Iraqi PM ahead of Saudi Arabia visit: Facing a major shift in relationship with Riyadh

Iraqi PM Adel Abdul-Mahdi said ahead of his visit to Saudi Arabia that his country was facing a major shift in its relationship with Riyadh. (AP/File Photo)
Updated 16 April 2019
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Iraqi PM ahead of Saudi Arabia visit: Facing a major shift in relationship with Riyadh

  • Adel Abdul-Mahdi looking to strengthen ties between two countries
  • Will start visit to Kingdom on Wednesday

RIYADH: Iraq's prime minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi said ahead of his visit to Saudi Arabia that his country was facing a major shift in its relationship with Riyadh.

Abdul-Mahdi tweeted: "I will begin an official visit to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, accompanied by a delegation of senior ministers and business leaders.

"During the visit, I will sign a number of bilateral agreements to strengthen cooperation between our countries."

A Saudi Arabian delegation visited Iraq earlier in April, when a new consulate in Baghdad was opened and $1 billion in loans for development projects in Iraq was announced.

The opening of the new consulate building came as senior ministers from the Kingdom visited Baghdad as part of a meeting of the Saudi-Iraqi Coordination Council.


Pentagon plans to send 5,000 more troops to Middle East amid Iran threat: US officials

Updated 23 May 2019
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Pentagon plans to send 5,000 more troops to Middle East amid Iran threat: US officials

  • Tehran and Washington have this month been escalating rhetoric against each other
  • The US military deployed a carrier strike group, bombers and Patriot missiles to the Middle East earlier this month

WASHINGTON: The US Department of Defense is considering a US military request to send about 5,000 additional troops to the Middle East amid increasing tensions with Iran, two US officials told Reuters on Wednesday.
Tehran and Washington have this month been escalating rhetoric against each other, following US President Donald Trump’s decision to try to cut Iran’s oil exports to zero and beef up the US military presence in the Gulf in response to what he said were Iranian threats.
The officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the request had been made by US Central Command, but added that it was not clear whether the Pentagon would approve the request.
The Pentagon regularly receives — and declines — requests for additional resources from US combatant commands throughout the world.
One of the officials said the requested troops would be defensive in nature.
This appeared to be the latest request for additional resources in the face of what US officials have said are credible threats from Iran against US forces and American interests in the Middle East.
The Pentagon declined to comment on future plans.
“As a matter of longstanding policy, we are not going to discuss or speculate on potential future plans and requests for forces,” Commander Rebecca Rebarich, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said on Wednesday.
Acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said on Tuesday that while threats from Iran in the Middle East remained high, deterrence measures taken by the Pentagon had “put on hold” the potential for attacks on Americans.
The US military deployed a carrier strike group, bombers and Patriot missiles to the Middle East earlier this month in response to what Washington said were troubling indications of possible preparations for an attack by Iran.
Trump had warned on Monday that Iran would be met with “great force” if it attacked US interests in the Middle East.