(Photo credit: AP)
The Wall Street Journal reported on 21 March that for the past month, the US has been re-deploying its advanced Patriot missile defense systems in Saudi Arabia at the urgent request of Riyadh.
The move comes amid the strained relations between Washington and Riyadh, as well as increased retaliatory strikes against the kingdom by the Yemeni armed forces, including the most recent one on 20 March.
The US withdrew its Patriot missile defense systems from Saudi Arabia in 2021 as part of a renewed strategy to confront what Pentagon officials refer to as “the threats of the future,” meaning China and Russia.
The lack of support has left the gulf kingdom vulnerable in the face of Yemeni retaliatory strikes.
In response to the reduced US support, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) suggested in an interview from 3 March that the Gulf kingdom may reduce its investments in the US.
“We have the possibility of boosting our interests, and the possibility of reducing them,” MbS declared.
Saudi Arabia has been strengthening its relationship with China during this period of strained relations with the US.
Late last year, CNN published a report alleging that Saudi Arabia has begun producing its own ballistic missiles for the first time with Chinese assistance.
US intelligence officials also confirmed to CNN that Washington has discovered “evidence” of missile technology exchanges between Saudi Arabia and China.
The kingdom may also be looking to switch from the US dollar to Chinese yuan for its oil sales to Beijing. Such a move would threaten the world reserve currency status of the US dollar.
The US seeks to pressure its oil-rich partners in the Arabian Peninsula to increase oil output in the wake of skyrocketing oil prices that have hit the US since they slapped unprecedented sanctions on Russia in late February.
The US has had no luck with Saudi Arabia in this matter, who has pledged to maintain consistent OPEC+ output levels.
The UAE has similarly snubbed the west by warming relations with Russia, despite the global sanctions regimen against Russia’s oil and financial sectors.