Pentagon: US not considering doubling counter-Iran deployment

An Iranian woman looks at Taer-2 missile during a street exhibition by Iran's army and paramilitary Revolutionary Guard celebrating 'Defense Week' marking the 39th anniversary of the start of 1980-88 Iran Iraq war at the Baharestan Square

An Iranian woman looks at Taer-2 missile during a street exhibition by Iran's army and paramilitary Revolutionary Guard celebrating 'Defense Week' marking the 39th anniversary of the start of 1980-88 Iran Iraq war at the Baharestan Square

Esper's remarks on the issue were the most extensive since the Pentagon on Wednesday strongly denied a Wall Street Journal report that the United States was considering sending as many as 14,000 additional troops to the region.

Since Spring, the DoD has reportedly deployed over 14,000 additional forces - half aboard warships - to the Middle East to join over 60,000 American troops now stationed in a region referred to by the Pentagon as Central Command, an area stretching from Egypt through Afghanistan, Fox News said.

According to the report, Israel played a significant role in pushing for the move.

Such a deployment will double the USA personnel in the region and President Trump is expected to make the final decision by the end of this month, officials told the Journal.

Trump, in a tweet Thursday, wrote the United States would not be sending 12,000 troops to Saudi Arabia, calling it "Fake News".

Despite Trump's insistence that he wants to get the United States out of all "endless wars", there have been that Washington is ready to send thousands of troops to the Middle East to fend off the "Iranian threat" at the behest of its Israeli ally.

Defense Undersecretary for Policy, John Rood (L), and Vice Adm. Michael Gilday, director of operations (J3) for the Joint Staff, appear before the House Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on January 29, 2019. Hook also released photographs of the seized Iranian weapons in a press briefing, adding to a tableau of alleged Tehran-origin weapons from Yemen unveiled at a United States military base two years ago.

The United States since May has steadily increased the number of its forces in the Mideast as Iran has ramped up its attacks in the region, including the downing of a USA drone in June and strikes on oil tankers.

"There are indications that Iran could take aggressive action in the future", Rood told reporters Wednesday.

"The direct answer I'd give you, Senator, is that we're always considering and in fact based on the threat situation in the Middle East are watching that and as necessary the Secretary of Defense has told me he intends to make changes to our force posture there", Rood said, refusing to give a direct answer.

"We're fortunate nobody has been killed".

One of the officials said part of the concern was Iranian activity inside Iraq, which is experiencing anti-government protests.

'It's clearly not ISIS.

Once those military capabilities are determined, that will determine how many troops are needed, officials say.

Among the incidents, 5 rockets hit the Al-Asad Air Unsafe on Tuesday, good four days after US Vice President Mike Pence visited US troops there.

In September, Iran launched a sophisticated attack combining drones and cruise missiles on Saudi Arabian oil-processing infrastructure, briefly halting the flow of five percent of the world's oil supply.

The tensions come as Iran itself has confronted main protests set off by a pointy hike in gasoline costs.

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