Washington considers sending troops to the Middle East should Iran attack American forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons, the New York Times reported citing unnamed U.S. administration officials.
The top U.S. defense official has presented an updated military plan to President Donald Trump’s administration that , the New York Times reported on Monday.
According to the officials, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan presented the plan at a meeting of Trump’s top security aides on May 9, which envisions sending up to 120,000 troops to the Middle East should Tehran "attack American forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons."
The newspaper noted that the Pentagon do not call for a land invasion of Iran, which would require vastly more troops.
The New York Times added that the revisions were ordered by U.S. President’s national security adviser John Bolton. It is highly uncertain whether Trump has been briefed on the number of troops or other details in the plans.
A military observer of the TASS news agency, retired Colonel Viktor Litovkin, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that sending up to 120,000 troops to the Middle East is quite possible, but it will not be effective in terms of putting real military pressure on Iran. "Before the 2003 Iraq campaign, the Americans sent about 180,000 troops to the Middle East, so it's not a problem to send 120,000 troops there - they will be stationed in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. The question is whether the it will help the U.S. to defeat Iran, because Iran is not Iraq, one cannot buy the Iranian army, the Iranians will fight desperately, so the Americans can lose a lot of people in this war," he explained.
"I don’t think that Americans are ready for such losses, they are unacceptable for Trump. Thus, Washington will put psychological pressure. There may be some incidents, interception of small Iranian ships and boats at sea, blocking the exit to the ocean for Iranian boats, although it will be fraught for Americans with big troubles in the region. 120,000 troops is a miserable number against Iran. Iran is able to block the U.S. movement in the Strait of Hormuz, strike Israel through Syria. That is, Washington will need to calculate all the pros and cons of what they can use against Iran very well," Viktor Litovkin added.
Head of the Analytical Section of the Institute of Political and Military Analysis, Alexander Khramchikhin, in turn, stressed that the U.S. will not send 120,000 troops to the Middle East if their plans are limited to psychological pressure on Iran. "The countries loyal to the U.S. are fully capable of hosting all these military. Naturally, if it happens, it will be a real war, not just a deployment of troops," he said.
The expert also added that the United States will not unleash a war against Iran without being supported by other states. "It is not yet clear exactly what this contingent will consist of. But one thing is clear: the Americans will not fight against Iran alone,” Alexander Khramchikhin concluded.