US to ship 1,500 further troops to Center East amid tensions

Handout picture released by the US Navy on 8 May 2019 shows the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln being replenished at sea by the fast combat support ship USNS Arctic (T-AOE 9)Picture copyright

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The US deployed an plane service to the Gulf earlier this month

The US is to ship 1,500 troops to the Center East to counter the “ongoing risk posed by Iranian forces”, the appearing defence secretary says.

Congress has been notified in regards to the plans, Patrick Shanahan mentioned in a press release. Fighter jets, drones and different weaponry may even be deployed.

President Donald Trump introduced the transfer earlier on Friday. He mentioned the deployment was “comparatively small”.

A high US official has accused Iran instantly of attacking oil tankers.

Tensions rose this month after delivery within the Gulf of Oman was broken by a sequence of thriller explosions.

The US has already deployed an plane service and bomber planes.

However solely on Thursday, Mr Trump mentioned that he didn’t suppose extra troops could be wanted.

“I do not suppose we will want them,” he instructed reporters. “I actually do not. I will surely ship troops if we want them.”

What’s the newest US transfer?

Mr Shanahan mentioned he had “authorized a request from the combatant commander for extra assets” within the area.

He mentioned the transfer was supposed to “safeguard US forces given the continuing risk posed by Iranian forces, together with the IRGC [Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps] and its proxies.”

The IRGC is probably the most elite navy unit in Iran. Final month, the US designated it as a international terrorist organisation.

Mr Shanahan mentioned that “further intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance plane” could be deployed in addition to a staff of engineers. He mentioned a fighter plane squadron and a Patriot missile-defence system would even be despatched.

It’s “a prudent defensive measure… supposed to scale back the potential for future hostilities,” Mr Shanahan mentioned.

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Media captionThe BBC’s Paul Adams appears on the current developments behind the US-Iran tensions

Earlier on Friday, President Trump instructed reporters outdoors the White Home that a “comparatively small” deployment had been authorized.

“We wish to have safety within the Center East,” he mentioned, including that the additional troops could be “principally protecting.”

He appeared to downplay the potential for tensions escalating additional. “Proper now, I do not suppose Iran needs to struggle and I definitely do not suppose they wish to struggle with us,” he mentioned.

Trump’s dilemma

Gary O’Donoghue, BBC Washington correspondent

This recent deployment of troops and hardware has been signalled for numerous days, however it’s a way more modest transfer than many anticipated. Round 1,500 service personnel are more likely to be despatched, considerably down on the 5,000-10,000 that some administration sources had floated.

Along with the united statesAbraham Lincoln plane service and B-52 bombers already introduced, further Patriot missile batteries will give the US vital capabilities to counter any risk from the air, be that missiles or plane. And the deployment of surveillance planes, each manned and unmanned, will enable a clearer evaluation of Iranian exercise such because the alleged assaults on business tankers just lately (which some have blamed on Tehran) and any troop actions alongside the coast.

What remains to be removed from clear is whether or not there’s a settled view in Washington in regards to the nature of the elevated risk from Iran and what ought to be finished about it. Regardless of some robust rhetoric, the president has appeared reluctant to turn out to be overly entangled within the area, conscious little doubt of his guarantees to carry troops again from there and never the reverse.

What’s behind the tensions?

Tensions between the US and Iran started rising this month when Washington ended exemptions from sanctions for international locations nonetheless shopping for from Iran. The choice was supposed to carry Iran’s oil exports to zero, denying the federal government its predominant income.

Mr Trump reinstated the sanctions final 12 months after abandoning the landmark nuclear deal that Iran has signed with six nations – the 5 everlasting members of the UN Safety Council and Germany.

Iran has now introduced it it’s going to droop a number of commitments beneath the deal.

Iran nuclear deal: Key particulars

4 oil tankers had been broken in what the United Arab Emirates (UAE) mentioned had been sabotage assaults whereas drone assaults on two oil pumping stations in Saudi Arabia by Yemen’s Houthi rebels – who’re supported by Iran – compelled the non permanent closure of a pipeline.

Iran denied it was behind the incidents however Rear Admiral Michael Gilday, director of the US Joint Employees, accused the IRGC of being instantly accountable.

Profile: Iran’s Revolutionary Guards

“The assault towards the delivery in Fujairah [part of the UAE], we attribute it to the IRGC,” he mentioned on Friday, explaining that limpet mines used within the assaults had been linked on to the IRGC.

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An oil slick is seen coming from one of many tankers attacked within the Gulf of Oman

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