900 More US Troops to Saudi Arabia, Qatar
By Staff, Agencies
The US sent additional troops directed to the Middle East to Saudi Arabia and Qatar, Acting War Secretary Patrick Shanahan said.
“I don’t see a change in any behavior,” Shanahan told reporters Wednesday en route to Indonesia, when asked about Iran. “The situation still remains tense. It is a high-threat environment.”
US President Donald Trump ordered more forces to the Middle East as the Pentagon blamed Tehran for recent attacks on ships and oil pipelines in the region. While Trump vowed to bolster forces by about 1,500 troops, approximately 600 of them were already in the region. He claimed that the deployment was for ‘defensive’ purposes with a focus on missile defense, surveillance and keeping open shipping lanes in the Gulf.
Earlier this month, Trump’s administration expedited the deployment of a carrier battle group to the Middle East along with a Patriot missile battery and additional bombers. That deployment “deterred attacks on our people in Iraq,” Shanahan said.
“The US also remains focused on protecting freedom of navigation and the flow of energy through the Strait of Hormuz,” Shanahan said, adding “We have the ability to defend ships in the Strait of Hormuz.”
However, he stated: “I don’t think anyone wants a war with Iran.”
Shanahan landed in Jakarta on Wednesday evening as part of a tour through Asia that will include a stop later this week at the Shangri-la Dialogue defense policy forum, where he’ll give a keynote speech on June 1 and meet with China’s defense minister.