As officials from the United States and Russia meet to discuss increasing tensions between the U.S. and Iran, a new report claims that Defense Department officials are planning to send 120,000 troops to the Middle East. But President Trump is saying it’s all “fake news.”
Officials within the Trump Administration are being accused of preparing for a potential war with Iran, as a new report claims that the latest military plan could send around 120,000 American troops to the Middle East. Those troops would potentially be deployed if Iran was accused of attacking American forces in the region, or if it accelerates work on nuclear weapons.
The acting defense secretary did not include a full land invasion of Iran in the reported plan, which was unveiled during a meeting with the Director of the CIA, the Director of National Intelligence, and National Security Advisor John Bolton.
The plan for a dramatic increase in land, air and naval forces was reportedly ordered by Bolton himself, with the report noting that he previously pushed for similar aggression against Iran while working for the administration of George W. Bush.
While President Trump has appeared to be receptive of Bolton’s views on foreign policy in a number of areas, he referred to this report as “fake news.”
He told reporters, “we have not planned for that. 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.”
However, Trump did issue a stern warning to Iran on Monday, claiming that if they decided to attack American forces in the Middle East, they would regret it.
“We’ll see what happens with Iran, if they do anything it will be a very bad mistake, if they do anything. I’m hearing little stories about Iran, if they do anything, they will suffer greatly, we’ll see what happens with Iran,” Trump said.
Former Pentagon Official Michael Maloof said earlier that he believes there is a clear disconnect between Trump and his official regarding their approach to Iran.
“I think it’s a Bolton, Pompeo thing. I don’t think Trump wants necessarily to have a conflict leading up to the elections. And there has been some talk behind the scenes that Trump has actually has to reign in Bolton a little bit,” Maloof said.
Saudi Arabia reported that two of its oil tankers were sabotaged off the coast of the United Arab Emirates on Sunday. The kingdom then claimed that armed drones struck two of its oil pumping stations on Tuesday, alleging that Iran was involved. But Iran has denied any involvement in the attacks, and the country’s foreign minister said that they anticipated there would be sabotage in the region by what he called “hardliners in the US administration” for the purpose of escalating tensions.
Regarding the possibility the U.S. pursuing military action against Iran, Mohammad Marandi, a professor at the University of Tehran, argued that it could lead have devastating consequences on a global scale.
“If there is war, all of the oil and gas facilities in the Persian Gulf will be destroyed, the tankers will be destroyed, the same is true in the Gulf of Oman, the Strait of Hormuz would be a side show, and that would lead to a global economic catastrophe,” Marandi said.
Now it remains to be seen what the next move will be at tensions between the U.S. and Iran continue to increase, but thing is clear—reports that key members of the Trump Administration are preparing for yet another war, and Trump’s claims that they are “fake news,” could be signaling yet another break between the president and his most hawkish officials.