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Wednesday, September 26, 2018, 23:31
WSJ: US removing some missile systems from Middle East
By Reuters
Wednesday, September 26, 2018, 23:31 By Reuters

In this Dec 19, 1998 photo, US marines and US Patriot missile battery are seen close to the Iraqi border in Kuwait. The Wall Street Journal reported on Sept 26, 2018 that the United States is pulling some of its anti-aircraft and missile batteries out of Jordan, Kuwait and Bahrain. (RAED QUTENA / AFP)

KUWAIT – The United States is pulling some of its anti-aircraft and missile batteries out of the Middle East, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, citing US military officials. 

The Pentagon will pull out four Patriot missile systems from Jordan, Kuwait and Bahrain next month, the report said.

Terming the decision to remove anti-missile systems as an "internal and routine procedure", Kuwait said that its defenses would not be affected

The realignment step marks a shift of focus away from long-lasting conflicts in the Middle East and Afghanistan, according to the report.

Two Patriot missile systems will be redeployed from Kuwait, and one each from Jordan and Bahrain, the report said. Patriots are mobile missile systems capable of shooting down missiles and planes. 

READ MORE: US approves possible sale of THAAD missiles to Saudi Arabia

The report comes amid rising rhetoric against Iran from the United States, which earlier this year pulled out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the 2015 deal in which Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear work in return for the lifting of most Western sanctions. 

Meanwhile, Russia and the United States have been facing diplomatic rifts over Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, involvement in the Syrian conflict and alleged meddling in the 2016 US presidential election. 

Terming the decision to remove anti-missile systems as an "internal and routine procedure", Kuwait said that its defenses would not be affected.

"Kuwait's Patriot missile system, independently, protects and covers all its geographical borders," said a statement from the Gulf Arab state's chief of staff. It added that the US decision had been coordinated with Kuwait's military.

There was no immediate comment from Jordan and Bahrain did not respond immediately to a Reuters' request for a comment.

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The move follows rising rhetoric against Iran from the US, which earlier this year pulled out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the 2015 deal in which Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear work in return for the lifting of most Western sanctions.

Wealthy Gulf states have stepped up their defense spending amid higher tensions in the region, where Shi'ite Iran and Saudi Arabia are locked in a tussle for influence, backing rival forces in political struggles or wars in Lebanon, Bahrain, Syria and Yemen.

Relations between US and Russia face a number of strains, including over Russian support for President Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian civil war and US allegations that Russia meddled in the 2016 US presidential election. Russia denies any wrongdoing.

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