Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin directed the commander of US Central Command, which oversees the region, to withdraw forces this summer.
Pentagon spokeswoman Cmdr said some military capabilities and platforms would be returned to the United States for much-needed maintenance and repair. Jessica McNulty, while other properties will be redeployed to other areas.
“This decision was made in close coordination with host countries and with a clear eye on preserving our ability to meet our security commitments. It is about maintaining some of our high-demand, low-density assets. So that they are prepared for future requirements. Contingency,” McNulty said in a statement, adding that the Pentagon would not disclose where or when the military assets would be going.
The withdrawal of forces from the Middle East will primarily affect these and other air defense assets, including the Patriot missile battery, the statement said. The US deployed Patriot missiles in Saudi Arabia and Iraq to counter threats posed by Iran and its proxies in the region, including Iraq and Yemen. Patriot missiles have been effective in intercepting ballistic missiles, including short-range ballistic missiles fired from Yemen in recent years. But the missiles are far less effective at detecting and intercepting low-altitude drones and cruise missiles.
The withdrawal of troops from Saudi Arabia and neighboring countries comes as part of a wider decline in the region. The US stands ready to complete the withdrawal of all forces from Afghanistan before the September 11 deadline. There are less than 1,500 soldiers left in the country. Under the Trump administration, the number of US troops in Iraq was reduced to 2,500.
The change reflects a broad shift within the Defense Department to shift away from past wars in the Middle East to focus its efforts on countering China and Russia as future threats.
Austin nears completion of the US military’s global review. The review is based on an assessment that China is a “pacing challenge” for the United States military. The Pentagon’s China Task Force recently completed its work and submitted its recommendations, which will affect US strategy going forward, including a global currency review.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said at a press briefing last week, “These initiatives, some of which will be classified, are designed to focus on departmental processes and procedures and help department leaders deal with China’s challenge.” to contribute to the entire government effort.” .