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USA: Washington to deploy extra forces to Mid East after Saudi oil attacks

1 21.09.2019 Инфо

*BUG AT SOURCE*
W/S US Defence Secretary Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford at press conference, Arlington
SOT, Mark Esper, US Secretary of Defense: "The Iranian regime is waging a deliberate campaign to destabilise the Middle East and impose costs on the international economy. In recent months Iran has increased its military activity through direct attacks and support to its proxies in the region. In the Persian Gulf and Golf of Oman which are vital waterways for global commerce, Iran has threatened the safe passage of ships by attacking commercial vessels and illegally seizing a British oil tanker. In Yemen, Iran is perpetuating war by providing sustained financial support and advanced weapons to the Houthi insurgency. And on June 20th Iran shot down a United States unmanned aircraft that was flying over international waters. Despite repeated calls from President Trump to begin diplomatic talks, Iranian aggression continues to increase. In the face of this sustained malign behaviour, the United States and other countries have demonstrated great restraint in hopes that Iranian leadership would choose peace and reverse Iran's steep decline into isolation and economic collapse. But the attack on September 14th against Saudi Arabian oil facilities represents a dramatic escalation of Iranian aggression. It is clear based on detailed exploitation conducted by the Saudi, United States, and other international investigative teams that the weapons used in the attack were Iranian-produced and were not launched from Yemen as was initially claimed. All indications are that Iran was responsible for the attack. The United States has a responsibility to protect our citizens and our interests in the region and the international community has a responsibility to protect the global economy and international rules and norms. All of this is threatened by Iran's significant escalation of violence. This week I've been in dialogue with the Saudi defence minister and other partners about this latest attack. To prevent further escalation, Saudi Arabia requested international support to help protect the Kingdom's critical infrastructure. The United Arab Emirates has also requested assistance. In response to the kingdom's request, the president has approved the deployment of US forces which will be defensive in nature and primarily focused on air and missile defence. We will also work to accelerate the delivery of military equipment to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE to enhance their ability to defend themselves. The purpose of the additional defensive support we will provide is as follows. First to send a clear message that the United States supports our partners in the region. Second to ensure the free flow of resources necessary to support the global economy. And third to demonstrate our commitment to upholding the international rules-based order that we have long called on Iran to obey. As the president has made clear the United States does not seek conflict with Iran. That said we have many other military options available should they be necessary. We urge the Iranian leadership to cease their destructive and destabilising activities and to move forward on a peaceful diplomatic path." *MULTIPLE SHOTS AT SOURCE*
M/S Journalist asking question *CUTAWAY*
SOT, Reporter: "Do you think this is going to be enough, or why do you think this would be enough to deter Iran from further attacks?"
SOT, Mark Esper, US Secretary of Defense: "We think, given the state of play now, and then based on whatever assessments we get from Central Command, what the Joint Staff and the Chairman do, and other discussions we're having with partners - we have to continually assess that. We think that for now, that would be sufficient, but that doesn't mean there couldn't be additional deployments as needed, based on the changing situation.
SOT, Reporter: "And on troop numbers?"
SOT, Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: "I would say at this point a moderate deployment, Phil (reporter), we'll have more details for you next week. But not ready to share the details."
SOT, Reporter: "But not thousands? Thousands would be, not moderate?"
SOT, Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: "That's fair to say, not thousands." *MULTIPLE SHOTS AT SOURCE*
M/S Journalist asking question *CUTAWAY*
SOT, Mark Esper, US Secretary of Defense: "This is the first step we're taking with regard to responding to these attacks. And again, for the reasons I outlined, to help bolster the defences of Saudi Arabia and provide equipment to both the Saudis and (the) UAE (United Arab Emirates), and second to ensure the free flow of commerce through the Strait. And third, to ensure we protect and defend the international rules-based order. And try to convince the Iranians to get back on the diplomatic path."
SOT, Reporter: "But the deployment of these kinds of assets can often take days and weeks. Should we expect any other kind of more immediate response from the United States?"
SOT, Mark Esper, US Secretary of Defense: "The United States has a robust presence in the Gulf already. We bolstered it further in May. So we feel quite confident in terms of our own defensive posture and our ability to do anything else as necessary. But that's not where we are right now. Right now we're focused on helping the Saudis improve their defences of that infrastructure." *MULTIPLE SHOTS AT SOURCE*
M/S Esper and Dunford leaving press conference
SCRIPT
Additional US troops and military equipment will be deployed in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), according to US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, in the wake of drone attacks on Saudi oil sites that the US has blamed on Iran.
Speaking from Arlington on Friday, Esper stated that Saudi Arabia and the UAE had requested additional assistance and said that "the deployment of US forces which will be defensive in nature and primarily focused on air and missile defence."
"We will also work to accelerate the delivery of military equipment to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE to enhance their ability to defend themselves," he added.
The US Secretary of Defense did not rule out further measures, specifying that this this deployment is a "first step."
The drone attacks took place on September 14 at an oil processing facility in Abqaiq and the Khurais oil field, effectively cutting production by 5.7 million barrels per day or 5 percent of global output.
Houthi militants operating in Yemen claimed responsibility for the attacks. The US and Saudi authorities have however both accused Iran of being responsible, although Tehran has repeatedly denied this.