A downsizing of US military assets in Saudi Arabia will not affect its defence capabilities, the Riyadh-led coalition said Sunday, after it intercepted the largest number of Yemeni rebel drones in a single day.
Washington on Friday said it was cutting the number of troops and air defence units deployed to the Middle East, including Patriot batteries and an anti-missile system, called THAAD, from Saudi Arabia.
“This will not affect the Saudi air defences,” coalition spokesman Turki al-Maliki told reporters.
“We have a strong understanding with… our allies about the threat in the region. We do have the capability to defend our country.”
The US drawdown comes as President Joe Biden’s administration seeks to ease tensions with Iran, Saudi Arabia’s arch-foe, after they heated up in 2019 under his predecessor Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign on Tehran.
Maliki did not disclose how many Patriots the kingdom currently has.
In April, Greece said it will lend a Patriot battery to Saudi Arabia to protect its critical energy infrastructure.