Donald Trump Once Said Saudi Arabia Should Fight Its Own Wars. Now He's Deploying 3,000 U.S. Troops There

President Donald Trump will deploy 3,000 additional U.S. troops to Saudi Arabia, including jet fighters and a defense system, according to the BBC, something he said was a bad idea five years ago.

There is ALWAYS a tweet. https://t.co/EuHl5uk86K

— Markos Moulitsas (@markos) October 11, 2019

Up until today, it seemed as if Trump had not changed his mind. In a series of tweets October 9, Trump said that U.S. presence in the Middle East was "the worst decision ever made" and that he was in the process of bringing U.S. troops home.

The United States has spent EIGHT TRILLION DOLLARS fighting and policing in the Middle East. Thousands of our Great Soldiers have died or been badly wounded. Millions of people have died on the other side. GOING INTO THE MIDDLE EAST IS THE WORST DECISION EVER MADE.....

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 9, 2019

Two days after those tweets, the Pentagon announced that the deployment will include a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, two Patriot batteries, two fighter squadrons and one air expeditionary wing, according to CNN.

"[Defense] Secretary [Eric] Esper informed Saudi Crown Prince and Minister of Defense Muhammad bin Salman this morning of the additional troop deployment to assure and enhance the defense of Saudi Arabia," said Chief Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman in a statement. "Taken together with other deployments, this constitutes an additional 3,000 forces that have been extended or authorized within the last month."

The additional deployment is in response to the recent attack on Saudi oilfields, allegedly carried out by Iran. As of September 2019, Trump had not promised military protection to the kingdom. He did, however, say that it is a "great ally" and that "Saudi Arabia pays cash."

This is completely insane. pic.twitter.com/2gLs283qg7

— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) September 17, 2019

"We thought it was important to continue to deploy forces to deter and defend and to send the message to the Iranians: Do not strike another sovereign state, do not threaten American interests, American forces, or we will respond," Esper said, according to Euronews.

"I've said time and time again, do not mistake our restraint for weakness, if you will, you will regret that," he added.

President Donald Trump
President Donald J. Trump has ordered more U.S. troops to Saudi Arabia. Win McNamee/Getty

France24 reports that Esper spoke with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman about the additional deployment.

"It is clear," Esper said, "that the Iranians are responsible for the recent attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities."

Saudi Arabia agrees, claiming the weapons used in the attacks were used by the regime in Iran and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Iran has denied responsibility for the attacks, claiming Yemeni forces carried them out. The government in Iran has said that any retaliatory attack would be met with an immediate reaction.

Trump has also recently withdrawn U.S. forces from northeastern Syria. In response, Turkey launched an attack on the Kurdish people who had previously been allies of the U.S. in fighting the terrorist Islamic State.