The United States plans to complete its withdrawal from
Saudi Arabia within several days.
"Today ends more than a decade of military operations in this strategic
Middle East nation," Maj. Gen. Robert Elder Jr., the 9th Aerospace
Expeditionary Task Force vice commander, said. "The end of [major combat
operation in Iraq] and Saddam Hussein's government means the American
here is over."
Elder said Saudi Arabia and the United States will not end
military cooperation. Instead, he said the air forces of the two countries
would begin a new relationship.
Officials said several hundred U.S. military advisers will remain in the
kingdom and will concentrate on training and arms procurement. French
military personnel will also remain at Prince Sultan and will deal with
search-and-rescue training, Middle East Newsline reported.
U.S. officials said the bulk of the withdrawal of military personnel and
aircraft has been completed. They said the last of U.S. air force personnel
will be withdrawal in early September.
On Aug. 26, U.S. officials transferred control of portions of Prince
Sultan Air Base to Saudi officials. At the same time, the air force ended
the presence of the 363rd Air Expeditionary Wing in the kingdom.
The United States maintained more than 5,000 troops and 100 aircraft at
Prince Sultan during the war in Iraq. In all, the base, located in Kharj,
about 80 kilometers south of Riyad, hosted 60,000 coalition forces since
On April 29, the United States announced the withdrawal of troops from
Saudi Arabia. Officials said the mission would be completed by September.