US ‘never discussing or considering sending 14,000 additional troops to Middle East, says Mark Esper
Beyza Binnur Dönmez – December 06, 2019
ANKARA (Anadolu) – The U.S. is not considering the deployment of additional troops to the Middle East, Pentagon chief confirmed on Friday.
“As the Department has stated repeatedly, we were never discussing or considering sending 14,000 additional troops to the Middle East,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper said in a statement. “Reports of this are flat out wrong”
Esper said Department of Defense will always stand ready to respond any threat, asserting that the report of sending 14,000 troops is “false”.
On Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Trump administration was mulling the expansion of America’s military footprint in the Middle East to counter Iran.
“The deployment could double the number of U.S. military personnel who have been sent to the region since the start of a troop buildup in May,” said the Journal, citing U.S. officials.
Undersecretary of Defense for Policy John Rood said Wednesday that the U.S. remains concerned about potential Iranian aggression, according to The Hill website.
“We also continue to see indications … potential Iranian aggression could occur,” Rood was quoted as telling reporters in Washington. “We’ve sent very clear and blunt signals to the Iranian government about the potential consequences of aggression.”
The U.S. has nearly 800 military bases around the world, and according to the U.S. Central Command, there are between 60,000 and 70,000 U.S. soldiers in the Middle East.