U.S. Pulling Troops Out of Middle East After Iran Escalation
The U.S. military has begun to withdraw small contingents of the 90,000 troops it sent to the Middle East, after determining that the novel coronavirus has made Iran’s regime less of a threat, The Wall Street Journal reports. The Trump administration is withdrawing the 1,000 troops it had deployed to beef up the U.S. military presence leading up to the strike that killed Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani in early January. The Journal reports that 2,000 troops from the same brigade will then leave the region in the coming weeks. The about-face marks a stark change to the escalating tension in the region, but with Iran crippled by the coronavirus, with more than 7,000 cases and over 200 deaths reported, the U.S. feels the threat—at least for now—has abated. U.S. military officials said they are confident that the window for potential retaliatory violence connected to Soleimani’s death has passed.