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US To Deploy More Troops To Middle East As “Defensive” Move

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US To Deploy More Troops To Middle East As "Defensive" Move

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US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper announced that US President Donald Trump plans to order the deployment of more troops to Saudi Arabia as a purely “defensive measure.”

The announcement was made during a joint press conference of Mark Esper and General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

There is nothing conclusive yet, with the Pentagon officials saying that the deployments will be determined in the following days.

It would be a moderate deployment, less than a thousand. Furthermore, military equipment delivers to Saudi Arabia and the UAE would be expedited.

“We will also work to accelerate the delivery of military equipment to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE to enhance their ability to defend themselves,” Esper said.

Dunford on his part explained that the US was still trying to figure out how to best defend Saudi Arabia, since fighting against drone swarms is evidently difficult, keeping in mind the Patriot air defense batteries’ complete failure on September 14th.

“No single system is going to be able to defend against a threat like that, but a layered system of defensive capabilities would mitigate the risk of swarms of drones or other attacks that may come from Iran,” Dunford said.

It is unclear if more Patriot batteries will be deployed, as US Central Commander (CENTCOM) Chief Gen. Kenneth Mackenzie allegedly had proposed.

Trump himself said that he had instructed the US Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin to impose even harsher sanctions on Iran.

This is a walk back on previous claims that whoever Saudi Arabia said was responsible for the attack would immediately be attacked by the US.

“Because the easiest thing I could do, ‘OK, go ahead. Knock out 15 different major things in Iran.’ … But I’m not looking to do that if I can,” Trump told reporters.

Meanwhile, in order to avoid “dangerous developments” the Houthis, who assumed responsibility for the attack on the Saudi oil infrastructure, announced that they would stop missile attacks and drone strikes aimed at Saudi Arabia, urging the Kingdom to do the same.

Separately, Trump named his new National Security Adviser as Robert C. O’Brien.

He is famous for his book, published in 2016 “While America Slept: Restoring American Leadership to a World in Crisis.”

Regarding it, Foreign Policy’s Daniel Runde said: “While America Slept is the 2016 equivalent of Richard Nixon’s The Real War.”

“Robert writes from a series of beliefs and assumptions that I also hold: a deep belief in American Exceptionalism, that peace comes through strength, that the United States is stronger when it partners with its allies and when America is a reliable friend to its allies, that the greatness of America comes from a people that respect tradition and the rule of law, and that (yes) we are the good guys and there are some bad guys out there,” the review said.

The Hill’s Bart Marcois, a retired career foreign service officer, wrote, “If you’re wondering what trends and events will drive President-elect Donald Trump’s foreign policy, you need to read While America Slept, by Robert O’Brien.”

The book is broadly critical of the Obama administration’s security and foreign policies, to Trump’s delight.

This may be a positive development in terms of policy, since O’Brien appears to be much less hawkish than avid war enthusiast John Bolton.

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