RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - A newspaper in Saudi Arabia in a report published on Saturday says the kingdom and other Arab countries have agreed to a request from the United States to redeploy U.S. forces in the Gulf.
The reason, the report says, is not to help facilitate a war with Iran, but 'to thwart possible Iranian attacks.'
There have been no statements out of Tehran to indicate the Islamic Republic is contemplating, or has any intention of initiating any confrontation, however the Trump administration has been sounding similar sentiments to justify its recent, rapid build-up of military strength in the Persian Gulf.
"Saudi Arabia and a number of GCC states have approved Washington's request to redeploy US forces in the waters and territories of the Arabian Gulf to thwart possible Iranian attacks in the region and not trigger a war with Tehran," the newspaper Asharq-Awsat reported, quoting 'informed Gulf sources.'
"Saudi Arabia and the rest of GCC states do not wish to start a war with Iran, but they want to send a strong message to Tehran that it cannot cross the red line by continuing to provoke forces operating in the Arabian Gulf," the sources told the newspaper.
The sources told the newspaper, Riyadh and the other GCC capitals do not wish to engage in a military confrontation with Tehran because no party would benefit from such actions.
The sources said the redeployment of U.S. forces in the Gulf states was part of joint U.S.-Gulf efforts to deter Iran and aimed to have better cooperation between American and Gulf military forces. Such measures would protect the energy supply and prevent Iran from disrupting maritime traffic in the region.
The sources told Asharq Al-Awsat the approval of Gulf states on the redeployment was based on bilateral agreements.
Washington has sent its aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and a strike force of several warships to the Arabian Gulf. Such developments come as four commercial vessels, including two Saudi oil tankers, have been sabotaged in Omanian waters, off the coast of the UAE emirates of Fujairah.
Meanwhile, a Saudi source told the Saudi newspaper, Riyadh is following-up on developments in the region in light of Iran's aggressive behaviors.
The source said the Kingdom does not wish to engage in a war with Tehran, yet Riyadh is capable of protecting its territories from any aggression.
(File photo. Pictured: Maj. Gen. Terrence J. McKenrick, U.S. Army Central deputy commanding and Gen. Dhafer bin Ali Al-Shehri, Royal Saudi Land Forces northwest area commander, at the Earnest Leader 17 closing ceremony in Saudi Arabia on 10 August 2017. The purpose of the Earnest Leader 17 exercise was to enhance interoperability and strengthen U.S. and Royal Saudi Land Forces military-to-military relationships. Photo credit: U.S. Army | Master Sgt. Mark Hanson).