A US military source confirmed that Washington decided to withdraw 4 Patriot missile batteries with their crews from Saudi Arabia.
The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Agence France-Presse that two of these batteries were deployed by the United States in Saudi Arabia after the missile strikes that targeted oil installations in the kingdom “are leaving now”, after considering that the threat posed by Iran to the interests of the United States in the region Retreat.
In September, the kingdom witnessed an unprecedented attack targeting ballistic missiles and booby-trapped planes installations of the Aramco oil company and was adopted by the Houthis in Yemen, but Riyadh and its Western allies held Iran responsible for these rebels.
The Americans kept the other two batteries in the area in March after a missile attack by armed factions on the Iraqi Taji base, north of Baghdad, in which two Americans and a British soldier were killed.
These batteries were supposed to return to the United States for maintenance, but the US military command kept them in the kingdom due to the tensions at the time.
“Everyone knew that it was a temporary matter, unless things went wrong,” the military source added.
Things did not go wrong, and therefore, these defensive missile systems had to be returned to the United States.
Returning these batteries to the United States also means that their crew of some 300 American soldiers will also leave the area.
This decision comes the day after the new Iraqi government headed by Mustafa Al Kazemi won the confidence of Parliament after five months of vacancy.
Al Kazemi, the former head of the intelligence service, is one of the few Iraqi politicians to have the support of Washington and Tehran at the same time.
The Wall Street Journal quoted US officials as saying on Thursday that the United States decided to withdraw four batteries of “Patriot” missiles from Saudi Arabia, along with dozens of military personnel sent after a series of attacks on Saudi oil facilities last year.
The officials said that two squadrons of American fighters have left the region, and Washington will also discuss a soon decline in the US naval presence in the Gulf.
US officials believe that the military capabilities deployed to deter Iran, along with the assassination of General Qassem Soleimani, have confused and affected Tehran, which is currently fighting against the spread of the Coronavirus.
Reuters confirmed, at the end of last month, that it had “learned from sources that Trump threatened Muhammad bin Salman to cut US military support to Saudi Arabia if it did not stop dumping markets in the midst of the recent war in oil markets”.
Reuters, citing sources, reported that Trump said in a phone conversation with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on April 2 that Washington would be forced to withdraw its forces from the kingdom if OPEC countries did not cut their oil production.
Trump informed the crown prince 10 days before announcing the cut in oil production.
But Fahd Nazer, a spokesman for the Riyadh embassy in the United States, denied the authenticity of the media reports that spoke about this incident, indicating that news had “misrepresented the content and tone of communication”.