Amid rising tensions with Iran, the White House is sending roughly 1,500 military troops to the Middle East to step up missile defense and surveillance, Trump announced Friday. According to the Associated Press, members of Congress were notified following a White House meeting on Thursday night to discuss Pentagon proposals to increase the U.S. military force presence in the Middle East. “Our job is deterrence. This is not about war,” Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said Thursday. “We have a mission there in the Middle East: Freedom of navigation, counterterrorism in Syria and Iraq, defeating al-Qaeda in Yemen, and the security of Israel and Jordan.” According to Shanahan, the deployment will include “a Patriot battalion to defend against missile threats; additional intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance aircraft; an engineer element to provide force protection improvements throughout the region; and a fighter aircraft squadron to provide additional deterrence and depth to our aviation response options.” The president told reporters on the White House lawn that troops will have a “mostly protective” role.
SOURCE: The Daily Beast – Pilar Melendez