Saudi Arabia paid the United States $500m last month to have US troops stationed in the kingdom for security and protection from the increasing Iran threat.
Commander Rebecca Rebarich, a Pentagon spokeswoman, told Middle East Eye news portal that the payment was “the first contribution” in a burden-sharing partnership between the US and Saudi Arabia to support regional security.
“In response to elevated threats in the Middle East over the past eight months, the Department of Defense has deployed US military forces to the region to enhance US defences and augment Saudi air and missile defence of critical military and civilian infrastructure,” Rebarich said yesterday.
“The Saudi government has agreed to help underwrite the cost of these activities and has made the first contribution,” she said, as reported by The Middle East Eye.
The Fox News last week reported that that Saudi Arabia had “already deposited $1 billion in the bank”.
The US also charged the kingdom $331m for the cost of aerial refuelling operations that the US military provided to Saudi warplanes carrying out air strikes in Yemen.
Thousands of additional US troops and weapons have been sent to Saudi Arabia in recent months as threat increased from Iran.
Attacks on Saudi Arabia’s Abqaiq and the Khurais oil plants in September caused a spike in oil prices and disrupted more than 5 percent of global oil supply.
The US, along with European countries and Saudi Arabia, blamed Iran for the attacks, but Tehran denied any involvement.
After the attacks, the US sent about 3,000 additional troops to Saudi Arabia, including fighter squadrons, an air expeditionary wing and air defense personnel.