U.S. to Withdraw Hundreds of Troops, Air Defense Systems From Across Middle East, WSJ Reports

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Biden in Delaware, yesterday
Biden in Delaware, yesterdayCredit: Alex Brandon / AP

The Biden Administration is planning to begin withdrawing their antimissile systems from stations across the Middle East as well as hundreds of troops, the Wall Street Journal has reported.  

The U.S. is shifting the placement of its armed forces to better confront military threats from China and Russia, the report said.

The report, confirmed by administration officials to the paper, said that the Pentagon will withdraw around eight Patriot antimissile batteries from countries including Kuwait, Iraq, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

The U.S. will also reduce the number of fighter jet squadrons in Saudi Arabia, as well as ordering the removal of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, from the kingdom.

U.S. President Joe Biden has made a sharp departure from his predecessor Donald Trump's maximum pressure Iran policy, engaging in negotiations to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal.

The decision reflects a marked shift in the Biden administration's priorities for the region, turning away from Iraq and Afghanistan and towards countering Russia and China.

On Wednesday, Biden met with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Geneva, where they agreed to begin nuclear arms control talks to build on the New START treaty, a cornerstone of global arms control and agreed to work to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

Putin said the two sides were aware of their special responsibility for global strategic stability and the important role of the treaty, extended by the two countries at the eleventh hour earlier this year.

"I think it is clear to everyone that President Biden has made the responsible and, in our view, perfectly timely decision to extend the New START treaty for five years, which means until 2024," Putin said.

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