Published: Fri, May 24, 2019
Global Media | By Garry Long

Pentagon mulling military request to send 5,000 troops to Middle East

Pentagon mulling military request to send 5,000 troops to Middle East

The Pentagon regularly receives - and declines - requests for additional resources from USA combatant commands throughout the world.

The CENTCOM request has been in the works for some time, the US official said.

USA officials say the Pentagon will present plans to the White House to send more American troops to the Middle East to beef up defenses against potential Iranian threats.

Citing credible intelligence - missiles in small Iranian boats in the Persian Gulf - the Trump administration has bolstered its military presence in West Asia significantly in recent days, with an aircraft carrier group, B-52 bombers, anti-missile defense systems and an amphibious warship used for transporting troops.

"As a matter of longstanding policy, we are not going to discuss or speculate on potential future plans and requests for forces", Commander Rebecca Rebarich, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said on Wednesday.

It is unclear if any specific request will ultimately be presented to the White House.

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Shanahan said the Pentagon was considering sending additional US troops to the Middle East as one of the ways to bolster protection for American forces there amid tensions with Iran. The request for 5,000 additional troops was first reported by Reuters. This is about deterrence, not about war.

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, left, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speak to members of the media after a classified briefing for members of Congress on Iran, Tuesday, May 21, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

The briefing comes two days after Patrick Shanahan, the acting defence secretary, assured Congress that the presence of USA forces in the Gulf had "put on hold the potential for attacks on Americans"...

Trump has warned that Iran would be met with "great force" if it attacked USA interests in the Middle East. That is not accurate, " Shanahan said, rejecting press reports that had given details on the number of troops that may be deployed amid heightened tensions with Iran.

Additional defensive capabilities could include additional Patriot anti-missile batteries like the one already deployed to an unspecified location in the Middle East to deter Iran.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday that Iran's youth will witness the demise of Israel and American civilization.

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