The US redeploys troops in the Gulf. What’s behind the move?
The U.S. redeployed its troops in the Gulf States and its waters to thwart any further Iranian attacks on American allies in the region.
The redeployment comes with the approval of Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states. The move follows two recent attacks by Iran and/or its proxies on Saudi oil assets in the region.
On May 12, four oil tankers docked in a port in the United Arab Emirates and were sabotaged in a sophisticated attack. This attack was followed by the bombing of two pumping stations in Saudi Arabia located on a strategic pipeline (see video below) on May 14 by drones carrying explosives.
Although no one claimed responsibility for the first attack, the U.S. said Iran was responsible. The second attack was claimed by the Houthi’s, Iran’s proxy militia in Yemen.
“Iran knows that it cannot attack American forces without dire consequences. This redeployment is the best way for the U.S. to both protect crucial oil assets of its allies in the Gulf countries and deter Iran from starting a war with America,” Clarion Arab Affairs Analyst and Shillman Fellow Ran Meir said.
“In recent days, we’ve seen declarations from both sides (America and Iran) that neither of them wants a war. The current redeployment of American forces in the region is good for both America and the Gulf Countries.”
The redeployment comes with the approval of the GCC and was based on previous bilateral agreements.
“Saudi Arabia and the rest of GCC states do not wish to start a war with Iran, but they want to send a strong message to Tehran that it cannot cross the red line by continuing to provoke forces operating in the Gulf of Arabia,” sources told the London-based Saudi news outlet Asharq Al-Awsat (The Middle East).
Iran has already threatened to close down the Strait of Hormuz, a crucial waterway for oil exports from the Gulf States. The Saudi pipeline that was attacked by Iran bypasses the need for access to the Strait of Hormez. Iranian control of both of these assets would essentially mean the economic strangulation of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, not to mention the Western world that depends on oil from the Gulf States.
The recent attacks by Iran followed the announcement that the U.S. was deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the region after receiving an intelligence warning that Iran was planning to attack American assets.
For a further understanding of recent developments in the region regarding the deployment of American forces and the current attacks by Iran, watch the following highly informative video: