World: Citing threats, US builds case — and military force — for confronting Iran - PressFrom - US
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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

Trump officials’ military threats divide Senate GOP

Trump officials’ military threats divide Senate GOP Some Republicans want Congress to vote on any new interventions abroad.

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

WASHINGTON — The incoming national security adviser has called for the “swift takeover” of North Korea by the South. He and the newly nominated secretary of state have urged withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran .

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

US B-52 bombers land in Qatar over unspecified Iran threat The B-52 bombers ordered by the White House to deploy to the Persian Gulf to counter unspecified threats from Iran are beginning to arrive at a major American air base in Qatar. 

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the United States is building alliances with certain countries in the Middle East in order to confront a wide range of threats Iran is presenting. Tillerson made the remarks in an opinion piece published in The New York Times on Thursday where he defended the

US officials have said there was clear evidence that Iran was building up its proxy forces ’ combat readiness and preparing them to attack US forces The general stressed that the coalition’s mission was exclusively focused on defeating the remains of Isis and not on confronting Iran , but he added

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.

Air Force sends message to Iran by releasing images of Bomber Task Force mission

Air Force sends message to Iran by releasing images of Bomber Task Force mission A U.S. bomber group is broadcasting its first apparent message to Iran after the Air Force sent it to the Middle East “to defend American forces and interests in the region.” Images released by the U.S. Air Force Central Command show a nuclear-capable B-52H Stratofortress bomber taking off from a base Sunday in Qatar. The mission comes days after the Pentagon released a video showing the planes departing an Air Force base in Louisiana. “This was the first mission of the Bomber Task Force deployed to U.S. Central Command area of responsibility in order to defend American forces and interests in the region,” it said.

That the threats from North Korea and Iran grew in the post–Iraq war era has further complicated the question of how best to counteract them; Americans are rightly skeptical of the costs of a protracted military commitment in the name of protection from weapons of mass destruction.

Iran 's military , which is equipped with relatively modern sophisticated US -made military equipment delivered before 1979, has been described as the Middle Simultaneously, the Iranian armed forces had to learn to maintain and keep operational, their large stocks of US - built equipment and weaponry

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.

The US military and its allies in the region can't get their story straight on the Iran threat

The US military and its allies in the region can't get their story straight on the Iran threat Hours after a general said the threat from Iranian-backed militias in Iraq and Syria hadn't risen, US Central Command issued an unusual rebuke.

ISIS poses a “direct and significant threat to us ” and must be defeated using all necessary means. The American people support military action against ISIS This use of force authorization is further limited by the law of armed conflict and the rules contained therein.[19] It contains a further restriction in that

of US citizens supported a USA attack on Iran at the time of taking the poll between June 2006 and early February 2007; a CNN poll on January They note "When it comes to Iran , far more Americans endorse diplomatic rather than military solutions to deal with the nuclear threat majorities generally

“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.

German, Dutch military suspend training operations in Iraq amid US-Iran tensions

German, Dutch military suspend training operations in Iraq amid US-Iran tensions Germany and the Netherlands said on Wednesday they were suspending military training operations in Iraq as the United States warned of increased threats from Iran-backed forces amid an escalation of tensions between Washington and Tehran. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); A German defense ministry spokesman said Berlin had no indications of its own of any impending attacks on Western interests by Iran and said the training programs could resume in the coming days.

The US forces in Syria have bombed a militia group fighting alongside the Syrian government forces in southern Syria on Thursday, the US -led coalition has confirmed. According to Al-Masdar News citing the Syrian military , the coalition warplane entered Syrian airspace from the Jordanian border.

Confronting the Cyber Threat . Foreign governments, non-state actors, and criminal networks are targeting the digital networks of the United States with increasing frequency and sophistication. U . S . cybersecurity has made progress, but relies heavily on the private sector to secure infrastructure

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.

Key events raising tensions in the Persian Gulf

Key events raising tensions in the Persian Gulf Tensions between the United States and Iran have soared in recent weeks, with Washington dispatching warships and bombers to the Persian Gulf, and Tehran threatening to resume higher uranium enrichment. The tensions come a year after President Donald Trump withdrew from Iran's 2015 nuclear accord with world powers and restored crippling sanctions. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.

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.

Tensions between Iran and the United States have intensified since Trump pulled out of a 2015 international deal to curb Iran ’s nuclear activities and imposed increasingly strict sanctions on Tehran. Trump wants to force Tehran to agree to a broader arms control accord and has sent an aircraft

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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Read More

Graham warns of 'overwhelming military response' if Iran harms American interests.
Democrats have voiced fears that Trump could slide into war with Iran, while Republicans express concerns about Iran's actions. The New York Times reported last week that acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan presented President Donald Trump’s national security team with a plan to deploy as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East in response to U.S. intelligence that suggested Iran might be planning attacks on American people and facilities in the region.

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