Trump confirmed the deployment as he departed the White House on Friday for Japan
Washington: President Donald Trump has ordered the deployment of about 1,500 additional U.S. troops to the Middle East amid rising tensions with Iran, according to two people familiar with the matter.
Trump confirmed the deployment as he departed the White House on Friday for Japan, calling the troops mostly protective.
The troop decision follows comments by Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan on Thursday that the Pentagon was focused on having the right force protection in the region.
The presidentGs decision comes after the Trump administration said that it had evidence Iran is threatening possible attacks on American interests or allies in the region. The administration earlier expedited the deployment of a carrier battle group to the Middle East along with a Patriot missile battery and additional bombers.
Iran has threatened to abandon the multi-nation nuclear deal of 2015 that remains in place despite Trump's withdrawal from the agreement a year ago. Iran is threatening to resume enriching uranium beyond levels permitted in the 2015 accord as a way to push France, Germany, the U.K. and the European Union to do something to relieve the effects of U.S. sanctions.
"Are they reacting because they are concerned about what we're doing, or are we reacting because we're concerned what they're doing?" asked King, an independent who caucuses with Democrats. "And that raises my second concern, which is miscalculation."
Senator Jack Reed, the top Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, warned on Thursday that there is "significantG" potential for an overreaction by Iranian personnel or militia in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan to the U.S.'s new military deployments.
The Rhode Island senator declined to discuss the Pentagon threat briefing heGs received on the Iran situation but said he was "absolutely" concerned about miscalculation by Iran in reacting to the U.S. moves.
"We did not want to signal to the Iranians, erroneously, that we were not prepared," he said.