Arabia in answer to requests by the leading US military commander in the Middle East and, in part, because the US Navy is unable to send a relief aircraft carrier to deter potential Iranian aggression, multiple US officials tell CNN.

    The move to bolster troops in the Middle East comes as President Donald Trump's decision to pull back US military forces from northeastern Syria has prompted bipartisan criticism from lawmakers who say the President has given Turkey an opening to attack US Kurdish allies who helped in the fight against ISIS.
    The Pentagon said Friday that the deployment to Saudi Arabia will include two fighter squadrons, one air expeditionary win, two Patriot batteries and one Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system.

    "Secretary Esper informed Saudi Crown Prince and Minister of Defense Muhammad bin Salman this morning of the additional troop deployment to assure and enhance the defense of Saudi Arabia," Chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathon Hoffman said in a statement Friday. "Taken together with other deployments, this constitutes an additional 3,000 forces that have been extended or authorized within the last month."
    The US has increased the deployment of forces in the region by 14,000 since May.
    The carrier USS Harry S Truman, which was scheduled to deploy to the region in the last several weeks, has been unable to sail due to a broken electrical distribution system. The current carrier in the region, USS Abraham Lincoln, is rescheduled to end its deployment in the next several days.
    That has now led to the need for additional capability in the region to replace what a carrier airwing can provide.
    Additional aircraft are on standby and some warships may move from the Pacific into the Middle East, officials told CNN.
    The request for the forces had been in place for the past several weeks, the officials said.
    Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of US Central Command, had long wanted additional air, ground and maritime forces, especially after a devastating September attack on Saudi oil facilities that the US has attributed to Iran.
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