US Sends Tomahawk-Capable Destroyer to Plug Hole in Saudi Defences After Oil Attack – Report

Saturday, September 21, 2019
By Paul Martin

by Tim Korso

US President Donald Trump earlier gave a green light to a “moderate” American military deployment to Saudi Arabia to protect it from possible future attacks coming from Iran. The decision came soon after both the kingdom and Washington accused the Islamic Republic of attacking Saudi Aramco facilities, despite Tehran denying this.

The US has redeployed the USS Nitze destroyer to the northeast coast of Saudi Arabia in a bid to “plug the gap” in Saudi Arabia’s air defences that was allegedly used in the 14 September raid on its oil facilities, CBS reported. The redeployment comes in line with previous allegations from Washington and Riyadh that the attack came from Iran to the north, rather than from Yemen in the southwest.

The USS Nitze has an Aegis launch system on board that is capable of firing both SM-3 missiles to serve as air defence, and Tomahawk missiles as a strike capability. The latter’s range would allow the Nitze to deliver strikes anywhere in Iran, if such an order is issued.

The redeployment comes soon after US President Donald Trump gave a nod to sending a “moderate” military contingency to the region in a bid to protect its allies there, specifically Saudi Arabia, from possible future Iranian attacks. The decision was made in the wake of both the US and Saudi Arabia accusing Iran of the recent strikes on Saudi Aramco facilities, which were claimed by Yemen’s Houthi militants.

Iran has vehemently denied the accusations from Washington and Riyadh. Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has accused the US of trying to divert attention from the real problems in the region and warned that any military strike against Tehran would spark an “all-out-war” against the aggressor. The minister also demanded that Riyadh provide Tehran with access to the remnants of drones and missiles used in attack, which the Saudi Defence Ministry has used to assert Iran’s alleged involvement in the incident.

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