The Pentagon is throwing cold water on a report from the Wall Street Journal that President Trump could decide as soon as this month to dispatch thousands more troops and dozens more ships to the Persian Gulf region to counter Iran.

The report suggested that as many as 14,000 additional U.S. troops could be sent, which would be "significant expansion of the U.S. military footprint in the Middle East."

"This reporting by the @WSJ is wrong," tweeted Pentagon Press Secretary Alyssa Farah, "The U.S. is not sending 14,000 troops to the Middle East to confront Iran."

So what is the plan?

It's not clear if Farah is disputing the specific number of troops or the whole idea that the U.S. is considering the deployment of some other number of additional forces to deter Iran.

John Rood, the Pentagon's undersecretary of defense for policy and Air Force Lt. Gen. David Allvin, director for strategy, plans and policy for the joint staff are both scheduled to provide congressional testimony this morning on "strategic threats" facing the U.S.

"I look forward to hearing tomorrow in Senate Armed Services why the Pentagon reportedly wants 14,000 MORE troops in the Middle East, after sending 14,000 already this year alone," Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley tweeted yesterday. "Is the Pentagon preparing for a land war?"

Yesterday Rood told reporters "We also continue to see indications, and for obvious reasons I won't go into the details, that potential Iranian aggression could occur," according to Reuters.

Comment: Also quoting Reuters:
"We also continue to see indications, and for obvious reasons I won't go into the details, that potential Iranian aggression could occur," John Rood, the Pentagon's No. 3 official, told reporters.

Rood did not provide details about what information he was basing that on or any timeline.
Sounds like they want to keep the pot boiling while Iran is experiencing so much (CIA- and sanction-provoked) internal unrest

Iran threat rising

Meanwhile the New York Times is reporting that U.S. intelligence officials say Iran is building up "a hidden arsenal of short-range ballistic missiles in Iraq," which it says poses "a threat to American allies and partners in the region, including Israel and Saudi Arabia, and could endanger American troops."

"American intelligence officials first warned about new Iranian missiles in Iraq last year, and Israel launched an airstrike aimed at destroying the hidden Iranian weaponry," the Times reports. "But since then, American officials have said the threat is growing, with new ballistic missiles being secretly moved in."


In a series of interviews last month, the U.S. Central Command chief, Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, said Iran could be planning a major attack on the scale of the recent missile and drone assault on Saudi Arabia's oil fields.

"My judgment is that it is very possible they will attack again," McKenzie told reporters traveling with him to the region. "It's the trajectory and the direction that they're on."