US Withdraws Anti-Missile Batteries From Four Middle Eastern Countries

UMMATIMES - The United States (US) withdrew Patriot anti-missile batteries from four Middle Eastern countries. The withdrawal comes as the US reduces its military footprint in the region amid easing tensions with Iran.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Pentagon recalled about eight Patriot anti-missile batteries from Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait and Jordan. The Pentagon also recalled the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system from Saudi Arabia previously used by the administration of former president Donald Trump. The recall of the anti-missile battery marks a return to a more normal level of defense in the Middle East region.

“We still have bases in Gulf partner countries. The base is not closed, there is still a substantial presence, substantial posture in the region," a senior defense official told the Wall Street Journal.

The US deployed Patriot batteries and anti-missile troops to Saudi Arabia after an Iranian drone strike hit Saudi oil facilities. The US did a similar thing to Iraq in 2020 after missile and rocket attacks on US troops by Iran and Iran-backed militias.

The US military admits more than 109 US troops suffered concussions and other brain injuries in an Iranian ballistic missile attack on the Ain al-Assad military base in Iraq. Iran launched a ballistic missile attack after the US launched an air strike that killed top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani.

In January, President Joe Biden had sought to reduce tensions in the Middle East. US diplomats have engaged in indirect talks with Iran about reviving the 2015 nuclear deal.

US and Iranian diplomats engaged in the sixth round of talks in Vienna earlier this month. Iran is considering rejoining the 2015 nuclear deal, on the condition that the US lifts economic sanctions.

Trump unilaterally withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal and put forward a "maximum pressure" campaign against Iran. According to Biden administration officials, Trump's efforts to pressure Iran have failed to achieve the goal. This pressure has the effect of accelerating Iran's nuclear development.