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Tensions loom large in wake of US deployment

Sep 22,2019 - Last updated at Sep 22,2019

US President Donald Trump has approved the dispatch of US troops to Saudi Arabia to bolster its air and missile defence. President Trump said that the deployment was made at the Saudi behest and the number of US military personnel deployed would be limited, perhaps to signal a cool-headed response to the recent attacks on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia. 

In other words, the US engagement would be purely defensive and not aimed at provoking Tehran by escalating its military involvement, at least for the time being. 

Riyadh is also keeping its cool, as Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al Jubeir said recently that  “appropriate measures” by his government would be taken once the attackers were clearly identified. 

Meanwhile, Iran is not sitting quiet. The Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander Major General Hossein Salami warned on Saturday that any country that launches any attack on Iran will itself become the “main battlefield”.

This bellicose threat by Iran is in contrast with the mild and restrained US and Saudi reactions till now. Yet the situation in the region remains in a state of flux.

At the end of the day, it is inconceivable that the recent attacks on two major oil facilities in Saudi Arabia will go unanswered.

Scores between the two sides have yet to be settled. A sudden outbreak of hostilities in the region could happen at any time. When and how, only Trump knows for sure. If this were to happen, hopefully the fighting would be short and limited in scope and scale.

 

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