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Pentagon Has Plan to Reinforce Security in Middle East

Officials will make presentation to White House Thursday
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 23, 2019 12:10 AM CDT
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan speaks to reporters after a classified briefing for members of Congress on Iran, Tuesday, May 21, 2019.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
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(Newser) – The Pentagon on Thursday will present plans to the White House to send up to 10,000 more troops to the Middle East, in a move to beef up defenses against potential Iranian threats, US officials said Wednesday. The officials said no final decision has been made yet, and it's not clear if the White House would approve sending all or just some of the requested forces. The officials, who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity, said the move is not in response to any new threat from Iran but is aimed at reinforcing security in the region. They said the troops would be defensive forces, and the discussions include additional Patriot missile batteries, more ships, and increased efforts to monitor Iran.

Last week, there were reports that the Pentagon had prepared plans to send up to 120,000 troops to the region if US forces were attacked. Thursday morning's meeting comes as tensions with Iran continue to simmer, and it wasn't clear if a decision would be made during the session. Any move to deploy more forces to the Middle East would signal a shift for President Trump, who has repeatedly emphasized the need to reduce America's troop presence in the region. US officials have provided few details about possible Iranian threats, but indicated they initially involved missiles loaded onto small Iranian boats. This week, officials said the missiles have been taken off the boats near Iran's shore, but other maritime threats continue. (On Monday, Trump warned that war would be the "official end of Iran.")


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