The US is considering deploying thousands of additional troops to the Middle East amid rising tension with Iran. Details of the plan, leaked by two American officials to Reuters, indicate that a request for 5,000 troops was sent to the US Department of Defence by the military.
The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the request had been made by US Central Command but they added that it was not clear if the request would be approved, indicating that the Pentagon regularly receives – and declines – requests for additional resources from US combatant commands throughout the world.
The troop numbers requested by the military is 10,000 according to a report in the Associated Press. It claimed that the plan will be presented to the White House today and mentioned that no final decision has been made.
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On 14 May US defence officials presented an updated military plan to President Donald Trump in which they envisaged a scenario where up to 120,000 troops could potentially be dispatched to the Middle East.
A day later the Pentagon approved sending a carrier strike group and bombers to the Middle East because of indications of a "credible threat by Iranian regime forces". Around the same time it issued a security alert and ordered staff to evacuate Iraq, in a move that was widely perceived to be an unnecessary provocation.
President Trump's decision to pile further pressure on the Iranian regime came under scrutiny during a closed-door briefing earlier this week. Democrat Representatives warned the current administration that by escalating tensions with Iran the US was in danger of repeating mistakes of 2003 Iraq War.