Dubai, United Arab Emirates – The United States withdrew its most advanced anti-missile defense system and Patriot missile batteries from Saudi Arabia in recent weeks as the kingdom faces airstrikes by Shiite rebels in Yemen, analyzed satellite photos revealed. by The Associated Press.
The withdrawal of defenses from Prince Sultan Air Base outside Riyadh comes as US allies in the Persian Gulf nervously watched the chaotic departure of US troops from Afghanistan, including their last-minute evacuations from the besieged Kabul airport. .
Although tens of thousands of American troops are still deployed to the Arabian Peninsula as a counterweight to Iran, the Gulf nations are concerned about the future plans of the United States. The armed forces of those nations perceive a growing threat in Asia that requires such missile defenses in that region.RELATED
Tensions remained high with negotiations on the collapsed nuclear deal with Iran reportedly stranded in Vienna, increasing the danger of future confrontations in the region.
“Perceptions are important, whether they are based on cold reality or not. And the perception is clear that the United States is not as committed to the Gulf as it used to be, in the opinion of many people of authority in the region, “said Kristian Ulrichsen, academic at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at the Rice University.
“From the Saudi point of view, they have now seen Obama, Trump and Biden making decisions that to some extent mean abandonment,” he added.
Prince Sultan Air Base, about 115 kilometers (70 miles) southeast of Riyadh, has hosted thousands of US troops since a 2019 missile and drone attack on the kingdom’s oil production hub. That attack – although it was claimed by Yemen’s Houthi rebels – was considered the work of Iran, according to experts and physical evidence. Tehran has denied launching the attack, although similar drones were used by Iranian paramilitary forces during exercises in January.