Amr Nabil / AP
President Trump has approved the deployment of additional US forces in the Middle East to strengthen air and missile defense in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the Pentagon said late Friday.
Defense Minister Mark Esper called the move a first step, saying that its use in nature would be defensive. He said the operation came in response to requests for help from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called the operation moderate, but did not disclose details of the number of troops involved. He said the Pentagon would have more to say about the deployment next week.
The announcement seems to signal that President Trump has not yet decided whether to impose a military strike on Iran, which the government said was behind the attack on Saudi oil facilities.