US is working to integrate Saudi Arabia’s missile defence system with neighbors according to the US Central Command (CENTCOM) chief Gen. Kenneth McKenzie.
There are around 3000 US troops in Saudi Arabia and the US will continue its help to Riyadh to boost its defense capabilities against the attacks from Iran-backed groups ramp up, the top US military commander for the region said Wednesday.
Central Command chief Gen. Kenneth McKenzie said that the US “prizes” its ties with Saudi Arabia. Since 2019, the US has organized several air defense systems in the Gulf power. These include a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery, two Patriot missile batteries and others, McKenzie said during a webinar with the Beirut Institute.
Washington has been working with Saudi Arabia on its air defense systems to improve their capabilities as well as to integrate air and missile defense systems. “We are working to integrate [Saudi Arabia’s systems] with those of [its]neighbors in the region and with ours,” McKenzie said.
Fighter squadrons are constantly in Saudi Arabia on a “rotating basis,” he added.
When asked about Yemen and increased attacks by the Houthis, McKenzie said the US was aware of the “ramp-up in Houthi attacks in the last 30 days” against Saudi Arabia. This is significant, and these things are not helpful to coming to a peaceful solution in Yemen.
“It is my belief that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia does seek a negotiated political solution in Yemen, and these attacks don’t help,” the US general said. He also noted that the weapons launched from Yemen “hand Iranian fingerprints all over them.”