According to The Wall Street Journal, US intelligence has found out that Iran has plans to target US forces in Iraq and possibly in Syria, while it is also going to stage attacks in Ba-el-Mandeb strait near Yemen through its proxies and in the Persian Gulf with its own armed drones. Iran reportedly may seek to attack US forces in Kuwait as well.
Iranian threat may be coming both from land and water, US officials told The Wall Street Journal, adding that they are surprised with the specificity of the Iranian plans to target US forces.
However, it remains unclear if these plans are unavoidable, or Iranian moves depend on the further development of the US-Iranian relations.
Between 5,000 and 7,000 US forces are operating in Iraq, while over 1,000 are operating in Syria and even more in Kuwait, sources added.
They said that the administration of US President Donald Trump could position Patriot missile systems to the Middle East later.
US National Security Adviser John Bolton said on Sunday that the United States was deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force near Iran, to the US Central Command (CENTCOM) region, as "a clear and unmistakable message" to Tehran that Washington would respond to possible attacks. Media reports emerged on Monday that it was Israel who had briefed the United States about alleged Iranian plan to attack US targets or allies in the Gulf region.
Washington's decision to boost its military presence in the Middle East comes amid growing tensions between Iran and the United States, which were sparked by the US decision to withdraw from the Iranian nuclear deal, to reimpose Iran sanctions and to make all countries cut their Iranian oil imports to zero.
In addition, the United States officially designated in April Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guard Corps, a branch of the Iranian Armed Forces, as a terrorist group. In response, Tehran promptly placed the CENTCOM under the same designation.