Us has removed its most advanced missile defense system and Patriot batteries from Saudi Arabia in recent weeks, whilst the kingdom faced continued air attacks from Yemen’s Houthi rebels.
The redeployment of the defenses from Prince Sultan air station outside Riyadh came as Gulf Arab countries nervously watched the chaotic withdrawal of folks, troops, from Afghanistan, including their last-minute evacuations from Kabul’s besieged international airport.
While tens of thousands of American forces remain across the Arabian Peninsula as a counterweight to Iran, Gulf Arab nations worry about the US’s future plans as its military perceives a growing threat in Asia that needs those missile defenses.
Tensions remain high as negotiations appear stalled in Vienna over Iran’s collapsed nuclear effect world powers, raising the danger of future confrontations within the region.
“Perceptions matter whether or not they’re rooted during a cold, cold reality. and therefore the perception is extremely clear that the US isn’t as committed to the Gulf because it wont to be within the views of the many people in decision-making authority within the region,” said Kristian Ulrichsen, a search fellow at the James A Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University.
“From the Saudi point of view, they now see Obama, Trump, and Biden – three successive presidents – taking decisions that signify to some extent an abandonment.”
Prince Sultan air station, some 115 kilometers southeast of Riyadh, has hosted several thousand U.S. troops since a 2019 missile-and-drone attack on the guts of the kingdom’s boring.
That attack, though claimed by Yemen’s Houthi rebels, appears instead to possess been administered by Iran, consistent with experts and physical debris left behind. Tehran has denied launching the attack, though a hammer in January saw Iranian paramilitary forces use similar drones.
Just southwest of the air base’s runway, a 1 square kilometer area depart by an earthen berm saw American forces station Patriot missile batteries, also together advanced Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) unit, consistent with satellite images from Planet Labs Inc. A THAAD can destroy ballistic missiles at a better altitude than Patriots.