President Donald Trump announced on Friday that some 1,500 additional U.S. troops would be deployed to West Asia against a backdrop of soaring tensions with Iran.
“We want to have protection in the Middle East,” Mr. Trump told reporters as he prepared to set off on a trip to Japan.
“We’re going to be sending a relatively small number of troops, mostly protective,” Mr. Trump added. “It’ll be about 1,500 people.”
The deployment includes reconnaissance aircraft, fighter jets, engineers, and the extension of the presence of a Patriot missile defense battalion that accounts for 600 of the personnel.
“This is a prudent response to credible threats from Iran,” said Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan.
Pentagon officials said the move is in response to recent incidents in the region, including a rocket attack on the Green Zone in Baghdad, explosion that damaged four tankers in Fujairah at the entrance to the Gulf, and a Houthi drone attack against a Saudi oil installation. The U.S. intelligence had tied the incidents to Iran.