RIYADH, (BM) – Saudi Arabia and the United States have a preliminary agreement that gives more freedom to American troops in a conflict with Iran. The American edition of Defense One confirmed this news today, January 25.
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Under the agreement, the US military will have access to more ports and air bases in western Saudi Arabia. This agreement is due to Iran’s improved offensive capabilities and the new ballistic missiles it has developed. The current military bases where US troops are stationed in the Persian Gulf region are in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, and the UAE. They have become more vulnerable, experts say, so new opportunities and more leeway are needed.
Experts say it all means one thing – in the event of a military conflict, Washington will withdraw US troops from their existing bases in the area and relocate them to more western parts of Saudi Arabia, using new ports and airports.
A spokesman for the Pentagon and the US military, General Frank McKenzie, says that whatever conflict or scenario arises with Iran, the Arab Gulf remains a “hot spot.” Hence, planning needs a possible relocation of the US military.
Revelation … in a year
Defense One says the initiative has been known for almost a year. At least in the administration of former President Donald Trump. However, Biden has plans to restart talks with Iran. Therefore, the revelation of a gene. McKenzie comes when the new presidential administration is not ready to vote as much confidence in Saudi Arabia as the country received from Trump.
In 2018, Donald Trump decided to “take” the United States out of Iran’s nuclear deal. This action has further worsened relations between the two countries. There has not been a month in the last two years in which international news agencies have not mentioned the possibility of war with Iran.
Now Biden will try to bring the United States back to the negotiating table with Iran. Tehran is open to such action and will prevail. But despite everything, the shadow of Trump and his administration remains in the area. And although the United States is ready for a dialogue with Iran, Washington and Riyadh are deepening military relations.
New bases in Saudi Arabia
Following General McKenzie’s revelation, it was logical to answer where and what bases the United States might need if Iran’s conflict arose. McKenzie said he and his entourage inspected three major military facilities – two ports [one commercial and one industrial in Yanbu] and Tabuk Airport in Taif.
According to McKenzie, it is too early to talk about relocating the US military, and everything is “conditional.” He added that his visits to the three sites are mostly exploratory at this stage, but he is glad that he has left his current location and managed to see another part of the country.
Despite the general’s allegations, Washington still conducted tests to prove the effectiveness of the three facilities. In this way, we can safely define as more than “conditional” the American command’s actions in the region.
Biden’s new administration is trying to control the country’s KOVID crisis and at least in the first year to start the “union.”
If the three military sites mentioned above are used, the United States will have to invest in them. For example, new infrastructure will have to be built for the airport, while one of the ports needs further development, the general added.
General McKenzie claims that Riyadh will make this funding and that Washington will not contribute money to its construction and renovation. But “fully funded by Riyadh” could change to “partially funded by Riyadh” given Biden’s desire to “correct the mistakes” of former President Trump.
General McKenzie also said that his team and he had personally inspected other sites in the country but declined to name them.
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