Saudis Expanding US Military Access to Airfields, Port, to Counter Iran

The year-old initiative is intended to give CENTCOM “more options” in a fight, general reveals.

From Government Executive Media Group


YANBU, SAUDI ARABIA, Media — The U.S. military is expanding its ability to operate from Saudi Arabia in the event of a war with Iran, striking a preliminary arrangement with Riyadh to use various air bases and seaports in the country’s western regions.

The U.S. military has long kept a host of military assets and thousands of troops in Gulf kingdoms on the eastern flank of Saudi Arabia, including at permanent bases in Qatar, Kuwait, the UAE, and elsewhere. But Iran’s ballistic missiles have improved, those bases have become increasingly vulnerable, analysts say.

In a conflict with Iran, the United States would be able to transport troops in and out of the region from the west, posture fighters and other aircraft further from Iran’s missile launchers, and “lily-pad” eastward into the fight, Gen. Frank McKenzie told reporters traveling with him to the region to inspect three of the new locations.

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