US Secretary of Defense Esper meets King Salman, asks NATO to protect Saudi Arabia from Iran

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King Salman receives US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper in Riyadh. (SPA)
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King Salman receives US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper in Riyadh. (SPA)
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King Salman receives US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper in Riyadh. (SPA)
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King Salman receives US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper in Riyadh. (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met US Defense Secretary Mark Esper in Riyadh. (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met US Defense Secretary Mark Esper in Riyadh. (SPA)
Updated 22 October 2019

US Secretary of Defense Esper meets King Salman, asks NATO to protect Saudi Arabia from Iran

  • The meeting with King Salman tackled joint security and defense issues
  • Esper will urge allies to contribute more to the defense of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region to counter Iran’s threats

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman received US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper in his office on Tuesday to discuss strategic cooperation between Riyadh and Washington, state news agency SPA reported.
“Today, I discussed the deployment of US forces and equipment to #SaudiArabia with @KingSalman,” Esper tweeted following the meeting. 

The meeting, where top officials from both countries were also present, also tackled joint security and defense issues and the situation in the region.
“We agree with the need to take a firm defensive stance in the region to deter Iranian malign behavior and promote stability,” he added.
Esper then met Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to review bilateral relations, particularly in the military and defense sectors, as well as a number of issues of mutual interest and regional and international developments.
The US defense secretary arrived in the Kingdom a day earlier on an unannounced visit, with tensions simmering between Washington and Tehran, and Russia seeking to boost its influence in the Middle East.
US-Iran tensions have risen to new highs since May 2018, when the Trump administration withdrew from an international accord that put limits on Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for easing sanctions.
As reinstated sanctions put pressure on Iran’s economy, there have been a series of attacks which Washington and close allies blame on Tehran. Iran denies responsibility.
Also on Tuesday, the US defense secretary visited the Prince Sultan Air Base, where he met with troops and assessed the capabilities that the US has deployed to the region to help defend Saudi Arabia, deter Iran and prevent conflict.

Esper got a look at one of the Patriot batteries as he toured the military base.

Esper said he will urge allies later this week to contribute more to the defense of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region to counter threats from Iran.
The plan is part of a broader US effort to get NATO allies to take on more responsibility for Gulf security. That has included US pleas for nations to send ships, aircraft and air defense systems to the region.
The US has already agreed to send three Patriot missile batteries, dozens of fighter jets and other aircraft to Saudi Arabia. 
He says the Saudis will “help underwrite” some of the US costs for the additional aid, which includes about 3,000 American troops.


Coalition destroy Houthi drone targeting Saudi Arabia

Updated 23 October 2020

Coalition destroy Houthi drone targeting Saudi Arabia

  • The drone was targeting civilian areas in the south of the Kingdom
  • Saudi Arabia last week denounced the Houthi militia’s continued launch of drones targeting civilians in the Kingdom

DUBAI: Saudi-led Arab coalition intercepted a Houthi drone targeting civilian areas in the Kingdom on Friday, state news agency SPA reported.
“Forces of the Arab coalition have destroyed a drone launched by terrorist Houthi militants on civilian areas in the south,” Spokesperson Col. Turki Al-Maliki said.
Saudi Arabia last week denounced the Houthi militia’s continued launch of drones targeting civilians in the Kingdom.
The attacks are carried out in “a systematic and deliberate manner, which is a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law and its customary rules,” the Saudi council of ministers said in a weekly meeting.
The cabinet said the Kingdom wanted to “promote the values of pluralism and international cooperation stipulated in the United Nations Charter, in order to achieve sustainable development plans and goals and overcome challenges to reach a more inclusive and just world.”
The council reviewed a number of other issues and regional and international developments.
The ministers also said recent positive estimates of credit rating agencies on the Kingdom’s economy reflected its ability to face global economic challenges.