Wor­ries flare that U.S. slid­ing to­ward Iran war

The News-Times - - NATION/WORLD -

WASH­ING­TON — In­ter­na­tional wor­ries flared into the open Tues­day that the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion is slid­ing to­ward war with Tehran amid skep­ti­cism about its claims that Iran poses a grow­ing threat to the U.S. and its al­lies in the Per­sian Gulf and be­yond .

The U.S. mil­i­tary re­but­ted the doubts about such a threat, and Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump de­nied a re­port that the ad­min­is­tra­tion has up­dated plans to send more than 100,000 troops to counter Iran if nec­es­sary. But Trump then stirred the con­tro­versy fur­ther by say­ing, “Would I do that? Ab­so­lutely.”

The day of turmoil was set in mo­tion when a Bri­tish gen­eral con­tra­dicted the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s claim of a ris­ing Ira­nian threat in the re­gion.

“No, there’s been no in­creased threat from Ira­ni­an­backed forces in Iraq and Syria,” said Maj. Gen. Chris Ghika, a se­nior of­fi­cer in the U.S.backed coali­tion fighting the Is­lamic State group. Ghika, speak­ing in a video con­fer­ence from coali­tion head­quar­ters in Bagh­dad, told re­porters at the Pen­tagon that the coali­tion mon­i­tors the pres­ence of Ira­nian-backed forces “along with a whole range of oth­ers be­cause that’s the en­vi­ron­ment we’re in.”

At the White House, Trump, who has re­peat­edly ar­gued for avoid­ing long-term con­flicts in the Mideast, dis­counted a New York Times re­port that the U.S. has up­dated plans that could send up to 120,000 troops to counter Iran if it at­tacked Amer­i­can forces.

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