US pulls antimissile batteries from ME
The Biden administration is withdrawing Patriot antimissile batteries from four Middle East countries as the US reduces its military footprint in the region amid a reduction in tensions with Iran, a US news outlet reported on Friday.
The Pentagon is pulling about eight Patriot antimissile batteries from Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait and Jordan, as well as a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system from Saudi Arabia that had been deployed by the previous Trump administration, the Wall Street Journal reported citing unnamed US officials.
The redeployment includes hundreds of US troops who operate the systems and began earlier this month following a June 2 phone call in which US informed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of the shift, according to the Journal.
The withdrawal of anti-missile batteries marks a return to a more normal level of defence in the region where the US continues to maintain tens of thousands of troops even as it has reduced forces deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq, the Journal reported. The US deployed Patriot antimissile batteries and troops to Saudi Arabia after Iranian drone attacks hit Saudi oil facilities and to Iraq in 2020 after a spate of missile and rocket attacks on US forces by Iran and Iranian-backed militias.