(PatriotHeadline.com) – Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stopped by Saudi Arabia’s Prince Sultan Air Base Thursday on his way back from a three-day tour in Africa. There, he was assured by military officials that the United States is closely and “aggressively” monitoring missile threats that would come from Iran to targets throughout the Middle East. Allied military forces in Saudi Arabia are helping with the effort.
In January, upward of 2,500 American military forces entered the Prince Sultan Air Base to establish a full fleet of tactical fighter jets (advanced F-15s). This was done to help Saudis defend the country from missile strikes from Iran, which have increased in severity.
The U.S. also installed a missile system that’s surface-to-air to help protect against potential strikes from Iran. One such strike last September was targeted at Saudi Arabia’s Aramco oil fields that are state-owned. Following that attack, President Donald Trump’s administration deployed troops throughout Saudi Arabia to help defend it and American interests there.
Pompeo outlined the reasons for the U.S. presence in Saudi Arabia during his visit this week, saying, in part:
“The fact that we’re here today, the fact that so many young American men and women are here and in other facilities not only here in Saudi Arabia, but in Iraq, indeed in Qatar — I think demonstrates that the demand for deterrence remains. You need only look at the ayatollah’s Twitter feed to know that these are people who have a deep disdain for the very fundamental ideas that we hold so dear in the United States of American and their desire to wipe the state of Israel off the map and to do harm to the United States of America remains, and our aim is to change that behavior from the regime.”
The most recent example of the Trump Administration’s deterrence plan was the airstrike earlier this year that killed Qassem Soleimani, the top general in Iran. That airstrike sent a clear message to the Iranian government, even if it did also result in a military response from the country, Pompeo said.
He further expanded on the attack that killed Soleimani:
“I think it had multiple impacts. First is I think it demonstrated resolve, not only for the United States, but all of the forces that are working to push back against the Islamic Republic of Iran. He was actively plotting to kill Americans. He killed Americans … and I think that you can see that it’s now provided the Iranians with the knowledge that our notion of deterrence is real.”
Because of Iran’s recent actions, Saudi Arabia was naturally concerned for the safety and security of their country and citizens, and so they turned to the U.S., one of their long-time allies.
John Abizaid, America’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, said: “[Saudi Arabia was] in a position of realizing that as the temperature was going up in their own region, that they’re facing an opponent on the other side that is very, very large in terms of population and capability. So, they naturally turned to us for support, and our support has been defensive. They’ve never asked for offensive support. It’s always been defensive support.”