Simon Henderson is the Baker fellow and director of the Bernstein Program on Gulf and Energy Policy at The Washington Institute, specializing in energy matters and the conservative Arab states of the Persian Gulf.
Articles & Testimony
Whatever combination of factors spurred the latest withdrawal of U.S. military equipment from the kingdom, the administration is tempting fate given Iran’s ongoing challenges and shifting tactics in the Gulf.
On April 30, Reuters reported that President Trump four weeks earlier had delivered an ultimatum to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman: “Cut oil supply or lose U.S. military support.” Yesterday the Wall Street Journal reported that four batteries of American Patriot surface-to-air missiles were being withdrawn from the kingdom and the F-15 jets they had been protecting there already had returned home. So perhaps President Trump played the card of withdrawing some American forces to twist MbS’s arm? Or perhaps what may be explained as simply a redeployment is a convenient reminder of who really is boss in the bilateral relationship?...