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WorldCiting threats, US builds case — and military force — for confronting Iran

04:15  16 may  2019
04:15  16 may  2019 Source:   latimes.com

US rushes ships to Middle East over unspecified Iran threats

US rushes ships to Middle East over unspecified Iran threats The U.S. is rushing an aircraft carrier and other military resources to the Middle East after seeing Iranian troops and proxy forces making preparations for attacks against U.S. forces and interests in the region, a defense official told The Associated Press. At the White House, National Security Adviser John Bolton said Sunday night that the U.S. was deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the U.S. Central Command region, an area that includes the Middle East.

The State Department ordered several hundred U . S . diplomatic personnel to leave Iraq on Wednesday, citing heightened threats from neighboring Iran You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience. Citing threats , US builds case — and military

Iran military tested out a new submarine launch missile to send a message to the us military , Obama and the Israeli defense force . "The new weapon will have a very decisive role in adding our naval power in confronting threats , particular by the Great Satan, the US ," Admiral Ali Fadavi, Iran ’s navy.

Citing threats, US builds case — and military force — for confronting Iran© MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images North America/TNS US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (C) walks with Acting Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs at the State Department David Satterfield (L), and Charge D'affaires at the US Embassy in Baghdad Joey Hood (2nd L) and Lt General Paul LeCamera (R) upon arrival in Baghdad for meetings on May 7, 2019. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images/TNS) *FOR USE WITH THIS STORY ONLY*

WASHINGTON — The State Department ordered several hundred U.S. diplomatic personnel to leave Iraq on Wednesday, citing heightened threats from neighboring Iran amid a buildup of U.S. military forces in the volatile region and growing concerns of a potential conflict with Tehran.

US B-52 bombers land in Qatar over unspecified Iran threat

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The State Department ordered several hundred U . S . diplomatic personnel to leave Iraq on Wednesday, citing heightened threats from neighboring Iran amid a buildup of U . S . military forces in the volatile region and growing concerns of a potential conflict with Tehran. The uptick in tensions came nearly

WASHINGTON — The State Department ordered several hundred U . S . diplomatic personnel to leave Iraq on Wednesday, citing heightened threats from neighboring Iran amid a buildup of U . S . military forces in the volatile region and growing concerns of a potential conflict with Tehran.

The uptick in tensions came nearly two weeks after the White House warned of what it described as potential targeting of U.S. forces, allies and interests by Iranian security forces or their proxies. It provided no details and some military allies and senior members of Congress questioned the administration’s assessments.

So far this month, the Pentagon has sent the Abraham Lincoln carrier task force and Air Force B-52 bombers to the region and dusted off contingency war plans, the Treasury Department has increased sanctions on Iran’s economy, and Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo made a sudden trip to Baghdad to consult with U.S. and Iraqi officials.

Iran may attack Israel if U.S. standoff escalates: Israeli minister

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► US 'blames Iran ' for damage to tankers in Gulf of Oman. The State Department ordered nonessential personnel to leave the country from the U . S . Embassy Allied doubts were evident Tuesday when a senior British military officer, speaking to Pentagon reporters via a teleconference in Baghdad

Three U . S . military officials tell TIME that no actual, executable plan exists for a large-scale The Trump Administration is turning up the heat on Iran , broadcasting a new plan to send as many as And three U . S . military officials involved in planning and overseeing military forces in the region tell

Few allies embraced the aggressive U.S. moves and several warned of an accidental clash in Iraq, where U.S. military forces and Iranian-backed militias operate in close proximity, or in the Persian Gulf, where Iranian and U.S. ships sometimes sail at close quarters.

Iran’s leaders sought to ease concerns, saying the Trump administration’s actions and rhetoric were psychological warfare intended to rattle the regime as it pushed back against growing U.S. pressure.

“Neither they, nor we, want war,” Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Iranian TV at an iftar dinner breaking the Ramadan fast in Tehran late Tuesday.

Trump expressed optimism about his efforts to force Iran back to the negotiating table a year after he unilaterally withdrew from the 2015 nuclear disarmament deal and began re-imposing U.S. sanctions on Iran’s oil, metals, banking and other core sectors of the economy.

U.S. warns on possible 'imminent threats' to U.S. forces in Iraq

U.S. warns on possible 'imminent threats' to U.S. forces in Iraq The U.S. military said on Tuesday that there were possible imminent threats to U.S. troops in Iraq, who were now at a high level of alert, and underscored concerns about Iranian-backed forces in the region. "(The U.S. mission) is now at a high level of alert as we continue to closely monitor credible and possibly imminent threats to U.S. forces in Iraq," said Navy Captain Bill Urban, a spokesman at the U.S. military's Central Command, as he sought to clarify contradictory remarks by a British commander earlier on Tuesday.

The Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), Pub. L. 107-40, codified at 115 Stat. 224 and passed as S.J.Res. 23 by the United States Congress on September 14, 2001, authorizes the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the attacks on September 11

Elaborating on US approach to increase military presence in Afghanistan instead of regional cooperation to address security challenges in the country, he said “This was a marriage made in hell. US military power hooked up with the richest Arab country and ‎biggest buyer of American weapons.

“I’m sure that Iran will want to talk soon,” he tweeted Wednesday.

Iran has shown no sign of bending, and has appealed for support from other signatories to the nuclear deal to allow it to continue exporting oil, a crucial source of foreign revenue, after the Trump administration threatened to impose sanctions on countries or companies that import Iranian oil.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani last week said Tehran would stop complying with parts of the 2015 nuclear deal by stockpiling low-enriched uranium, rather than shipping the surplus out of the country, but the moves did not put Iran on the path to a nuclear weapon.

The State Department ordered nonessential personnel to leave the country from the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad and a U.S. Consulate in Irbil in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq. The order affected about 30% of the staff, or several hundred people in all. U.S. diplomats are not allowed to bring families to Iraq because of security concerns.

Germany and the Netherlands put out statements saying their embassies remained open, although both temporarily suspended military training programs in Iraq.

Pelosi warns Trump against war in Mideast; Dems demand info

Pelosi warns Trump against war in Mideast; Dems demand info House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday that the U.S. must avoid war with Iran, and she declared the White House has "no business" moving toward a Middle East confrontation without approval from Congress.Pelosi's

Pompeo met with European counterparts in Brussels on Monday in an effort to rally more support for what the White House calls its “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran.

Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s foreign affairs official, instead urged “maximum restraint” and British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he worried the two countries would stumble accidentally into all-out war.

“We fundamentally do not seek a war with Iran,” Pompeo said later. “If American interests are attacked, we will most certainly respond in an appropriate fashion.”

Allied doubts were evident Tuesday when a senior British military officer, speaking to Pentagon reporters via a teleconference in Baghdad, seemed to contradict the U.S. warnings.

“There are a substantial number of militia groups in Iraq and Syria, and we don’t see any increased threat from any of them at this stage,” Maj. Gen. Chris Ghika, deputy commander of the Iraq-based coalition fighting the Islamic State militant group, told reporters.

The Pentagon quickly put out a statement saying Ghika’s remarks “run counter to identifiable credible threats.”

On Wednesday, the British Ministry of Defense sought to paper over the dispute by noting that Ghika spoke only of the area where he operates, Iraq and Syria.

Iran dismisses possibility of conflict, says does not want war

Iran dismisses possibility of conflict, says does not want war Iran's top diplomat on Saturday dismissed the possibility of war erupting in the region, saying Tehran did not want a conflict and that no country had the "illusion it can confront Iran", the state news agency IRNA reported. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); Tensions between Washington and Tehran have increased in recent days, raising concerns about a potential U.S.-Iran conflict.

Though there is broad bipartisan antagonism toward Iran in Congress, several Republican lawmakers questioned whether the White House was overreacting to Iranian threats that have long existed in the region.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-N.C., usually a reliable Trump supporter, said he would demand explanations from State and Defense department officials.

“I have no idea what the threat stream is beyond what I read in the paper,” Graham told reporters Wednesday. “And I think there’re a lot of people in my shoes that are going to support standing up to Iran but we need to understand what we’re doing.”

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, who sometimes has clashed with Trump, said it was “close to inconceivable” that Trump would consider going to war with Iran.

“The president made it clear when he ran for president that one of the worst foreign policy mistakes in American history was the decision to go to war with Iraq,” Romney said.

Veteran diplomats and foreign policy experts also questioned the strategy, and the role of Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, who long advocated regime change in Tehran before he joined the White House.

“Danger signals abound,” Laura Kennedy, a veteran ambassador who served Democratic and Republican administrations, tweeted.

Richard Haass, president of the nonpartisan Council on Foreign Relations, cautioned against thinking that a U.S. war with Iran would be relatively easy, as Bolton once suggested.

“Would not be quick, easy, or confined to Iranian territory,” he tweeted. “Iran could take war to much of region and even globally with cyber, militias, etc. Oil prices would spike. And rather than weaken regime war could bolster it.”

As tensions rose this week, several Saudi oil tankers off the United Arab Emirates and pumping stations along a major pipeline in Saudi Arabia sustained damage in still-unexplained explosions.

Floating mines reportedly caused the oil tanker explosions, although the source was not clear. Saudi officials blamed the pipeline attack on drone aircraft flown by Iran-backed Houthi rebels who are fighting a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, and struck back with more than a dozen airstrikes against rebel positions in Yemen.

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(Bulos reported from Beirut. Times staff writer Molly O’Toole contributed from Washington and special correspondent Ramin Mostaghim contributed from Tehran.)

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©2019 Los Angeles Times

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