What Happened: The United States is planning to announce a deployment of 1,800 military personnel to the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, according to an Oct. 11 report by Bloomberg.
Why It Matters: The United States is attempting to boost its deterrence in the region against further Iranian attacks and enhance its ability to protect its regional bases and assets. The deployment is also intended to help Saudi Arabia defend itself against potential future attacks after suffering drone and cruise missile strikes against its oil infrastructure in September. However, the composition of U.S. forces will be vital in assessing whether the deployment will be geared toward offensive or defensive missions.
Background: Tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia escalated in September after Tehran attacked the Abqaiq oil processing site, causing significant damage and temporarily taking 5.7 million barrels per day of production offline.
- How Iran's Attack Will Shape Saudi Arabia's Regional Stance (Oct. 2, 2019)
- Saudi Arabia Considers the Consequences of a Strike on Iran (Sept. 30, 2019)
- U.S.: Iran Draws Washington Deeper Into the Middle East (Sept. 27, 2019)