Trump Announces 1,500 More US Troops Being Sent to Middle East

SecDef: Troops will counter 'ongoing threat' of Iran

The Trump Administration still can’t make its mind up on Iran. After Trump told reporters on Thursday that he didn’t think the US needed any more troops in the Middle East, he announced Friday morning that he has approved a new deployment of 1,500 US troops.

Trump didn’t indicate what changed his mind on the matter of troops, and instead focused heavily on emphasizing to reporters that the deployment is “relatively small,” at least compared to the 10,000 the Pentagon initially requested.

Still, any troops continue the US buildup toward a military confrontation with Iran, and Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan underscored that, presenting the deployment as meant to counter “the ongoing threat posed by Iranian forces.”

Which again, President Trump said wasn’t a thing in the first place. Earlier this week, Trump announced that there was no indication anything had happened with Iran, or that anything would happen in the future with them. A Congressional briefing from the Pentagon on secret intelligence only added to the doubts about the case for war, and had many accusing the administration hawks doing a repeat of the 2002-2003 deception that led to the US invasion and occupation of Iraq.

It’s not clear from the reports so far where the 1,500 troops will actually be sent in the region. The Bolton/Pompeo narrative would make Iraq the obvious choice, but Iraq is so angry at the US for talking up war as it is, that trying to put more war-related troops in Iraq would almost ensure a diplomatic blowback.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.