The White House has notified Congress that they will be sending over 1,500 troops to the Middle East as tensions with Iran has continued to escalate.
The Daily Mail reports: “The precise details of where the forces will go and what units are being deployed was not immediately disclosed.”
Officials said members of Congress were notified following a White House meeting Thursday to discuss Pentagon proposals to bolster the U.S. force presence in the Middle East.
Trump had warned on Thursday that he’s prepared to flood the region with American servicemen and women if he sees the need, after being briefed on
‘I would if we need them. I don’t think we’ll need them. I really don’t,’ he told reporters at the White House following a speech about financial relief to farmers.
‘I would certainly send troops if we need them. … If we need it we’ll be there in whatever number we need,’ Trump said.
The announcement comes shortly after Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told a group of reports at the Pentagon the day before that reports claiming the Trump administration was going to send over exactly 5,000 or 10,000 troops into the Middle East were wrong.
While the Defense Secretary confirmed there were talks of sending over troops, an exact number was not provided.
The Washington Examiner reports:
Shanahan made a point of stopping to talk to reporters covering the arrival of the Vietnamese deputy prime minister to dispute reports that the Pentagon was briefing the White House Thursday on an option to send as many as 10,000 additional troops to the Persian Gulf region in response to threats from Iran.
“I got up this morning and read that we were sending 10,000 troops to the Middle East, and then I read about, more recently, there’s 5,000,” said Shanahan. “There is no 10,000 and there is no 5,000.”
Shanahan said the Pentagon is reviewing its “force protection” measures, which he conceded “may involve sending additional troops,” but he insisted no plan to send 5,000 troops has been proposed.
Shanahan commended the reporters for doing their jobs in obtaining sources and information but said, “Numbers get floated out there, and you’ve got lots of good sources of information. What I’m telling you is: Those sources right now aren’t feeding you right information.”
“As soon as anything changes, I’ll let you know. I really will,” Shanahan added.
The defense secretary also re-iterated that the mission in Middle Eastern meddling was “deterrence” and that they were not aiming to provoke or join any conflict.
“We have a mission there in the Middle East: freedom of navigation, counterterrorism in Syria and Iraq, defeating al Qaeda in Yemen, and the security of Israel and Jordan,” he said. “Our job is deterrence. This is not about war.”