The US Department of Defense issued a statement announcing the additional deployment of 3,000 new forces plus two Fighter Squadrons, one Air Expeditionary Wing (AEW), two Patriot Batteries and one Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD) to Saudi Arabia saying that its stated goal was to maintain the capability to respond to potential threats and assure and enhance the defense of Saudi Arabia.
This is not the first time the United States and Saudi Arabia have implemented such agreements in the military field. Saudi Arabia is one of the major buyers of US weapons including anti-missile defense equipment, and this cooperation has expanded since the Iraqi military invasion of Kuwait in 1990.
Pentagon officials have described the US military buildup in the region as “providing regional security and countering threats to regional stability and the global economy” at a time that a few days before the attacks on Aramco, US President Donald Trump gave Turkey the green light to attack northeast Syria and ordered US troops exit from Syria overnight.
President Trump addressed his decision to withdraw U.S. forces from northern Syria in a series of tweets. “The Kurds fought with us, but were paid massive amounts of money and equipment to do so. They have been fighting Turkey for decades. I held off this fight for almost 3 years, but it is time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home. WE WILL FIGHT WHERE IT IS TO OUR BENEFIT, AND ONLY FIGHT TO WIN.
President Trump told reporters that the U.S. is sending more troops to Saudi Arabia and at his request Saudi Arabia has agreed to pay the U.S. “for everything we’re doing… That’s a first and we appreciate that.”
At the same time, Trump’s explanation for withdrawing troops from Syria is widely believed by many US analysts to be a pretext for a quick and quiet exit from the country, due to the failure of its goals in Syria. It did so at the expense of Turkey.
Welcoming the US troop pullout from Syria, The Guardian said Donald Trump is right to extricate the US from Syria. American troops have no strategic reason to be in that country. “If they stayed any longer they would only be sucked in deeper – if they tried to impose a sort of peace, they would be attacked by all sides. The outside world has no dog in the Turkish-Kurdish fight. The US should get out of Syria as it must leave Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf,” the paper said.
“As in any intervention, narratives evolve and alliances are formed. Most foolish was the encouragement and aid offered since 2015 to rebels in the Syrian civil war fighting against Bashar al-Assad. As northern Iraq descended into chaos and the Kurds were emboldened to increase their pressure on Turkey, Syria became the venue for a nightmare three-way conflict. Throughout it, the US backed the Kurds. Trump’s desertion of the Kurds and his license to Turkey to invade Syria must rank high in the annals of diplomatic treachery – but for realpolitik they are hard to fault.
Thus go all interventions. In seeking to mimic the global policing role of Europe’s 19th-century empires, American foreign policy has become an angel of disaster.
US officials, on the other hand, speak out in defense of their allies in the region as their recent action against the Kurds continues to discredit their allies. The Turkish invasion of northern Syria dealt a tremendous blow to Kurdish forces, during which the United States once again abandoned and betrayed its ally in the fight against ISIS, merely saying “it is monitoring the situation!”
What is the strategic reason of the US deployment of forces in Saudi Arabia while Trump ridicules the highest Saudi officials openly and clandestinely?
Public opinion has not yet forgotten how the US president has shown the US policy toward Riyadh after describing Saudi Arabia as a “milk cow.” In a gathering of his supporters, Trump recently imitated Saudi King Salman in a cartoon-style mockery. On several occasions, Trump has ignored Arab leaders, including King Salman, and rejected their phone calls under various pretexts before announcing the recognition of Quds as the capital of the Zionist regime. He ridiculed the narrative of a phone call between himself and the King of Saudi Arabia in an attempt to convince the Arab leaders that they were not gifted and intelligent people.
A look at current regional and international equations shows that Trump knows well that relations with Saudi Arabia have been more attractive to Russia and China than ever before. In fact, the Russians are trying to distance Washington from the traditional American allies in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East as much as possible. This is what they did with Turkey, followed by Turkey’s approach to regional issues, which brought Ankara closer to Russia to the point where for the first time a NATO member state purchased a missile system from Russia.
After the attack on Aramco, when Putin offered the Saudis S-300 or S-400 missile systems, the alarm was sounded again for the United States, as Saudi Arabia has shown itself capable of resorting to any power to realize its dream of trans-regional support. Putin’s trip to Saudi Arabia after 12 years certainly sent messages to White House officials and opened a new chapter in Russian-Saudi cooperation. Although Moscow signed an agreement with Saudi Arabia in October to sell S-400 missile systems, the deal was ultimately not signed, and Saudi Arabia preferred to buy the US missile system. However, under the current circumstances, negotiations on this military cooperation between Russia and Saudi Arabia have resumed. In addition, during Putin’s trip to Riyadh, 30 bilateral agreements worth more than $2 billion were signed, and the two sides reached agreements to expand cooperation in various commercial – economic and military – technical areas, according to the Kremlin spokesman.
On the other hand, earlier this year, an economic and trade agreement worth $28 billion was signed between Saudi Arabia and China to help establish a refinery and boost Saudi oil exports to Beijing. This was not good news for the United States which is engaged in a trade war with China.
In addition, statistics show that the United States has purchased less oil from Saudi Arabia in the past year (2018) than in any other year. This reflects the fact that the Saudis have bought decades of security at the highest cost from a country with no special place for security and its economy.
According to the IMF, Saudi Arabia’s economic growth is approaching zero point and one step to recession; therefore, Riyadh seems to be interested in resorting to China and Russia instead of engaging in costly political tensions stemming from working with the White House to expand economic partnerships for further profit.
So one of the reasons that has prompted Washington to send troops to Saudi Arabia at the same time, despite the US announcement that it is withdrawing from northern Syria, is to try to outrun the US overseas rivals, who are now coveting the wealth and energy of a state that has always been called America’s strategic ally.
White House leaders have shown that US support for Saudi Arabia will continue as long as Saudi petrodollars flow into the pockets of US arms dealers.
The U.S. has managed to arm the Saudis well enough that they can terrorize and massacre civilians in Yemen, but not so that it can provide for its own defense. The Saudis are a useless client and a liability to the U.S., and the sooner that Washington cuts them loose the better it will be for the U.S. and the region.
US analyst Daniel Larrison in a note in americanconservative.com described as “stupid” US troop deployments. “The US has been able to provide Saudi Arabia with enough weapons to make it carry out assassinations and kill more civilians in Yemen, but it cannot use them to defend itself!
“Saudi Arabia is an overbearing customer for the United States, and should the United States withdraw its support as soon as possible, it will benefit Washington and the region as a whole.”
On Trump boasting that Saudi Arabia would pay for the costs of the deployment, Larrison wrote: “I very much doubt that is true. The Saudi government is still stiffing the administration for the payments it owes for refueling charges from the war on Yemen, and our government will probably never see a dime from them for the costs associated with these deployments.”
Larrison concluded by saying: “This is hardly the first time that Trump has put the Saudis first, but in light of his attempts to justify his craven Syria decision by talking about ending endless wars it is especially offensive. If Trump wanted to put American interests first and extricate the U.S. from a foreign war, he could agree to cut off all military assistance and arms sales to the Saudi coalition tomorrow. Instead, he goes out of his way to shower them with weapons and sends more troops to defend a war criminal regime.”
Meanwhile, Sputnik reports that the salary of every American soldier going to Saudi Arabia starts at $25000 and that of some of the officers exceeds $100,000. Quoting a West Asia affairs analyst, it said the United States does not seek to protect anyone, it only wants to make a deal in its own favor.
This confirms that the US strategy in the region entails military presence under various pretexts to control oil and gas resources and major international straits and waterways, as well as the development of military power to deal with the dangers and initiate pre-emptive attacks against the opposition. It is a strategy that seeks to keep Israel on its feet while preventing Arab states from getting close together.
In fact, in recent years, the United States has not only not taken any steps to stabilize and secure the interests of the countries of the region, but also dispatched arms, military forces and warships to militarize the waters of the Persian Gulf and the Oman Sea, which many military analysts believe will increase the probability of military conflicts in the region.