The United States has removed its most advanced missile defense system and Patriot batteries from Saudi Arabia in recent weeks, amid continued air attacks from Houthis rebels on the Kingdom’s Military assets and civilian population. The US government was working on relocating its military hardware deployed in Saudi Arabia for defending the Kingdom from Houthi’s attacks during recent months. According to reports, America’s rare move has shocked many of its Arab allies because Gulf nations worry about the US’s plans due to growing threat in the region from Iran and Houthi militia against US allies requires those missile defenses. Tens of thousands of American forces are stationed across the Arabian Peninsula in various countries including KSA to fulfill America’s defense requirements. Presently, the tension between Iran and the US and allies remained high because the indirect talks had struck a deadlock.
In fact, America’s removal of air defense systems from Saudi Arabia amid growing threat of Houthis air attack against the Kingdom is not surprising for those who know about the working methodology of the United States. During recent years, the Iraqi government was working for normalization of relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Iran, and these efforts had made significant progress. Both rival states were working seriously to settle down their differences and these efforts were not being perceived by the US as a constructive contribution toward regional peace and cooperation, because regional peace does not better serve the American interests in the region. The targeted killing of Irani General Qasem Soleimani by the US Forces during his visit to Iraq in January 2020 was aimed at sabotaging the Saudi-Iran negotiations for improvement of their bilateral relations.
However, Soleimani’s death did not halt these Iraqi efforts and recently Saudi and Irani Foreign Ministers met in Baghdad on the sidelines of a regional conference hosted by the Iraqi government. After these developments, the United States has reduced its contacts with KSA and Iraq during the Biden era. Currently, US has removed its defenses from Saudi Arabia and did not use its military bases in these countries for temporary stay of Afghan evacuees during recent days.
While commenting on the situation, the Saudi Defense Minister defined the kingdom’s relationship with the United States as strong, longstanding, and historic, while acknowledging the withdrawal of the American missile defense systems from its land. According to the Saudi Defense Minister, the Saudi military can defend its land, seas, and airspace, and protect its people. On the other hand, US officials said that the US has removed the air defense assets from Saudi Arabia for maintenance purposes.
In fact, diplomatic statements are always like honey coated pills which do exactly interpret such a situation, rather actions better represent the direction of the countries where they intend to move. Presently, the US-Saudi ties have witnessed record low after the first Iraq war. In fact, United States friendship spins around its interests and America always wants its friends to sacrifice their interests for it. Historically, as, and when US’s objectives and needs are fulfilled, America takes no time in changing its discourse and Ibn-e-Saud is facing this behavior for the first time in their relations with the United States.