UPDATE: President Trump denied reports that he is planning to send 120,000 troops to the Middle East in the event of conflict with Iran. However, he said he’d send “a hell of a lot more” if it’s needed.
“I think it’s fake news, OK?” Trump said of the Times report. “Now would I do that? Absolutely. But I have not planned for that. If we did that, we’d send a hell of a lot more troops than that.”
Top US defense official have presented a military plan to President Donald Trump’s administration that envisions sending up to 120,000 troops to the Middle East for a possible conflict with Iran, the New York Times reported on May 13 citing more than half a dozen unnamed defense officials in the Trump administration.
According to the report, the US troops will be deployed should Iran attack US forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons. The plan, which would take weeks or months to complete and which approaches the scale of the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, was reportedly presented at a meeting of defense chiefs on May 9.
Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton, CIA Director Gina Haspel, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford were reportedly among those involved in the meeting.
The White House and the Pentagon have not commented on this report so far.
The report came amid the growing US-Iranian tensions over a wide range of issues. Last week, the US sent reinforcements including an aircraft carrier and a strategic bombers force to the Middle East. Washington used the Iranian threat, including a possible attack on US troops by Iranian forces, as a justification for the move.
Following Iran’s decision to suspend some of its commitments under the 2015 nuclear agreement in response to the US actions to destroy the 2015 deal, Washington imposed even more sanctions on the country.
On May 12, Saudi Arabia said that two of its US-bound oil tankers were targeted by a sabotage operation and sustained damage off the coast of the UAE. Despite the official Iranian statement rejecting responsibility for the attack and warning that the development can be used to escalate the sitaution, mainstream media outles have already come with speculations that the US is sure that Iran was behind the situation.
The region is once again moving towards an increasing possibility of new open conflict.
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