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Secretary of State Michael Pompeo toured a Saudi Arabian airbase where the US has deployed fighter jets and Patriot missile batteries to defend against Iranian attacks, a visit meant as a show of force against Iran and a sign of strong US–Saudi ties Bloomberg News reports. 

Lead paragraphs

“The visit Thursday to Prince Sultan Air Base, a barren, sprawling facility two hours southeast of Riyadh that covers an area almost the size of Bahrain, allowed Pompeo to inspect a squadron of F-15E fighter jets that deployed here in January and get a classified briefing from the commanders of a Patriot missile unit protecting against Iranian drone and missile strikes.

“The force posture that’s here today — not only the American presence here today, but the work we’ve done alongside our Saudi partners to better prepare for strikes of that nature — is very real,” Pompeo told reporters during the visit. “There is a heightened sense of security for facilities like that, and we’re more capable today than we were.””

Market implications

The Iran threat still simmers away in the background but markets have moved in from what had been a troubling situation at the start of the year following the US retaliation and execution of one of ran’s highest military generals, Qassem Suleimani. For the time being, the focus is elsewhere, more here: WTI pressured back below the $54 handle, bottoming formation capped at familiar resistance

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