Donald Trump continues to dispatch American troops to the Middle East, though in recent months, the president has peddled a line he seems to think casts his decision in a more favorable light: Saudi Arabia, Trump keeps telling us, is paying for our deployments.
“Saudi Arabia, at my request, has agreed to pay us for everything we’re doing,” the Republican said in October. “That’s a first…. And we appreciate that.” He made similar comments a month earlier, bragging about the Saudis’ willingness to “pay cash.”
The United States has reportedly received $1 billion from Saudi Arabia to help cover the cost of American troops stationed in the kingdom, the CNN has reported quoting a U.S. official.
The payment was reportedly made in December, and last week President Trump said in a Fox News interview that the kingdom had “already deposited $1 billion in the bank.”
However, the Pentagon could not confirm to the network whether or not the payments had taken place.
“Consistent with the President’s guidance to increase partner burden-sharing, the Department of Defense has engaged Saudi Arabia on sharing the cost of these deployments, which support regional security and dissuade hostility and aggression,” Pentagon spokeswoman Cmdr. Rebecca Rebarich said.
Rebarich said that Saudi Arabia had “made the first contribution,” but that “discussions are ongoing to formalize a mechanism for future contributions that offset the cost of these deployments.”
The deployment of additional U.S. troops started in September after attacks on Saudi oil facilities. Both the U.S. and Saudi Arabia believe that Iran was behind aggression.
The funds will reportedly cover the U.S.’s overall cost of deploying troops, including fighter jets and Patriot missile defense batteries meant to protect Saudi oil fields from further attacks from Iran.
“While we will not comment on specific bilateral defense agreements, more broadly the United States encourages burden-sharing among partners in support of shared security interests, to include defense of the Arabian Gulf,” a State Department official told CNN.–thehill.com
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