Iran tensions: Pentagon plan to deploy 120,000 troops in case of escalation

At the direction of national security adviser John Bolton, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan last week presented top White House national security officials with a plan to send up to 120,000 troops to the Middle East in the event that Iran “attack American forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons,” the New York Times reports.

Details: The plan was reportedly presented during a meeting about the Trump administration’s broader Iran policy, attended — among others — by Bolton, CIA director Gina Haspel, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats. It’s unclear if President Trump has been briefed on the details of the plan, which did not call for a land invasion of Iran, but requested a similar number of troops involved the U.S.’ 2003 invasion of Iraq, per the Times.

The big picture: Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have been warning of an unspecified “escalating threat” from Iran in recent weeks, after receiving intelligence from Israel about a possible Iranian plot to attack U.S. interests in the region. Trump told reporters today that he’d been “hearing little stories about Iran,” adding: “If they do anything, they will suffer greatly.”

  • Saudi Arabia on Monday announced that two Saudi tankers were damaged by an “act of sabotage” over the weekend in the Gulf, without identifying any suspects. Iran’s foreign ministry distanced itself, calling the incident “worrisome” and “regretful.”
  • Later on Monday, AP and other media outlets cited an anonymous U.S. official as saying an “initial assessment is that Iranian or Iranian-backed proxies” were responsible.

https://www.axios.com/iran-military-troops-john-bolton-1d4a714c-ea52-483f-b392-2ac2af01f423.html

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U.S. troops found nearly 5,000 abandoned chemical weapons in Iraq from 2004 to 2011

American troops found nearly 5,000 abandoned chemical weapons in Iraq from 2004 to 2011, but their discoveries were kept secret by the U.S. government, the New York Times reports.

According to the 10,000-word, eight-part interactive report (“The Secret Casualties of Iraq’s Abandoned Chemical Weapons“) by C.J. Chivers published on the paper’s website late Tuesday, at least 17 American service members and seven Iraqi police officers were exposed to nerve or mustard agents in Iraq after 2003.

On at least six occasions, American troops and American-trained Iraqi troops were wounded by the abandoned munitions, but news of the encounters was neither shared publicly nor widely circulated among the troops, the victims told the Times. Others said they were told to be vague or deceptive about what they found.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

https://news.yahoo.com/chemical-weapons-found-in-iraq-nyt-report-135347507.html

Pentagon moving 250 active-duty troops to Eagle Pass, Texas, because of migrant caravan

The Pentagon is moving 250 active duty troops to the border town of Eagle Pass, Texas, in advance of the arrival of a new caravan of migrants, according to a statement Wednesday by Defense Department spokesperson Capt. Bill Speaks.

The move reflects President Donald Trump’s mention of a “human wall,” but comes amid increasing frustration among Pentagon leaders with the continued border requests from Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

Under the new directive, the troops will be moved from Arizona to Texas and — in a sign of the Pentagon’s frustrations — will not represent an increase in the overall number of U.S. troops assigned to the border mission.

Nielsen said in a statement Tuesday that a caravan of 2,000 immigrants was approaching the Texas border, and that the Department of Homeland Security will “take all steps to ensure the safety and security of law enforcement personnel” at the border.

She asked Customs and Border Protection on Monday for forces to reinforce the area where the caravan may attempt to cross into the U.S.

Earlier this week, the Texas Department of Public Safety sent state troopers to Eagle Pass in advance of the caravan’s arrival.

“Acting Secretary of Defense Shanahan has authorized the repositioning of approximately 250 active duty military personnel from current border security support missions in Arizona to the vicinity of the Eagle Pass [Ports of Entry],” Speaks said in the statement. “This support is being provided under existing authorities and in accordance with previously approved requests for support.”

Trump tweeted about sending military personnel to the border Tuesday morning: “Tremendous numbers of people are coming up through Mexico in the hopes of flooding our Southern Border. We have sent additional military. We will build a Human Wall if necessary. If we had a real Wall, this would be a non-event!”

The additional troops will be military police, medical personnel, and engineers who will support hardening the ports of entry, according to the Pentagon’s statement.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/immigration/pentagon-moving-250-active-duty-troops-eagle-pass-texas-because-n967546

N.M. Governor Pulls National Guard Troops Off Border

The governor of New Mexico ordered the withdrawal of the majority of the state’s National Guard troops from the U.S. border with Mexico on Tuesday, in a move that challenges President Trump’s description of a security crisis.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced the partial withdrawal shortly before Trump’s State of the Union address. Her Republican predecessor deployed National Guard troops to the border in April 2018 at Trump’s suggestion, and 118 remained there before Tuesday’s reversal.

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

“New Mexico will not take part in the president’s charade of border fear-mongering by misusing our diligent National Guard troops,” Lujan Grisham said in a statement.

Read more

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

https://www.infowars.com/new-mex-governor-pulls-national-guard-troops-off-border/

Trump Orders Major Afghan Drawdown: 7,000 Troops To Return Home In Coming Weeks

CNN warns “officials brace for Trump announcement on Afghanistan” after Trump’s Wednesday bombshell Syria troop pullout announcement.

He’s now initiated “a major drawdown” of forces in Afghanistan too, and while inside the beltway neocon heads might continue to explode, the broader public for which the seventeen year long Afghan war is deeply unpopular will no doubt cheer the move. And already NBC reports Thursday evening based on defense sources the White House has asked the Pentagon to draw up plans presenting “multiple options” including a “complete withdrawal”. Following the “options” order it now appears Trump has pulled the trigger and “ordered the start of a reduction of American forces in Afghanistan” according to a breaking WSJ report:

More than 7,000 American troops will begin to return home from Afghanistan in the coming weeks, a U.S. official said. The move will come as the first stage of a phased drawdown and the start of a conclusion to the 17-year war that officials say could take at least many months. There now are more than 14,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

U.S. soldiers in Bagram, north of Kabul, Afghanistan, via AP

Further the WSJ reports it marks “the start of a total pullout that could take at least many months.”

The major reduction of U.S. troops in the country will begin as soon as within several weeks, according to sources cited in The Wall Street Journal. Currently there are about 14,000 troops in Afghanistan in continuation of a NATO advise, train and assist mission as part of the longest running war in United States history.

Trump reportedly stoked “anger and confusion” among some lawmakers and Pentagon officials over his Syria pullout decision; however, he appears to be sticking to his prior “bring the troops home” promises made on the campaign trail in 2016. In a series of Tweets, the president defended the 180 degree shift in Syria policy, which as of only less than a week ago was was expressed by US special envoy for Syria, Ambassador James Jeffrey, as “countering Iran”.

In a Thursday Tweet that could have just as well been about Afghanistan, Trump stated: “So hard to believe that Lindsey Graham would be against saving soldier lives & billions of $$$.” And added, “Time to focus on our Country & bring our youth back home where they belong!”

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

https://www.infowars.com/trump-orders-major-afghan-drawdown-7000-troops-to-return-home-in-coming-weeks/

Mattis to Join Troops on US-Mexico Border

Secretary of Defense James Mattis will travel to Texas on Wednesday to visit troops currently deployed in support of the Southwest border mission.

Mattis’ trip comes amid a significant active-duty troop presence along the U.S. border with Mexico to deter a caravan of migrants seeking asylum.

The Department of Defense estimates that more than 7,000 troops will be positioned in California, Arizona and Texas in support of the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection. In which case, the border mission, will have a larger U.S. military footprint than the combined efforts in Iraq and Syria.

Read more

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

https://www.infowars.com/mattis-to-join-troops-on-us-mexico-border/

President Trump Allows Troops To Fire On Violent Invaders

President Trump has warned members of the migrant caravan that if they throw rocks at US military with the intent to cause serious bodily harm, they will be treated as combatants. “…I will tell you this: Anybody throwing stones, rocks, like they did to Mexico and the Mexican military, Mexican police – where they badly hurt police and soldiers of Mexico – we will consider that a firearm,” Trump has warned.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

https://www.infowars.com/breaking-president-trump-allows-troops-to-fire-on-violent-invaders/

Syria bomb kills 2 coalition troops, including an American

A roadside bomb in northern Syria killed two coalition personnel, including an American, and wounded five others in a rare attack since the U.S.-led coalition sent troops into the war-torn country, the U.S. military and a U.S. defense official said Friday.

The military did not say where the attack took place or give the nationalities of the other casualties but it came hours after a local Syrian official said that a roadside bomb exploded in the tense, mixed Arab-Kurdish town of Manbij that is not far from the border with Turkey.

Manbij is under threat of a Turkish military operation. Ankara says Syrian Kurdish militiamen it views as “terrorists” and an extension of Kurdish insurgents inside Turkey is in control of the town.

The U.S. military statement said the attack happened Thursday night and that the wounded were being evacuated for further medical treatment. The statement said details were being withheld pending further investigation.

A Department of Defense official in Washington said one of the two killed was an American service member and the other was of another nationality that the official would not specify.

No other information about the American was immediately available. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because details had not yet been publicly released.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

https://apnews.com/ecc4da5db3a843c28f2f26521839815b

Troops, veterans are now ‘protected’ from deportation

The approximately 800 service members whose military service was put in limbo by President Donald Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program will not be deported, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Thursday.

Congress has been at an impasse over DACA, which provides a protected status for some younger undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children.

Mattis told reporters Thursday that he has finalized an agreement with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to put the military’s ”Dreamers” in a protected status.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

http://www.militarytimes.com/news/your-military/2018/02/08/troops-veterans-are-now-protected-from-deportation/

Sen. Rand Paul: Bring home our troops and, yes, throw a parade

Though the martial image of high-stepping soldiers is not one I tend to associate with our nation’s Founders’ distrust of a standing Army, I’m not against a victory celebration. So I propose we declare victory in Afghanistan, bring home our 14,000 troops and hold a victory parade.

We defeated the enemy in Afghanistan. We killed or captured the terrorists who planned, plotted, or aided in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. We killed the ringleader, Usama bin Laden. We disrupted the terrorists’ camps where they plotted and trained. We dislodged the Taliban government that aided and abetted bin Laden.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2018/02/07/sen-rand-paul-trump-s-military-parade-is-good-idea-if-bring-troops-home-from-afghanistan-first.html