US Military News Today

U.S. officials braced for Iran to respond to the killing of its most powerful general, noting heightened military readiness in the country and preparing for a possible “tit-for-tat” attempt on the life of an American military commander. President Donald Trump ordered the Jan. 2 strike against Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, after the death of an American contractor in Iraq. Now, as the massive demonstrations of Iran’s public mourning period for Soleimani come to a close, officials believe the next steps by America’s longtime foe will determine the ultimate course of the latest crisis. While officials say American intelligence isn’t clear on whether Iran’s latest military moves are designed to bolster Tehran’s defenses or prepare for an offensive strike, the U.S. is continuing to reinforce its own positions in the region, including repositioning some forces. One official said the U.S. anticipated a “major” attack of some type within the next day or two. On Monday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said no decision had been made about withdrawing troops from Iraq. Pro-Iranian factions in the Iraqi Parliament have pushed to oust American troops following Soleimani’s killing on Iraqi soil. Esper spoke to reporters after a letter from a U.S. Army general circulated that seemed to suggest a withdrawal had been ordered in response to a vote by the Iraqi Parliament over the weekend. “There’s been no decision whatsoever to leave Iraq,” Esper said. Soleimani’s death, which has sparked major protests, further nuclear development and new threatsContinue reading

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U.S. Forces in Syria - American Troops

The United States has completed its military pullback in northeastern Syria, settling into a more stable posture of about 600 troops in the rest of the country after repositioning and reducing forces, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said. Esper’s remarks in an interview with Reuters could signal the end of a period of turbulence and uncertainty surrounding the U.S. military presence in Syria after President Donald Trump’s initial withdrawal order in October. Since then, troop levels in Syria have fallen about 40 percent from around 1,000. Esper stressed he retained the ability to move in and out smaller numbers of forces as needed into Syria. But he suggested the number of troops will fluctuate around the 600-level for the foreseeable future. “It will be relatively static around that number. But if we see things happen … I can dial up a little bit,” Esper said late on Wednesday during a flight back from the NATO summit on the outskirts of London. Esper also didn’t rule out being able to reduce U.S. troop levels in Syria further if European allies contributed to the Syria mission. “The coalition is talking a lot again. We could see some allies want to volunteer troops,” Esper said, without suggesting any new contribution was imminent. “If an allied country, a NATO country, decided to give us 50 people, I might be able to turn off 50 people.” The U.S. military says it is focused on preventing a resurgence of Islamic State in Syria and carried out aContinue reading

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US Military at War

The United States’ military presence in the Gulf used to be a serious threat but now it is an opportunity, a senior commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said on Sunday, according to the Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA). The U.S. military has sent forces, including an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers, to the Middle East to counter what U.S. officials have said are “clear indications” of threats from Iran to its forces there. The USS Abraham Lincoln is replacing another carrier rotated out of the Gulf last month. “An aircraft carrier that has at least 40 to 50 planes on it and 6,000 forces gathered within it was a serious threat for us in the past but now…the threats have switched to opportunities,” Amirali Hajizadeh, head of the Guards’ aerospace division said. He added, “If (the Americans) make a move we will hit them in the head.” The commander of the Guards, Major General Hossein Salami, said in a parliament session on Sunday that the United States has started a psychological war in the region, according to a parliamentary spokesman. “Commander Salami, with attention to the situation in the region, presented an analysis that the Americans have started a psychological war because the comings and goings of their military is a normal matter,” said Behrouz Nemati in a summary of the Salami’s comments, according to parliament’s ICANA news site. Salami was appointed head of the Guards last month. Separately, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a tweet onContinue reading

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