US Central Command has asked the Pentagon to send up to 10,000 additional troops to the Middle East, citing threat from Iran even as the Trump administration boasted about having successfully ‘deterred’ Tehran already.
A CENTCOM request for 5,000 troops was reported by Reuters on Wednesday, citing two anonymous US officials. The reinforcements would be “defensive in nature,” one of the officials reportedly said.
AP reported soon thereafter that the Pentagon will present plans to send “up to 10,000 troops” to the Middle East, also citing unnamed officials.
Washington has already sent a carrier strike group, a number of B-52 strategic bombers, and a unit of Patriot missile defense batteries to the region, citing intelligence warnings of an “imminent threat” by Iran. Many US diplomats and their families were evacuated from the neighboring Iraq as well.
On Tuesday, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told reporters that the deployments have had the desired effect, deterring the Iranian attack and putting Tehran’s plans “on hold.”
The newest reported troop request is but a fraction of the 120,000 soldiers that Shanahan reportedly discussed deploying to the Middle East with President Donald Trump last week – at least according to a New York Times story, which also relied on anonymous sources.
Trump himself quickly dismissed the report as “fake news.”
“Would I do that? Absolutely, but we have not planned for that,” Trump told reporters on May 14. “Hopefully, we’re not going to have to plan for that. And if we did that, we’d send a hell of a lot more troops than that.”