According to Pentagon officials, the US has begun negotiations with Saudi Arabia on the question of cost-sharing for the ever-growing US military presence in the Saudi kingdom. Talks began with the arrival of US radar and air defense systems.
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley met with the Saudi crown prince this week and brought up this matter. Milley was presenting the US presence as aimed squarely at Iran, and deterring Iran from attacking the Saudis.
Gen. Milley also intended to give the impression that this was not a short-term mission, either, saying the US wants to maintain this presence in the region as part of America’s overall regional footprint.
The US commitment of thousands of troops, warplanes and missiles into Saudi Arabia is potentially an expensive proposition, and the administration has been keen in those cases to push for the host country to help defray the costs. It is not clear how much the presence is costing the US so far, and it is unclear how much the US is seeking from the Saudis.
All of this talk of long-term presence and cost-sharing is also likely to portend yet more US deployments into Saudi Arabia, as the administration continues to talk up Iranian “threats” and the need for a US presence in the area.