White House plans to deploy 120,000 troops to the Middle East if Iran attacks American forces

The situation in the Persian Gulf grew even more tense Tuesday as it was revealed the Pentagon has presented the White House with a plan to deploy 120,000 troops to the Middle East if Iran attacks American forces

The plan for a large mobilization, an alarming echo of the Iraq War, comes after President Trump issued a tough warning to Iran, and military investigators have made a preliminary assessment that Iran or its proxies were behind an alleged ‘sabotage’ of four ships in the region.

Trump warned Monday it would a ‘very bad mistake’ if Iran launched any attack in the Persian Gulf.

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan presented the plan at a meeting of Donald Trump‘s top security aides on Thursday, reports the New York Times.   

Several plans were detailed, the Times said, and ‘the uppermost option called for deploying 120,000 troops, which would take weeks or months to complete’ – and would be approaching the size of the force that invaded Iraq in 2003.

These plans do not call for a land invasion of Iran, which would require far more troops. 

The White House is reportedly planning to deploy 120,000 troops to the Middle East if Iran attacks American forces in an alarming echo of the Iraq War. Pictured: A helicopter lands on the USS Abraham Lincoln, which has been deployed to the Persian Gulf over increased tensions with Iran

The White House is reportedly planning to deploy 120,000 troops to the Middle East if Iran attacks American forces in an alarming echo of the Iraq War. Pictured: A helicopter lands on the USS Abraham Lincoln, which has been deployed to the Persian Gulf over increased tensions with Iran

The White House is reportedly planning to deploy 120,000 troops to the Middle East if Iran attacks American forces in an alarming echo of the Iraq War. Pictured: A helicopter lands on the USS Abraham Lincoln, which has been deployed to the Persian Gulf over increased tensions with Iran

National Security Advisor John Bolton, who was present in the Oval Office Monday when Trump met with the right wing prime minister of Hungary, leads a group of hardliners who requested the plans, according to the report. 

Bolton said Sunday: ‘The United States is not seeking war with the Iranian regime, but we are fully prepared to respond to any attack, whether by proxy, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or regular Iranian forces.’

On Monday, Trump warned that Iran would ‘suffer greatly’ if it targeted U.S. interests.

He told reporters at the White House: ‘We’ll see what happens with Iran. If they do anything, it will be a very bad mistake.’ 

Trump’s tough talk followed allegations of ‘sabotage’ on four oil tankers in the Persian Gulf.

Military investigators told CBS Iran or its proxies used explosives to blast holes in the four vessels.   

Tensions spiked after President Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal and announced a series of sanctions meant to isolate Iran. 

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, pictured, presented the plan at a meeting of Donald Trump's top security aides on Thursday

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, pictured, presented the plan at a meeting of Donald Trump's top security aides on Thursday

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, pictured, presented the plan at a meeting of Donald Trump’s top security aides on Thursday

The president’s public schedule for Tuesday did not list any security meetings. 

Tensions between Iran and the United States have intensified since Trump pulled out of a 2015 international deal to curb Iran’s nuclear activities and imposed increasingly strict sanctions on Tehran. 

Trump wants to force Tehran to agree to a broader arms control accord and has sent an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Gulf in a show of force against what U.S. officials have said are threats to U.S. troops in the region.

Iran has said the U.S. is engaging in ‘psychological warfare’, called the U.S. military presence ‘a target’ rather than a threat and said it will not allow its oil exports to be halted.

The Times said among those attending the Thursday meeting were Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton, CIA Director Gina Haspel, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford. 

The news comes after an American military team claimed Iranian or Iranian-backed proxies used explosives to blow large holes in four ships anchored off the coast of the United Arab Emirates on Sunday.

The news comes after an American military team claimed Iranian or Iranian-backed proxies used explosives to blow large holes in four ship (pictured, A. Michel, one of the tankers damaged) anchored off the coast of the United Arab Emirates on Sunday

The news comes after an American military team claimed Iranian or Iranian-backed proxies used explosives to blow large holes in four ship (pictured, A. Michel, one of the tankers damaged) anchored off the coast of the United Arab Emirates on Sunday

The news comes after an American military team claimed Iranian or Iranian-backed proxies used explosives to blow large holes in four ship (pictured, A. Michel, one of the tankers damaged) anchored off the coast of the United Arab Emirates on Sunday

Tensions between Iran and the United States have intensified since Trump pulled out of a 2015 international deal to curb Iran's nuclear activities and imposed increasingly strict sanctions on Tehran

Tensions between Iran and the United States have intensified since Trump pulled out of a 2015 international deal to curb Iran's nuclear activities and imposed increasingly strict sanctions on Tehran

Tensions between Iran and the United States have intensified since Trump pulled out of a 2015 international deal to curb Iran’s nuclear activities and imposed increasingly strict sanctions on Tehran 

Each ship has a five to 10ft hole in it, near or just below the water line, and the team’s early belief is that the holes were caused by explosive charges. 

Gulf officials have characterized the damage to the tankers as sabotage. 

Two Saudi oil tankers, a Norwegian-flagged vessel, and a bunkering tanker flagged in Sharjah, one of the UAE’s seven emirates, all suffered similar damage Sunday.

The U.S. has warned ships that ‘Iran or its proxies’ could be targeting maritime traffic in the region, and America has moved additional ships and aircraft into the region.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday called Iran a ‘major destabilizing force’ in the Middle East while Britain warned of the danger of a war being started in the Gulf by accident.  

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