Published: Sat, December 07, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

US military has enough capability in Middle East for now - Esper

US military has enough capability in Middle East for now - Esper

The Wall Street Journal earlier this week reported that the Trump administration was considering the massive troop increase, which would double the number of USA military personnel in the region.

It seems like ages ago, but in 2016, many were led to believe that Trump's penchant for isolationism would mean a vastly reduced USA military presence around the world, especially in the Middle East. Maureen Dowd's unfortunate "Donald the Dove" column in April 2016 reflected the chatter in some political circles at the time about the kind of Commander in Chief the Republican would be if elected.

Rood told the Senate Armed Services Committee that "we're continuing to look at that threat picture and have the ability to dynamically adjust our force posture".

According to the sources, cited by the U.S. broadcaster, Defence Secretary Mark Esper has "not made any decision" but the plan reportedly envisages the deployment of up to 7,000 additional soldiers to the Middle East to counter what they claim to be an alleged threat from Tehran.

Tehran's clerical rulers have blamed "thugs" linked to its opponents in exile and the country's main foreign foes-the United States, Israel, and Saudi Arabia-for the unrest. Rood said there is a "dynamic security situation" in the Middle East that requires the Pentagon to "regularly evaluate the appropriate number" of troops. That would be on top of the 14,000 troops deployed to the region since May.

"So I'm not sure I would agree with the narrative of abandonment or a narrative of walking away".

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An official said on condition of anonymity that Defense Secretary Mark Esper was considering plans to move between 5,000 and 7,000 troops to the Middle East.

Under pressure from senators in a hearing on Thursday, John Rood, undersecretary of defense for policy, appeared to confirm the United States was considering adding troops after calling the story "erroneous". Do you approve: Yes or No?' I'm not trying to be argumentative, sir.

After the hearing on Thursday, the press secretary reiterated her assertion that the Department of Defense is, "not considering sending 14,000 additional troops to the Middle East at this time".

With many on Twitter pointing out that the original report did not say that the deployment was a foregone conclusion, but that Trump was still weighing the option, Farah later clarified that the U.S. was not even "considering" sending thousands of additional troops to the area.

Trump administration officials are considering the deployment of 14,000 additional troops and other military hardware to the Middle East to counter a potential threat from Iran, reports The Wall Street Journal. It could be 13,999, 14,001, zero, or any other number.

The most realistic options include potentially sending 4,000 to 7,000 additional USA troops to the region, the officials said.

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