2 August 2019

 

Predictions

  • Planned deployment of US troops to Saudi Arabia will provoke Islamist anger which militants will look to exploit, although capabilities will remain limited
  • Risk of isolated attacks on US interests in Kingdom will increase in coming months, although Islamic State will continue to prioritise attacks on Saudi security services
  • Iran will encourage proxy groups such as Yemen-based Houthi rebels to carry out further retaliatory attacks, including missile and drone attacks on Saudi infrastructure

Analysis

King Salman announced on 20 July a plan to station around 500 US troops at the Prince Sultan Airbase, 130 km east of Riyadh. In his speech, the King said that the decision was based on a “desire to enhance everything that could preserve the security and stability of the region”. Washington and Riyadh have not yet revealed the timeframe for the deployment, though it is expected to begin in the coming months. Separately, authorities announced on 28 July that the trial of prominent cleric Salman al-Awdah, who has been…

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