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article imagePentagon now admits plans to send more troops to the Middle East

By Ken Hanly     Dec 8, 2019 in Politics
Washington D.c. - On Thursday, the Pentagon spent much of the day refuting a report by the Wall Street journal that Trump was considering sending 14,000 more troops to the Middle East to counter any Iranian aggression.
The announcement and denial
The report about the 14,000 troops appeared in the Wall Street journal: "The Wall Street Journal reported that the possible deployment would include "dozens" more ships and double the number of troops added to the US force in the region since the beginning of this year, citing unnamed US officials.The paper said President Donald Trump could make a decision on the troop boost as early as this month."
The Pentagon was quick to respond: ""To be clear, the reporting is wrong. The U.S. is not considering sending 14,000 additional troops to the Middle East," spokeswoman Alyssa Farah tweeted."
Now the Pentagon admits it is considering more troops for the Middle East
Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, John Rood said that the Trump administration was actively considering sending more troops but that they had not settled on 14,000. Rood said that sending more troops is always under consideration.
The US Congress pressed Defense Secretary Mark Esper for clarification. On Friday Esper said only that right now a 14,000 troop deployment is not being considered making the earlier denial of the Wall St. report sound sensible. However, tomorrow is not right now so the 14,000 number could come back again. Although Esper also said that he thinks that the US has enough capability in the area right now, Rood confirmed that just a day before to saying this he had been told that a change in force levels was coming.
The Pentagon seems clearly on the way to deploying more troops in the Middle East but until a final decision is made they will not announce what the escalation will involve. At present, the US already has 60,000 to 80,000 troops deployed in the Middle East according to defense officials.
Rood has already told reporters that the US remains "concerned" about Iranian aggression and has sent Iran a clear and blunt warning about any possible military action. Rood also claimed: “We continue to see indicators … that potential Iranian aggression could occur.”
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