Mark Esper, United States Secretary of Defense, announced on September 20, that the United States of America will be sending troops to the Middle East as the country’s, “first step,” in the wake of an attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities. Details about the new movement remains unknown to the public. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford, noted that the Pentagon would provide additional information about the plan very soon.
Esper held nothing back as he casted blame on Iran for, “significant escalation of violence.” Iran has been the primary country implicated in the attacks so far. Esper went on to say that nations of the Middle East specifically requested U.S. assistance. He relieved some of the tension by mentioning that this particular mission is only “defense,” and will only include a decent amount of troops rather than thousands.
“The president has approved the deployment of U.S. forces, which will be defensive in nature and primarily focused on air and missile defense,” said Esper. “The United States does not seek conflict with Iran.”
The Trump administration arrived at the idea of deploying troops after putting new rounds of sanctions on Tehran. President Trump boasts that his “restraint” shown in the low number of troops that will be deployed demonstrates strength.
“I think the strong person’s approach and the thing that does show strength would be showing a little bit of restraint,” said Trump.
The Pentagon made the rest of the country aware of its decision, as guests filed into the White House for a state dinner in honor of Scott Morrison, the prime minister of Australia. The announcement also followed only hours after Trump met with national security aides about options on reacting to the attack. However, ideas for a military strike isn’t completely off the table—it is just at the bottom of the list.
It is projected that only a few hundred troops will receive deployment orders, and that any equipment sent to the Middle East would only include Patriot missile batteries and stronger radars. Trump decided against launching military strikes to avoid full blown war with Iran. He believes that carrying out military strikes would be the easy way out.
“Much easier to do it the other way, and Iran knows that if they misbehave, they are on borrowed time,” said Trump.
It appears that President Donald Trump has not decided whether or not to go on and order a military strike against Iran, although he suspects that they planned and carried out the unpredictable drone and missile attacks on multiple Saudi oil facilities. Iran claims innocence when tied to any involvement in the attacks.
As of now, this is the second time within the last few months that Trump has held back from major military engagement with Iran, an action that is feared by many authorities that it could spark up a Middle East war.