Secretary Michael R. Pompeo With Ben Shapiro of the Ben Shapiro Show (Excerpts)

May 8, 2020

Related Country: 

  • Saudi Arabia

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QUESTION: And so we’re doing a little bit of globetrotting here, Secretary Pompeo, but I wanted to ask you about a little-noticed story yesterday with regard to the United States withdrawing batteries of Patriot surface-to-air missiles from Saudi Arabia. The presumption here is that Iran is no longer seen as as much of a threat to Saudi Arabian territory, particularly given their weak economic status and the pandemic, but there was speculation that perhaps this was some sort of pressure put on Saudi Arabia to decrease its oil supply so as not to continue overwhelming the oil markets with a glut. What is the reason the United States withdrew those Patriot missiles?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah, I really appreciate this question. I want to – I’d love to clear that all up. This was none – it was none of the above with respect to that. Those Patriot batteries had been in place for some time. Those troops needed to get back. They needed to reposition. I’ll leave to DOD to give the details, but this wasn’t either a recognition of a decreased threat – I wish it were so. I wish that the Islamic Republic of Iran had changed its ways, but the threat remains. It’s not a decrease in our support to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and doing everything we can to provide security for them and air defense systems so the Iranians can’t threaten them, and this was in no way an effort to pressure them with respect to the global oil issues. This was a normal rotation of forces, and I think the Iranian regime knows that too. They can see that we still have ample capability to continue to exercise both our maximum pressure campaign and our deterrence in the region.

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