AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
- US officials may send more military assets to the Middle East, including Navy ships and up to 14,000 troops, in order to push back against Iran, according to The Wall Street Journal.
- The thousands of US troops would be in addition to the 14,000 who were deployed to the region in May.
- Word of the potential deployments comes amid numerous reports of increasing Iranian hostilities.
- The potential deployments contrast with Trump's plans to end what he called "these ridiculous wars" in the Middle East, which he continues to call on in the run-up to the 2020 US presidential election.
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US officials are considering deploying more military assets to the Middle East, including naval ships and up to 14,000 troops, in order to push back against Iranian hostilities, according to a Wall Street Journal report on Wednesday.
The additional US service members would follow the 14,000 troops who were deployed to the region in May "for the purpose of defense of our interests and assets in the region and also to reestablish deterrence with respect to Iran in the wake of an attack on Saudi Arabia," senior US officials said previously.
President Donald Trump is expected to make an announcement as early as December, The Journal reported.
Hours after The Journal published its report, Pentagon press secretary Alyssa Farah denied the US was planning to deploy an additional 14,000 troops.
"This report is wrong," Farah said on Twitter.
Word of the potential deployments comes amid numerous reports of increasing Iranian hostilities. CNN first reported Tuesday that new intelligence "in the last several weeks" indicated that Iranian forces and weapons have been relocated, suggesting the regime could be bracing for an attack.
Iran was also exploring the use of "suicide drones" near US positions in the Middle East, according to a Newsweek report published Wednesday. US troops in the region were said to have been bracing for potential attacks.
US Air Force/Senior Airman Sean Campbell
"I would expect that if we look at the past three or four months, it's possible they will do something that is irresponsible. It's possible that they'll lash out at their neighbors," US Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, head of US Central Command, said in Bahrain, according to CNN. "It is not going to be productive for them in the long term to choose to act out in the military domain. That's the message that we're trying to convey."
The US suspects Iran attacked oil processing facilities in Saudi Arabia in September.
Tensions with the US were heightened after the US military released video of what it said was Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps' personnel removing an unexploded limpet mine from a tanker in the Gulf of Oman after an attack in June.
Nearly a week after that incident, Iran shot down what it said was an "intruding American spy drone."
"It is time to take out our swords and teach them a lesson," a senior Revolutionary Guards commander said at a meeting in Tehran in May, where Iranian officials discussed ways to punish the US for pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal and re-imposing economic sanctions, according to a Reuters report.
The potential deployments appear to undercut Trump's plans to end what he has called "these ridiculous wars" in Middle East — which the president continues to say he wants to do amid the lead up to the 2020 US presidential election — in order to focus on Russia and China.
"The endless and ridiculous wars are ENDING," Trump tweeted in October. "We will be focused on the big picture, knowing we can always go back & BLAST!"
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