The Pentagon announced “the deployment of additional U.S. forces and …two fighter squadrons, one Air Expeditionary Wing (AEW), two Patriot batteries and one Terminal High Altitude Area Defence system (THAAD)” to Saudi Arabia, noting that “taken together with other deployments this constitutes an additional 3,000 forces that have been extended or authorised within the last month”. Secretary of Defense Esper stated that “Saudi Arabia has asked for additional support to supplement their own defences and defend the international rules-based order”, adding that “we thought it was important to continue to deploy forces to deter and defend, and to send the message to the Iranians: do not strike another sovereign state, do not threaten American interests, American forces, or we will respond… do not mistake our restraint for weakness. If you will, you will regret that”. Secretary of State Pompeo also noted that “the Iranian regime must fundamentally change its behaviour and act like a normal nation. Or it can watch its economy collapse”. Commenting on the deployments, President Trump indicated that “Saudi Arabia, at my request, has agreed to pay us for everything we’re doing”.
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