WASHINGTON – The Pentagon is sending missile batteries and radar systems to Saudi Arabia to ramp up its defenses as a hedge against a possible attack from Iran, Pentagon officials said Thursday.
The new support was promised last week to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, prompted by the September 14 attack on the world’s largest crude oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia.
“This deployment will augment the kingdom’s air and missile defense of critical military and civilian infrastructure,” Chief Pentagon Spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman said Thursday. “This deployment augments an already significant presence of U.S. forces in the region.”
Washington has blamed that attack on Iran, as have France, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
The first wave of support will be one Patriot anti-missile battery, four Sentinel radar units and about 200 support personnel, all to Saudi Arabia. Nothing is headed to the UAE.
Hoffman said additional support is on standby to head to the region. Those forces include two more Patriot anti-missile batteries and one Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD).
“While no decision has been made to deploy these additional forces, they will maintain a heightened state of readiness,” Hoffman said.
Their possible destination was not provided.
Hoffman noted that “Other countries have called out Iranian misadventures in the region, and we look for them to contribute assets in an international effort to reinforce Saudi Arabia’s defense.”
To date, no other nation has contributed to Saudi Arabia’s new need for military protection.