U.S. to send troops to Saudi Ara­bia

Antelope Valley Press (Sunday) - - Front Page -

WASH­ING­TON — The Pen­tagon on Fri­day an­nounced it will de­ploy ad­di­tional U.S. troops and mis­sile de­fense equip­ment to Saudi Ara­bia and the United Arab Emirates, as Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has at least for now put off any im­me­di­ate mil­i­tary strike on Iran in re­sponse to the at­tack on the Saudi oil in­dus­try.

De­fense Sec­re­tary Mark Esper told Pen­tagon re­porters this is a first step to beef up se­cu­rity and he would not rule out ad­di­tional moves down the road. Gen. Joseph Dun­ford, chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said more de­tails about the de­ploy­ment will be determined in the com­ing days, but it would not in­volve thousands of U.S. troops.

Other of­fi­cials said the U.S. de­ploy­ment would likely be in the hundreds and the de­fen­sive equip­ment head­ing to the Mid­dle East would prob­a­bly in­clude Pa­triot mis­sile bat­ter­ies and pos­si­bly en­hanced radars.

The an­nounce­ment re­flected Trump’s com­ments ear­lier in the day when he told re­porters that show­ing res­traint “shows far more strength” than launch­ing mil­i­tary strikes and he wanted to avoid an all-out war with Iran.

In­stead, he laid out new sanc­tions on the Ira­nian cen­tral bank and said the eas­i­est thing to do would be to launch mil­i­tary strikes.

“I think the strong per­son’s ap­proach and the thing that does show strength would be show­ing a lit­tle bit of res­traint,” Trump told re­porters dur­ing a meet­ing with Aus­tralian Prime Min­is­ter Scott Mor­ri­son. “Much eas­ier to do it the other way, and Iran knows that if they mis­be­have, they are on bor­rowed time.”

Dun­ford told re­porters the ex­tra equip­ment and troops would give the Saudis a bet­ter chance of de­fend­ing against un­con­ven­tional aerial at­tacks.

“No sin­gle sys­tem is go­ing to be able to de­fend against a threat like that,” he said, “but a lay­ered sys­tem of de­fen­sive ca­pa­bil­i­ties would mit­i­gate the risk of swarms of drones or other at­tacks that may come from Iran.”

By LOLITA C. BALDOR and ROBERT BURNS As­so­ci­ated Press

U.S. Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo meets with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mo­hamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on Thurs­day.

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