Saudi king approves hosting of U.S. armed forces

U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel left is greeted by Deputy Defense Minister Salman bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz right after he arriving at Riyadh Air Base on Monday Dec. 9 2013 in Riyadh Saudi Arabia

Early this week, USA defence official told CNN that Trump administration was prepared to send its military personnel to Saudi Arabia.

In Washington, the US Defense Department confirmed the move in a statement, saying it would deploy troops and resources to Saudi Arabia to "provide an additional deterrent" in the face of "emergent, credible threats".

Senior American defense officials said some US troops and Patriot air defense missile systems have already arrived at Prince Sultan Air Base, south of Riyadh, where the troops have been preparing for the arrival of aircraft later this summer as well as additional troops.

In a separate statement on Friday, CENTCOM said that it is launching Operation Sentinel, a multinational maritime effort to increase surveillance and security in key waterways in the Middle East. Officials say the forces are in a defensive role.

Washington also sent warships and a Patriot missile defence battery to the region, citing unspecified threats from Iran.

An anonymous United States official told Reuters that the deployment would include "about 500 USA military personnel in Saudi Arabia". Until the USA military withdrew from the kingdom in 2003, United States aircraft were stationed at the Prince Sultan air base, around 80km south of the capital, Riyadh.

The move has been in the works for many weeks and is not a response to Friday's seizure by Iran of a British tanker in the Persian Gulf.

The British-flagged, Swedish-owned Stena Impero was carrying 23 crew members at the time of its capture, according to the company.

Iran's semi-official news agency, Fars, reported that Mesdar was briefly detained in the strait of Hormuz and given a notice to comply with environmental regulations before being allowed to continue on its way.

"We have patrol aircraft operating in worldwide airspace monitoring the situation within the Strait of Hormuz", CENTCOM Chief of Media Operations Lieutenant Colonel Earl Brown said on Friday.

Trump reimposed crippling sanctions on Iran that had been lifted under the deal in return for curbs on Tehran's nuclear program.

Last month, Iran downed a U.S. surveillance drone that it said had violating Iranian airspace.

US soldiers part of the NATO- led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) walks, as a US Chinook helicopter is seen on the back ground near the place where the foundation of a hospital was laid in Shindand, Herat, west of Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012.



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