U.S. to withdraw missile, air defense assets from Middle Eastern countries this summer

U.S. to withdraw missile, air defense assets from Middle Eastern countries this summer
Live fire exercise, Patriot missile battery from 108th ADA Bde. Red Legs rule. CENTCOM video (A1C Eric Mann), YouTube

[Ed. – While these defenses are to some extent offset by systems the host nations have purchased for themselves, the signal is not a useful one for any purported U.S. purpose.  The WSJ’s list of nations (link in CNN text) includes Iraq, Kuwait, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia.  The Pentagon says some of the weapons units will be redeployed to counter China, but that’s easier said than done.  We can just up and put our systems in Guam, if we want — and they’re already there — but our allies have to agree to host them elsewhere.  There’s no evidence such diplomatic preparation is underway.]

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin instructed the commander of US Central Command, which oversees the region, to remove the forces this summer.

Some of the military capabilities and platforms will be returned to the United States for much needed maintenance and repair, said Pentagon spokeswoman Cmdr. Jessica McNulty, while other assets will be redeployed to other regions. …

The US bolstered its military footprint in Saudi Arabia following a September 2019 attack on the country’s oil facilities, attributed to Iran, that disrupted the global oil supply. In the wake of the attack, the US sent thousands of troops into the country, as well as two Patriot missile batteries and one Terminal High Altitude Air Defense (THAAD) system.

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The US also sent Patriot missile batteries into Iraq to defend US forces following the killing of Qasem Soleimani and the subsequent threats from Iran.

The withdrawal of forces from the Middle East would primarily affect these and other air defense assets, the statement said, including Patriot missile batteries.

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