Some of the US troops who left Iraq last month didn't move very far. As tensions with Iran rise, the US military has been quietly boosting its strength in the Persian Gulf, reports the Los Angeles Times. The move comes as US officials have warned Iran that closing the Strait of Hormuz, as it has threatened to do, would be a "red line" that would trigger an American response, reports the New York Times.
New deployments have raised troop numbers in Kuwait to nearly 15,000 and there are now two aircraft carriers and their strike groups in the region. The Army's 1st Cavalry Division's 1st Brigade, which moved from Iraq to Kuwait, has been designated a "mobile response force" for the region. The buildup was requested late last year by Central Command chief James Mattis, the top US commander in the region. Pentagon officials say the deployments are not a preparation for war, but an effort to have a force ready to react quickly if a military crisis erupts in the standoff with Iran.