Trump says 1,500 more troops to deploy to Middle East

Sunday, 26 May, 2019

The heightened tensions have come in the weeks after the United States designated Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps an global terrorist organization, the first time it has designated a state-controlled military arm as such.

The Trump administration withdrew previous year from the 2015 nuclear deal between the Islamic Republic and world powers, and reinstated American sanctions that have badly damaged the Iranian economy.

Their mission would include protecting USA forces already in the region and ensuring freedom of navigation, the notification said. There were also reports that the Trump Administration could seek to use this same authority to speed up arms sales to Jordan and Thailand, as well, but it is unclear what the exact justification for using the emergency provisions of the AECA would actually be and whether these latter two cases would have any relations to the current situation regarding Iran.

The admiral also fingered Iran for recent attacks in Iraq, including a rocket launched into Baghdad's Green Zone on Sunday and in the Persian Gulf, where four oil tankers were sabotaged in recent weeks off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. The 1,500 troops include personnel manning missile defense systems, aerial surveillance to spot threats and engineers to fortify defenses.

A war with Iran, either by choice or miscalculation, would produce dramatic repercussions in an already destabilized Middle East and drag the United States into another armed conflict at vast financial, human, and geopolitical cost. None of those troops will go to either Iraq or Syria.

"We want to have protection in the Middle East", Trump said as he left the White House for a trip to Japan.

Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon, Navy Rear Adm. Michael Gilday said that the actual deployment would be about 900 additional troops.

"What made Friday's shooting on the IDF patrol interesting, Amidror said, was that it took place precisely when Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders were in Cairo putting the finishing touches on an agreement drawn up by Egypt that was created to ease the tension in the South", The Jerusalem Post reported.

U.S. officials earlier said members of Congress were notified of the plan after a White House meeting Thursday to discuss the Pentagon's proposals to boost the military presence in the region.

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

"Iran will call us if and when they are ever ready". We learn more through intelligence reporting. "We learned through intelligence reporting they have acted upon those threats and they have actually attacked".

The announcement was met with mixed responses from Capitol Hill.

"Crisis de-escalation measures should be established with the Iranian leadership at senior levels of government as a prelude to exploratory diplomacy on matters of mutual concern".

But, Mr Pompeo added the United States is ready to deliver a "swift and decisive" response to any attack from Iran.

President Donald Trump also notified lawmakers of the move, Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Katie Wheelbarger told reporters Friday.

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

Pentagon officials said the move was necessary after multiple threatening actions and several small-in-scope attacks in May by Iranian forces, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, and "proxy" forces. He said 600 service members included in the president's and defense secretary's statements were men and women now in the region, but whose deployments were being extended for additional protection.

As president, he's occasionally advocated for reducing the U.S.'s presence in the Middle East, although he hasn't followed through on pledges to pull troops out of Afghanistan and Syria. The U.S. now has about 5,200 troops in Iraq and 2,000 in Syria.

Amid concerns of possible Iranian attacks on United States interests, the Trump administration ordered the deployment of the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group, four B-52 bombers and Patriot missile defense batteries to the region.

The IRGC is the most elite military unit in Iran.

Javad Zarif, Iran's foreign minister, said the new USA deployment "threatens worldwide peace".