U.S. Forces Expand Their Presence In Saudi Arabia
Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, tours a Saudi Arabian port on Monday. Photo: Gordon Lubold/Wall Street Journal
Wall Street Journal:
In the past year or more, the military has tested new ports and bases as options to use in the event of conflict with Iran
YANBU, Saudi Arabia—The U.S. military has been using an array of ports and air bases in Saudi Arabia’s western desert, developing basing options to use in the event of a conflict with Iran, according to the top American military commander in the region.
The use of the bases, which hasn’t been previously reported, has occurred over the past year or more as top military commanders look for alternatives to safely move troops and materiel in and out of the region and to reduce their exposure to Iran’s ballistic missiles.
Several thousand American troops, jet fighters and other weaponry have been stationed at Saudi Arabia’s Prince Sultan Air Base since 2019 to respond to regional threats from Iran.
The troops were sent by former President Donald Trump, who cultivated close ties with Saudi leaders even after the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at a Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey in 2018.
The Biden administration has signaled that it plans to take a tougher approach to Saudi Arabia, particularly on human rights issues.
However, continuing potential dangers posed by Iran have remained a leading consideration, U.S. officials indicated.
WNU Editor: I am old enough to remember when U.S. military personnel were always secluded in the Saudi desert away from the general population never to be seen. The times have certainly changed.
The question that remains unanswered is what will the Biden administration do. Will they maintain the current relationship with Saudi Arabia, or downgrade it?
I can easily see the possibility that if a nuclear agreement is reached with Iran, the U.S. will downgrade their presence in Saudi Arabia.