Wall Street Journal: Washington thinks to intensify its military forces in region to confront Iran 

A report by the Wall Street Journal reported that the commander of US forces in the Middle East had recommended a return to the largest US military presence in the region after he concluded that deploying the aircraft carrier and other capabilities had helped to reduce Iranian threats.

Gen. Frank McKenzie, the commander of the US Central Command, asked in early May to send aircraft carriers, bombers, troops and anti-missile systems to the area after receiving information that there were "specific" threats against US forces in Iraq and elsewhere.

General McKenzie said during a quick tour of the region this week, "The rapid US buildup at the moment has reduced the Iranian threat, but reiterated that the dangers posed by Tehran are still real and the attack can be imminent."

"We believe that what we have done has a very good effect in reducing threats," McKenzie said.

But the General McKenzie is thinking of expanding military capabilities to ensure that the United States has a credible and long-term deterrence force in the region.

Such a move will be a major reflection of the US military position, which has moved away from the Middle East within the framework of Trump's national security strategy, which is concerned about the risks posed by competition with Russia and China.

Mckenzie and others pointed out, "While they support the national defense strategy issued as part of the national security strategy, the threat posed by Iran may merit adjustments.

"I am thinking carefully, long and hard before I talk about bringing in additional resources. We are talking about that, but it will be based on an ongoing assessment of the situation," McKenzie said.

Iranian officials have not responded to their request for comment. Iran said earlier that its military's moves in the region were defensive in nature, accused the Trump administration of seeking a pretext for the war, and denounced US deployments.

Some US officials also said Iran's moves may have been defensive.

The newspaper pointed to the fluctuation of US military presence in the region since the invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Recently, the Pentagon redeployed troops away from the Middle East in its quest to withdraw from ongoing conflicts in the region.

Many Patriot batteries were removed from Jordan, Kuwait and Bahrain last year, and aircraft carriers are no longer deployed permanently in the Arabian Gulf, which lasted for two decades in the waters of the region. Military forces are slowly starting out as well.

General McKenzie said the low US military impact in the region may have enabled Iran to feel it could threaten the United States and its allies.

McKenzie declined to specify what military resources he might be looking for. He said any recommendation would be made through Acting Defense Minister Patrick Shanahan and in coordination with General Joe Danford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Officials said, "Since the arrival of the military in early May, the Tehran army has maintained "very high" levels of military readiness, adding that they continue to see activity from Iranian boats, submarines and drones, but there has been no attack yet, and the Iranians did not do something to disrupt our maneuvers or act in a way that required us to take defensive action."

Instead, Lincoln and its crew were sent from the Mediterranean to the north of the Arabian Peninsula, where some of more than 40 F-18 helicopters on the carrier board are now performing "continuous presence" in the international airspace near Iran. Furthermore, officials said others were carrying out strikes in Afghanistan.

Lincoln is due to fly to San Diego in a worldwide deployment, but uncertainty state in the Middle East can mean it will remain in the region longer than planned.

(T/S)

ANHA


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