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US seeks ‘fallback’ Saudi bases to avoid potential Iran attacks

February 20, 2021 at 10:13 am

A member of the US Airforce looks on near a Patriot missile battery at the Prince Sultan air base in Al-Kharj, in central Saudi Arabia on 20 February, 2020 [ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images]

A senior US military official has revealed that his country’s army is seeking to use “fallback” Saudi military bases in order to avoid possible Iranian attacks, news agencies reported on Thursday.

“What we would like to do, without shutting down [current] bases is to have the ability to go to other bases to operate in a period of heightened risk,” Head of the US Army Central Command General Kenneth McKenzie explained.

He added: “We are not looking for new bases. I want to be clear on that,” referring, according to media reports, to the Saudi bases that could be quickly utilised in times of crises.

READ: US official discusses strategic defence ties with Saudi’s MBS

“These are things that any prudent military planner would want to do to increase their flexibility, to make it more difficult for the adversary to target them,” he was reported as saying.

Al-Khaleej Online reported the Wall Street Journal stating last month that the Pentagon was exploring plans for the potential use of a Red Sea port and two additional Saudi airfields.

The newspaper also reported US plans to use air bases in the Western Sahara of Morocco, which the US army is planning to develop, in the event of escalating tension with Iran.