Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said as he arrived for a regional tour that he was "stunned" by the spread of Arab protests.
Mullen's remarks came as he arrived in Saudi Arabia on a tour to boost Washington's ties with regional allies.
Mullen said the purpose of his mission is to "reassure, discuss, and understand what is going on," adding that the "trip was scheduled for other reasons but as it turns out the context has changed."
Mullen's visit comes as an unprecedented wave of revolts challenges Arab authoritarian regimes, notably in Bahrain and Yemen, after uprisings toppled rulers in Tunisia and Egypt.
compiled from agency reports