Report: U.S. to send 1,500 more troops to Middle East
by Lynde Langdon
Posted 5/24/19, 12:34 pm
UPDATE: The Trump administration told Congress on Friday it plans to send about 1,500 more troops to the Middle East to strengthen defenses against Iran, according to a notice obtained by media outlets. The number is substantially lower than the 10,000 or more suspected on Thursday as Pentagon and White House officials met to discuss the buildup. The troops’ mission would include protecting U.S. forces already in the region and ensuring freedom of navigation, the notice said.
OUR EARLIER REPORT (5/23/19, 3:48 p.m.): The Pentagon on Thursday presented proposals to the White House to beef up defenses in the Middle East amid heightened tensions with Iran, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said. He told reporters the Defense Department has not yet determined how many troops might be sent to reinforce the existing U.S. military presence in the region. Shanahan disputed reports that the Pentagon wanted up to 10,000 more soldiers. “What we’re focused on right now is, do we have the right force protection in the Middle East?” he said.
Officials said the proposed troop reinforcements are not a response to any new threat from Iran but are aimed at strengthening security for the U.S. forces already in the Middle East.
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