Published: Sat, May 25, 2019
Global Media | By Garry Long

Trump to order additional forces to Middle East

Trump to order additional forces to Middle East

"We want to have protection in the Middle East".

"When I first got here, they were in 14 different locations fighting", he said.

When pressed for proof of Iran's involvement, he said the mines used in the tanker attacks were attributed directly to the Revolutionary Guard.

The new tranche of American forces heading into the Middle East will include a military engineering unit, as well as Air Force fighter squadron, drone units and additional aerial intelligence aircraft, Joint Staff Director Vice Adm. Mike Gilday told reporters at the Pentagon.

Trump said the troops would have a "mostly protective" role as part of a build-up that began this month in response to what the U.S said was a threat from Iran without providing details or evidence.

Shanahan, however, said that sending additional troops was an option they were considering.

"They're mostly in a protective capacity", he told reporters in response to a VOA question.

"Our policy remains an economic and diplomatic effort to bring Iran back to the negotiating table to encourage a comprehensive deal that addresses a range of their destabilizing behavior in the region", Wheelbarger said.

"Leaders from both sides of the aisle have called for de-escalation".

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The Trump administration also announced today that heightened tensions with Iran constitute a national emergency, thus allowing the administration to approve $8 billion in weapons sales to Saudi Arabia without authorization from Congress. They can not have nuclear weapons and under the Obama awful agreement, they would have had nuclear weapons within five or six years.

Could the USA and Iran be headed for war?

Shanahan, as acting secretary of defense, has the authority to sign deployment orders, but major deployments are typically briefed to the President.

The new CENTCOM request for additional defensive capabilities and forces comes as Shanahan said on Tuesday that the threat of Iranian attacks against USA forces had been put "on hold".

"The additional deployment to the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility is a prudent defensive measure and meant to reduce the possibility of future hostilities", Shanahan said, referring to the military headquarters that oversees operations in the Middle East. No official has yet publicly specified that threat, though it likely centers on Iran's moving rockets or missiles by boat through the Persian Gulf and using its proxy forces in Iraq and elsewhere to target Americans.

The Pentagon said only about 900 of the 1,500 troops will be newly deploying and that 600 are already in the region and will be extended.

Tensions between the U.S. and Iran began rising this month when Washington ended exemptions from sanctions for countries still buying from Iran.

Mr Trump played down the potential for military conflict in the region, saying he believed Iran did not want a confrontation with the United States - even as Washington tightens sanctions with a goal of pushing Iran to make concessions beyond the terms of its 2015 nuclear deal.

Ahead of a security briefing on the Iranian threat Thursday, Trump appeared skeptical that additional troops would need to be deployed.

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