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Desert Shield Part II: Pentagon sending US troops to Saudi Arabia
The U.S. military is sending an unspecified number of troops to Saudi Arabia following an attack on Saudi oil refineries that the U.S. government has blamed on Iran, top defense officials announced on Friday.
Saudi Arabia had requested international help to help protect the country's infrastructure following the Sept. 14 attacks by Iranian drones and cruise missiles, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said at a Pentagon news briefing. The United Arab Emirates has also required help.
"In response to the kingdom's request, the president has approved the deployment of U.S. forces, which will be defensive in nature, and primarily focused on air and missile defense," Esper said. "We will also work to accelerate the delivery of military equipment to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE to enhance their ability to defend themselves."
Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, would not say how many service members are headed to Saudi Arabia, but he characterized the deployment as involving a "moderate" number of troops. He told a reporter it would be "fair to say" it wouldn't be in the thousands.
"Secretary [of State Mike] Pompeo just came back this morning and the Saudis asked for enhanced defensive capabilities, so what we'll do now is take the president's decision; I'll talk with CENTCOM over the weekend ; we'll talk to our Saudi partners; and we'll work the details of the deployment. We'll be able to share that with you next week," Dunford said at Friday's briefing.
The United States is looking for other countries to also contribute Saudi Arabia's defense, Dunford said. Esper said the deployment of U.S. forces is meant to support the United States' partners in the Middle East, to ensure the free flow of commerce, and to show the United States' commitment to international rules.
The U.S. forces being sent to Saudi Arabia should be sufficient for now, "But that doesn't mean there could be additional deployments as needed, based on the changing situation," Esper said.
When asked if President Trump's decision to send U.S. troops to Saudi Arabia indicated he had decided not to launch retaliatory military strikes against Iran for the oil refinery attacks, Esper did not answer directly.
"This is the first step that we're taking with regard to responding to these attacks," Esper said. "The United States has a robust presence in the [Persian] Gulf already. We bolstered it further in May. So, we feel quite confident in terms of our own defensive posture and our ability to do anything else as necessary."
"But that's not where we are right now," he continued. "Right now, we're focused on helping the Saudis improve their defenses of that infrastructure."
In 1990, then President George H.W. Bush deployed troops to Saudi Arabia in response to Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait. The move ultimately enraged Osama bin Laden and became one of the justifications for Al Qaeda attacks on the United States.
A Marine wanted for killing his mother's boyfriend reportedly escaped police by hiding inside an RV they'd spent hours searching before towing it to a parking lot, where he escaped under the cover of darkness.
It wasn't until more than two weeks later authorities finally caught up to Michael Brown at his mom's home, which was the scene of the crime.
Brown stuffed himself into a tight spot in his camper during an hours-long search of the vehicle on Nov. 10, according to NBC affiliate WSLS in Virginia. A day earlier, cops said Brown fatally shot his mother's boyfriend, Rodney Brown. The AWOL Marine remained on the lam until Nov. 27, where he was finally apprehended without incident.
No motive is yet known for last week's Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard shooting tragedy, which appears to have been a random act of violence in which the sailor who fatally shot two civilian workers and himself did not know them and did not plan his actions ahead of time, shipyard commander Capt. Greg Burton said in an "All Hands" message sent out Friday.
Machinist's Mate Auxiliary Fireman Gabriel Antonio Romero of San Antonio, an armed watch-stander on the attack submarine USS Columbia, shot three civilian workers Dec. 4 and then turned a gun on himself while the sub rested in dry dock 2 for a major overhaul, the Navy said.
"The investigation continues, but there is currently no known motive and no information to indicate the sailor knew any of the victims," Burton said.
SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea said it had successfully conducted another test at a satellite launch site, the latest in a string of developments aimed at "restraining and overpowering the nuclear threat of the U.S.", state news agency KCNA reported on Saturday.
The test was conducted on Friday at the Sohae satellite launch site, KCNA said, citing a spokesman for North Korea's Academy of Defence Science, without specifying what sort of testing occurred.
Since the Washington Post first published the "Afghanistan papers," I have been reminded of a scene from "Apocalypse Now Redux" in which Army Col. Walter Kurtz reads to the soldier assigned to kill him two Time magazine articles showing how the American people had been lied to about Vietnam by both the Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon administrations.
In one of the articles, a British counterinsurgency expert tells Nixon that "things felt much better and smelled much better" during his visit to Vietnam.
"How do they smell to you, soldier?" Kurtz asks.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Erik Prince, the controversial private security executive and prominent supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump, made a secret visit to Venezuela last month and met Vice President Delcy Rodriguez, one of socialist leader Nicolas Maduro's closest and most outspoken allies, according to five sources familiar with the matter.