The Trump administration is reportedly considering sending as many as 14,000 additional U.S. military troops to the Middle East as part of an effort to counter Iran. The deployment would also include dozens more ships and military hardware, U.S. officials said. In May, Trump announced that hundreds of troops would be sent overseas to the Middle East, and that number is now at roughly 14,000 U.S. military personnel in the region. Then-National Security Adviser John Bolton said in May the decision was a result of “a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings” of threats from Iran, adding that the move was meant to “send a clear and unmistakable message” to the country as a deterrent.
The mass-deployment to the Middle East has concerned members of Congress and U.S. officials who have warned that it could fuel a potentially dangerous conflict with Iran. Officials told The Wall Street Journal that Trump, who is facing pressure to fend off Iran, could also decide to sign off on sending a smaller number of troops. The Pentagon’s Senior Policy Official John Rood said on Wednesday that no decision has yet been made on the deployment. Department of Defense Press Secretary Alyssa Farah called the Journal's reporting “wrong” in a Wednesday night tweet. “The U.S. is not sending 14,000 troops to the Middle East to confront Iran,” she wrote.