America is fueling Iran - Saudi Arabia war to sell more arms to Riyadh?
ISLAMABAD - Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has repeated trumped-up "Iran threat" on a visit to Saudi Arabia amid US push to sell more arms to Riyadh, which is America's number one weapons buyer.
He met with Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and discussed shared security interests in the Persian Gulf and the alleged Iran threats.
Pompeo "assured the Crown Prince that the United States stands with Saudi Arabia in the face of these threats, as reflected in our greater military presence in Saudi Arabia," US State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.
Pompeo also visited Sultan Air Base near the Saudi capital, where some 2,500 US troops have been stationed since last summer.
"The visit to Prince Sultan air base and a nearby US Patriot battery highlights the longstanding US-Saudi security relationship and reaffirms America's determination to stand with Saudi Arabia in the face of Iranian malign behavior," the State Department said.
The base is home to a squadron of US Air Force F-15E fighter jets that fly daily missions over Iraq and Syria and Patriot missile batteries.
Pompeo’s visit to Saudi Arabia revolved mostly around countering Iran, although he was forced by a group of US Senators to address the issue of imprisoned US citizens inside Saudi Arabia.
Among those imprisoned are two writers and dual US-Saudi citizens, Badr al-Ibrahim and Salah al-Haidar, son of prominent imprisoned feminist Aziza al-Yousef.
They were arrested in April 2019 amid Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s crackdown on pro-democracy activists.
Like most of Saudi Arabia’s human rights violations, the imprisonment of US citizens does not affect US support for the kingdom, US media said.