President Trump is reportedly considering sending 14,000 U.S. troops to the Middle East to bolster the effort to counter Iranian aggression.
U.S. officials told The Wall Street Journal in an exclusive report that Trump is expected to decide as soon as this month whether to deploy up to 14,000 troops, dozens of warships, and additional equipment.
Approximately 14,000 U.S. troops have already deployed to the region since May at the direction of U.S. Central Command commander, Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie. McKenzie’s order came after U.S. intelligence experts indicated credible threats from Iran.
John Rood, senior policy official at the Pentagon told reporters on Wednesday, “Deterrence is dynamic, our response is going to be dynamic,” hinting at additional deployments to counter Iran. He noted that no decision had been made, but said the situation was fluid.
Earlier this year, McKenzie had alerted then-Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan to growing “threat streams” from Iran, including their harassing American ships, as well as Iranian boats believed to be carrying cruise missiles.
When U.S. forces moved to the region, Iran then responded by threatening to attack Israel.
“The US military forces’ deployment in the Persian Gulf is more of the nature of psychological warfare. They are not ready for a war, especially when Israel is within our range,” Iranian Parliament’s Vice-Speaker Ali Motahhari said in May.
Iran has since made additional threats, including the shooting down of U.S. drones.
In June, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the U.S. “cannot expect to stay safe” after imposing an “economic war” on Iran, adding, “whoever starts a war with us will not be the one who finishes it.”
Trump had denounced rumors that he was preparing to send 120,000 troops to the region, but said if Iran attacked, “we’d send a hell of a lot more troops than that.”