Pentagon to increase military deployments in Middle East amid rising tensions with Iran


WASHINGTON - The Pentagon will further beef up its military assets in the Persian Gulf to counter what U.S. officials have called "credible" threats from Iran, President Donald Trump said Friday.

Trump said he planned to send about 1,500 additional troops to the Middle East. A U.S. official said earlier Friday that up to 3,000 troops had been under consideration.

Speaking to reporters as he departed the White House for a weekend trip to Japan, the president described the troops as performing mostly defensive duties. A U.S. official said most of the troops will be involved in intelligence gathering and manning missile batteries.

"We're going to be sending a relatively small number of troops - mostly protective," Trump said.

Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick M. Shanahan said Friday that he approved the deployment of additional resources to the Middle East "to improve our force protection and safeguard U.S. forces given the ongoing threat posed by Iranian forces," including Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its proxies.

"The deployment will include approximately 1,500 U.S. military personnel and consist of a Patriot battalion to defend against missile threats," as well as additional intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance aircraft, and a fighter aircraft squadron.

"The additional deployment to the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility is a prudent defensive measure and intended to reduce the possibility of future hostilities," Shanahan said. "I remain committed to ensuring U.S. personnel have the force protection resources they need and deserve."

The move comes as the administration is seeking to increase pressure on Iran.

The Pentagon had considered sending as many as 5,000 troops to the Middle East, according to the U.S. official. By Thursday, that number had dropped to 3,000, and the decision to send roughly 1,500 was made Friday, the source said. Most of the forces have defensive specialties, including anti-aircraft and missile defenses.

The decision to send more military assets comes shortly after the Pentagon sped up the deployment of the USS Abraham Lincoln, an aircraft carrier, along with B-52 bombers, Patriot anti-aircraft missiles and the amphibious assault ship USS Arlington, to the Persian Gulf. Those assets were requested by Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the commander of U.S. Central Command, in response to U.S. intelligence information indicating that Iran may be preparing an attack on American troops or other interests in the region.

Shanahan and other Trump administration officials havesaid the previous military deployments are purely defensive and not intended to provoke a war with Iran.

"Our biggest focus at this point is to prevent Iranian miscalculation," Shanahan told reporters on Wednesday after briefing members of Congress. "We do not want the situation to escalate. This is about deterrence, not about war."

Some lawmakers fear the Trump administration's escalating military stance toward Iran could spark to a military conflict even if that's not the intention.

"This escalation doesn't get us out of our decades long, seemingly endless wars Mr. President," Sen. Rand Paul, a libertarian-leaning Republican who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a tweet Friday directed at President Donald Trump.

"Trust your instincts and follow what you ran on, not the neocons around who want to repeat past mistakes," said Paul, presumably referring to Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, a hawk who has long advocated for regime change in Iran, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, another Iran hardliner in the administration.

How real is Iran threat? Democrats fear Trump administration using intel to justify conflict

Saudi deal? Trump administration considering new weapons sales to Saudis despite lawmakers' objections

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Pentagon to increase military deployments in Middle East amid rising tensions with Iran


More Related News

President Trump imposes new sanctions on Iran as regime accuses US of 'economic' terrorism
President Trump imposes new sanctions on Iran as regime accuses US of 'economic' terrorism

The new sanctions were aimed at retaliating against Iran for shooting down a U.S. drone last week.

US Fed like a
US Fed like a 'stubborn child': Trump

US President Donald Trump on Monday renewed his attacks on the Federal Reserve, saying the central bank's reluctance to cut interest rates was standing in the way of blowout economic expansion. "Despite a Federal Reserve that doesn't know what it is doing... we are on course to have one

House Oversight threatens to subpoena Kellyanne Conway
House Oversight threatens to subpoena Kellyanne Conway

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel has cited Conway for multiple violations of the Hatch Act.

North Korea says Kim receives
North Korea says Kim receives 'excellent' letter from Trump
  • World
  • 2019-06-23 05:32:40Z

The White House declined to confirm that Trump had sent a letter to Kim. It comes as nuclear talks between the U.S. and North Korea broke down after the failed summit between Kim and Trump in February in Vietnam.

Trump postpones nationwide immigration enforcement sweep
Trump postpones nationwide immigration enforcement sweep

President Donald Trump on Saturday delayed a nationwide immigration sweep to deport people living the United States illegally, including families, saying he would give lawmakers two weeks to work out solutions for the southern border. The move came after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Trump on Friday

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply


Top News: Latin America

Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.