18:13 GMT +317 July 2019
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    From left, National Security Adviser John Bolton, accompanied by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and President Donald Trump

    New US Deployments to Persian Gulf Aim to ‘Buck Up the American Public’, Not Security

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    The Pentagon’s announcement Monday that it would send an additional 1,000 troops to the Middle East is a “show of force” by the Trump administration amid tensions with Iran, Ann Wright, a former US Army colonel and US State Department official in Afghanistan who resigned in protest of the invasion of Iraq, told Sputnik.

    “I think the symbolism [of the deployment of 1,000 US troops is] more for the US public. I think the Trump administration feels like it needs to do something to buck up its horrific sanctions against Iran, to buck up the American public” who don’t understand why US President Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal, Wright told Loud & Clear hosts John Kiriakou and Brian Becker. She added that “1,000 troops really means nothing in the equation of how the US military really does things. In fact, it may just be a normal rotation of US military we have in the region.” 

    In a statement Monday, then-acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said the US Defense Department is deploying 1,000 more US troops to the Middle East for “defensive purposes,” just a few days after the Trump administration blamed Iran for attacks on tankers in the Gulf of Oman. "The recent Iranian attacks validate the reliable, credible intelligence we have received on hostile behavior by Iranian forces and their proxy groups that threaten United States personnel and interests across the region," Shanahan said. 

    “The Iranians are feeling the pressure of these horrific ‘maximum pressure’ tactics the Trump administration is [taking],” Wright noted. “The sanctions [are] shadow boxing, but it is very dangerous shadow boxing that could turn extremely dangerous at any moment,” Wright added.

    Tensions between Iran and the US have been high since Washington withdrew from the JCPOA last year. Since then, the Trump administration has imposed economic sanctions against the country, threatening to reduce Iranian crude oil exports "to zero.” Last month, Washington also ordered the deployment of an additional 1,500 troops, a regiment of B-52 bombers and one of its aircraft carrier strike groups to the region.

    Last week, the “Front Altair” oil tanker, owned by Norwegian company Frontline, and the chemical tanker “Kokuka Courageous,” owned by Japanese company Kokuka Sangyo, were attacked near the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow stretch of water between the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman, and one of the most important passageways for world oil supplies. 

    The US has also previously accused Iran of attacking tankers located off the coast of the Emirati port of Fujairah last month. On May 12, four oil tankers — two Saudi, one Norwegian and one Emirati — were targeted by acts of sabotage in the United Arab Emirates’ exclusive economic zone in the Gulf of Oman. According to US National Security Advisor John Bolton, the four oil tankers were targeted by “naval mines almost certainly from Iran.”

    “The fact that there have been six explosions, it’s very interesting,” Wright explained.

    “Who put the mines on there? That’s another question. Other interests in the area that definitely want the US to take Iran on miitarily [are] primarily Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. All of them are capable of doing nefarious things … other than the Brits, none of the European countries have come forward to say, ‘We believe US intelligence [that Iran is behind the attacks].’ I think behind the scenes there is a lot of questioning,” Wright explained, also noting that many countries in the Middle East, including Iraq and Syria, “don’t agree at all with what the US is doing” because they have been the “victims of US military operations.”

    “The potential for things to happen in countries other than Iran over this is very, very worrisome. And for the Trump administration to be so war-mongering again in this era of the world is something that we all need to be watchful for, for sure, and push back against,” Wright said. 

    However, according to Wright, it is unlikely that the US will go to war against Iran.

    “The Pentagon certainly knows that they are up against a country of 80 million people. They are up against a country whose military is very, very accomplished. They’ve been at war as long as the US has. They have military systems, weapons systems, missiles systems that they have developed themselves. It’s a military to be reckoned with, and I don’t think our US military attack people that have the capability to attack us back,” Wright said. “I think they are in a corner … the US military is desperately pushing back from the politics Bolton and Mike Pompeo to get the ear of President Trump to say, ‘This would be a real disaster for our country and for you [Trump] politically.’”

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    John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, Donald Trump, war, military, Iran, United States
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