Saudi Arabia Paid US $500 Million to Cover Troop Costs

Pentagon unable to confirm reported December payment

An unnamed US official has reported that Saudi Arabia has paid the United States an estimated $500 million to defray the cost of US troop deployments on Saudi soil. The payment was made in December.

This is far afield of what President Trump has claimed. Last week, he told Fox News that Saudi Arabia “had already deposited $1 billion in the bank.” Even that was a step back from December, when Trump claimed he’d gotten “billions of dollars” from them.

The Pentagon cannot confirm so far that any payment has been made, but the Defense Department did say that discussions with the Saudis are ongoing with an eye toward increasing the amount the Saudis are paying.

The presumption among US officials is that the costs are rising because of thousands of additional troops being send to Saudi Arabia recently, and that subsequently the Saudis will be expected to cover the difference.

Talk of the Saudis paying ever more for a US military presence has been emphasized by top officials, Trump in particular, amid pushes to get more money out of other countries that host US forces. Most immediately, the US wants billions from South Korea, and is expected to seek more from Japan and Germany.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.