Washington/ Riyadh: Yemen’s Houthi rebels have intensified airstrikes on Saudi over a few days. Amidst this, the US decision to withdraw the Patriot-advanced missile defence system deployed Saudi has drawn everyone’s attention. Analysts claim that this would send wrong signals to US allies in the Middle East
In 2019, Iran backed Houthi rebels had launched missiles attacks on Saudi’s oil production unit. Subsequently, the US had deployed their Patriot missile defence system, THAAD and several thousand US troops. However, Biden Administration have now initiated the withdrawal of their military deployment. The US military policy is shifting towards being centric to China and Russia. Hence, Biden Administration is realigning its military deployment in other regions.
Since 2014, there has been an ongoing conflict between Saudi, its allies and Iran backed Houthi rebels. Saudi has faced huge losses in this conflict but is willing to back out yet. A few months ago, Saudi Arabia offered peace talks with Houthi rebels through mediation by the United Nations and the United States. Houthi rebels rejected the proposal and threatened to intensify the attacks.
Iran’s nuclear threat has been increasing. A few days back, US Officials have suggested uncertainty on the existing nuclear deal with Iran. The situation has deteriorated after the new regime in Iran. Besides, Iran seems to have accelerated its nuclear plans.
With these developments, Saudi had requested the US to continue with the military deployment. While talking to the US media house, Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal, the kingdom’s former intelligence chief, referred to the deployment of the Patriot to signify US commitment to the region. He claimed that withdrawing Patriot missiles from Saudi Arabia when Saudi Arabia is the victim of missile attacks and drone attacks is not a good decision.
Some analysts have expressed anguish about US decision to leave Afghanistan and now to withdraw the missile system from Saudi. They claim this will dent the US position and its image globally. Furthermore, they contended that US should not have rushed to withdraw the missile system from Saudi, especially when Taliban has taken over Afghanistan and there is a new regime in Iran. A few months back, reports suggested that Saudi entered into an agreement with Greece for the Patriot missile defence system.