US to Expel Saudi Military Trainees in Wake of Mass Shooting
The Trump Administration will expel more than a dozen Saudis training at US military bases following the December 6 killing of three American sailors in Florida. Sources cited by CNN said that those being expelled were not involved in last month’s attack by Saudi Air Force 2nd Lt. Mohammed al-Shamrani, who had been training at the Pensacola naval base and was killed during an exchange of gunfire. They are, however, suspected of having ties to extremist groups, raising questions about the reliability of the US military’s screening process. Analysts are construing the development as further evidence of the delicate balancing act Washington must play with its Mideast ally Riyadh, which was once a major sponsor of global terrorism but whose young crown prince has vowed to crack down on radical Islam while modernizing the ultra-conservative kingdom. The Pentagon recently announced the deployment of 2,000 US military personnel to Saudi Arabia amid heightened tensions with Iran.