Saudi Arabia oil attacks: US to send troops to Saudi Arabia

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, left, and Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford made the announcement on Friday - Photo by GETTY IMAGE

The US has announced plans to send forces to Saudi Arabia in the wake of attacks against the country’s oil infrastructure.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told reporters the deployment would be “defensive in nature”. Total troop numbers have not yet been decided.

Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels have claimed responsibility for the attacks against two oil facilities last week. But the US and Saudi Arabia have both blamed Iran itself.

Earlier on Friday however, President Trump announced “highest level” sanctions against Iran while signaling he wanted to avoid military conflict.

“I think the strong person approach, and the thing that does show strength, would be showing a little bit of restraint,” he told reporters in the Oval Office.

The fresh sanctions will focus on Iran’s central bank and its sovereign wealth fund, Mr. Trump said.

Mr. Esper made the announcement alongside the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr. on Friday.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates requested assistance, Mr. Esper said. The forces will focus on boosting air and missile defenses, and the US will “accelerate the delivery of military equipment” to both nations.

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