The United States is sending military forces to the Middle East after Saturday drone attacks on major oil sites in Saudi Arabia that the administration of President Donald Trump blamed Iran.
"The president approved the deployment of US forces that will be defensive in nature and focused primarily on air defense and missiles," US Defense Secretary Mark Esper told a news conference on Friday.
Esper did not say how many troops would be sent, but said they would focus mainly on air and missile defenses.
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"As the president has made clear, the United States does not seek conflict with Iran. That said, we have many other military options available if needed," he said.
Saudi Arabia has called for what the secretary described as "extra defensive support," he said, and "will send a clear message that the United States supports our partners in the region."
The move was also made with commerce in mind, as the attack targeted the world's largest oil processing facility.
The extra troops would help "ensure the free flow of support or resources needed to support the global economy," said Esper.