Intel: Why the US is expelling dozens of Saudi military trainees

al-monitor Saudi Arabia Defense Attache Maj. Gen. Fawaz Al Fawaz and his embassy staff and other officials arrive to meet with the Saudi students who remain restricted to the Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola base by their Saudi commanding officer, in Pensacola, Florida, Dec. 9, 2019.  Photo by FBI Jacksonville/Handout via REUTERS.
Bryant Harris

Bryant Harris


Topics covered


Jan 13, 2020

Washington is expected to expel more than a dozen Saudi military trainees from the United States, CNN reported on Sunday. The expulsions come after a security review found some trainees have alleged ties to extremist movements and others possessed child pornography. The dozens of students represent a tiny fraction of the 850 Saudi military trainees stationed in bases throughout the United States.

Why it matters: The FBI launched a review of all Saudi military students in the country after one trainee, Mohammed Alshamrani, killed three and wounded eight others in a shooting at a Florida naval base last month. CNN reports that the Justice Department is expected to conclude the shooting was an act of terrorism.

What’s next: The Defense Department temporarily suspended Saudi military training programs after urging from Republican lawmakers following the shooting. The pending expulsions could pave the way for the training program to continue.

Know more: Read Pentagon Correspondent Jack Detsch’s report on Saudi Arabia’s role in the investigation of the Florida base shooting.

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