United States to send more troops to the Middle East

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The deployment follows a ramping up of USA military assets in the region, following national security adviser John Bolton's May 5 statement that Iran poses a new threat to Americans and their allies in the Middle East.

The U.S. will send hundreds of additional troops and a dozen fighter jets to the Middle East in the coming weeks to counter what the Pentagon said is an escalating campaign by Iran to plan attacks against the U.S. and its interests in the region.

The Defense Department will also extend the deployment of a Patriot missile battalion already assigned to the theater, bolstering the troop presence to about 1,500 USA personnel.

"We have deterred attacks based on reposturing of assets - deterred attacks against American forces", Shanahan told reporters Tuesday after delivering a classified briefing to the full US Congress.

Ahead of Thursday's meeting with Trump and top Pentagon officials, Shanahan said the objective of any additional forces would be to ensure the protection of U.S. troops and avoid the risk of Iranian miscalculation that could lead to a broader conflict. "And I certainly don't think they want to fight with us", Trump said.

"The protection of USA national interests in the Middle East and the safety of our friends and allies requires thoughtful statesmanship and aggressive diplomacy rather than unnecessary armed conflict".

President Donald Trump also notified lawmakers of the move, Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Katie Wheelbarger told reporters Friday.

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Asked about the Trump administration's decision to accelerate the deployment of the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier battle group and other military hardware to the region, Reed said "if it's a deterrence I think that's appropriate because we don't want to see an outbreak of conflict there".

The forces would help strengthen US defenses in the region, two sources told Reuters earlier on condition of anonymity.

But acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan denied news reports that plans under consideration call for the deployment of as many as 10,000 more troops, a move that would further rattle frayed nerves in the region.

Mr Shanahan said he had "approved a request from the combatant commander for additional resources" in the region.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) both issued statements on social media warning of the consequences of any war with Iran. They said the forces included engineers. There are about 5,200 troops in Iraq and 2,000 in Syria.

"But they can not have nuclear weapons", he continued.

"This is truly operations driven by intelligence", Gilday said, adding that the USA continues to see intelligence suggesting that Iran is actively planning attacks against the US and partners in the region by the Revolutionary Guard and Iranian proxies in Yemen and Iraq. They can't have nuclear weapons.