Pen­tagon propos­ing troop buildup in the Mideast

The News-Times - - NATION/WORLD -

The Pen­tagon on Thursday will present plans to the White House to send up to 10,000 more troops to the Mid­dle East, in a move to beef up de­fenses against po­ten­tial Ira­nian threats , U.S. of­fi­cials said.

The of­fi­cials said no fi­nal de­ci­sion has been made yet, and it’s not clear if the White House would ap­prove send­ing all or just some of the re­quested forces. Of­fi­cials said the move is not in re­sponse to any new threat from Iran but is aimed at re­in­forc­ing se­cu­rity in the re­gion. They said the troops would be de­fen­sive forces, and the dis­cus­sions in­clude ad­di­tional Pa­triot missile bat­ter­ies, more ships and in­creased ef­forts to mon­i­tor Iran.

The of­fi­cials spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause the plans have not been for­mally an­nounced.

Thursday morn­ing’s meet­ing comes as ten­sions with Iran con­tinue to sim­mer, and it wasn’t clear if a de­ci­sion would be made dur­ing the ses­sion. Any move to de­ploy more forces to the Mid­dle East would sig­nal a shift for Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, who has re­peat­edly em­pha­sized the need to re­duce America’s troop pres­ence in the re­gion.

Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo said Thursday Trump was eval­u­at­ing the force pos­ture in the re­gion “ev­ery day.”

“We’re eval­u­at­ing the risks, mak­ing sure that we have it right,” he told “Fox and Friends.”

U.S. of­fi­cials have pro­vided few de­tails about possible Ira­nian threats but in­di­cated they ini­tially in­volved mis­siles loaded onto small Ira­nian boats. This week of­fi­cials said the mis­siles have been taken off the boats near Iran’s shore, but other mar­itime threats con­tinue.

Send­ing more troops could also raise questions on Capi­tol Hill. Dur­ing back-to­back closed brief­ings for the House and Sen­ate on Tues­day, de­fense lead­ers told con­gres­sional of­fi­cials the U.S. doesn’t want to go to war with Iran and wants to de-es­ca­late the sit­u­a­tion.

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