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The United States is deploying troops in Saudi Arabia as tensions soar with its arch-rival Iran raising concerns over navigation in the Gulf's strategic Strait of Hormuz.
It will be the first deployment of its kind since 2003, when American forces withdrew from the kingdom after a 12-year presence and two US-led wars with Iraq that culminated with the toppling of dictator Saddam Hussein.
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Separate statements from Riyadh and the US Central Command, or CENTCOM, say the Saudi deployment aims to ensure stability in the turbulent Gulf.
Cooperation - Saudi - Arabia - United - States
"Based on mutual cooperation between Saudi Arabia and the United States of America, and their desire to enhance everything that could preserve the security of the region and its stability... King Salman gave his approval to host American forces," the Saudi defence ministry said.
CENTCOM said the deployment "provides an additional deterrent, and ensures our ability to defend our forces and interests in the region from emergent, credible threats".
Andreas - Krieg - Professor - King - College
But for Andreas Krieg, a professor at King's College London, the troop movement "is part of posturing and the US trying to increase its military options in case of a strike on Iran".
Washington and Tehran have been locked in a standoff since May 2018, when US President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran and began ratcheting up sanctions against the Islamic republic.
Trump - Saudi - Ally - Iran - Tankers
Trump and his oil-rich Saudi ally have also accused Iran of attacking tankers and drones in the Gulf since last May.
Iran denies the charges and has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz -- a chokepoint for around a third of the world's sea-borne oil -- if attacked.
Riyadh - Washington - Number - Troops - Kingdom
Riyadh and Washington have not revealed the number of troops that will be deployed in the kingdom, which lies about 200 kilometres (125 miles) from Iranian shores.
But US media reports...
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