The Trump administration is considering sending as many as 14,000 more troops and dozens more ships and other military equipment to the Middle East to counter a growing threat from Iran, a considerable expanded presence of the U.S. military forces in the region, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Such a deployment will double the U.S. personnel in the region and President Trump is expected to make the final decision by the end of this month, officials told the Journal. A smaller U.S. deployment could also be considered.
The Pentagon has increased the number of troops deployed to the Middle East. In early May, the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group and a task force of B-52 bombers were deployed in response to possible attack threats by Iran against U.S. forces or interests in the region. In late May, an additional 1,500 troops were also sent to the area to continue deterring Iran.
In June, the Pentagon also sent “1,000 additional troops for defensive purposes to address air, naval, and ground-based threats in the Middle East” to deal with Iran’s hostile action after the recent incident of oil tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman.
Also in June, a U.S. Navy MQ-4C Triton drone was shot down by an Iranian surface to air missile while the drone was flying in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz. A counter attack was underway but was called off at the last minute by President Trump as the president found casualties suffered by Iran expected to be much higher than an unmanned aircraft.
In September, in response to attacks by Iran on Saudi oil facilities, approximately 200 more personnel and missile defense and radar equipment were deployed to Saudi Arabia. The United States, Saudi Arabia, Britain, France, and Germany have all publicly blamed Iran for the attack, but Tehran regime denies any involvement.
In October, the U.S. military deployed 1,800 additional troops, anti-missile systems, two fighter squadrons and other equipment to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
On Wednesday, Dec. 4, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy John Rood told reporters in Washington, D.C., that the Pentagon has seen indications of potential Iranian aggression that could happen.
“We do remain concerned about potential Iranian aggression,” Rood said.
“We also continue to see indications … potential Iranian aggression could occur,” he added.
Rood warned Iran of consequences if any aggression occurs.
“In private … we’ve sent very clear and blunt signals to the Iranian government about the potential consequences of aggression,” he said.