The Pentagon denied a report from the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that the U.S. is considering a buildup of military forces in the Middle East, including dozens of ships and up to 14,000 additional soldiers.
The possible deployment of military forces could be intended to counter threats from Iran throughout the region. U.S. officials are reportedly concerned that an Iranian attack on U.S. forces as they currently stand would leave America with few options to respond. Sending additional forces may give the U.S. more leeway in choosing an appropriate response to Iranian aggression.
Pentagon press secretary Alyssa Farah flatly denied the Journal‘s report on the number of troops the U.S. was considering for deployment.
“This reporting by the @WSJ is wrong.The U.S. is not considering sending 14,000 additional troops to the Middle East,” Farah wrote on Twitter.
In September, Iran launched a sophisticated attack combining drones and cruise missiles on Saudi Arabian oil-processing infrastructure, briefly halting the flow of five percent of the world’s oil supply. The Iranian government is currently under intense domestic pressure after protests over fuel prices rocked the country. Regime security forces have reportedly killed hundreds of demonstrators while the government imposed a country-wide internet blackout.
President Trump is weighing a buildup of U.S. forces even as the country prepares for an election year. Trump has repeatedly promised to end American involvement in “endless wars” and touted the withdrawal of troops from northern Syria in October as a fulfillment of his pledge, despite severe Republican criticism of the decision.