UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — According to a Wall Street Journal report quoting US military officials, the Pentagon is investigating the possibility of deploying an additional THAAD air defense system, a squadron of fighter jets, and surveillance equipment in Saudi Arabia following the strikes… drones against Aramco’s oil facilities: the Abqaiq plant, the world’s largest for the treatment of black gold, and the Khurais oil field.
These measures are being evaluated. In addition, the presence of an aircraft carrier and other warships in the Middle East will be maintained.
The United States wants to strengthen its presence and that of its allies in the Persian Gulf region since the recent attacks claimed by Ansar Allah revealed the vulnerability of the oil installations of the Saudi kingdom.
But the Pentagon plan has been submitted to the US President Donald Trump’s office for approval, the WSJ said .
The US Central Command Middle East (CENTCOM) met with General McKenzie’s deputies Thursday and Friday.
The Wall Street Journal also announced that Trump, his national security advisor and other security officials are expected to meet on Friday to discuss options for responding to attacks on Aramco.
However, a possible further deployment of the US military arsenal in the Middle East runs counter to Donald Trump’s commitment during his election campaign, which promised to reduce the US military presence there.
A senior US military official familiar with the case said that “this is probably one of the White House’s options to respond to the recent drone strikes against Saudi oil facilities, which is its main ally in the Persian Gulf. Trump still prefers to go through the UN instead of choosing the military option.”
“To strengthen its defense capabilities in a specific area, the Pentagon plans to deploy more Patriot and THAAD missile defense systems to intercept ballistic missiles,” the paper said.
Aware of the risks of its petroleum sites in a region regularly shaken by conflict, Riyadh has invested heavily in sophisticated defense and weapons systems, such as American Patriot Raytheon’s Patriot air-to-surface missiles. But one of the lessons to be learned from the Yemeni operation is that regional governments and international powers are relatively helpless when it comes to their defense against the attacks of cruise missiles and swarming drones.
The Pentagon plans to send an F-22 fighter squadron to Prince Sultan Air Force Base east of Riyadh.
Last July, the US military had deployed several fighter jets in this base, with the approval of King Salman.
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