US military in Iraq – Combined Joint Task Force – Oper
Washington argues that “the risk of not acting was greater than that of doing so”
The US Department of Defense has announced that it will send more troops to the Middle East, specifically to Kuwait, after the attack on Friday against Iranian General Qasem Soleimani.
“As already indicated, the Immediate Response Force (IRF) of the 82nd Airborne Division had been put on alert for a possible deployment and is going to be deployed,” a Pentagon spokesperson announced, according to CNN.
The spokesman has stressed that this deployment was a firm possibility once the IRF had been put on alert. Part of the troop was concentrated in one of the so-called “areas of responsibility”, while the rest was ready to deploy in 96 hours.
US troops will be deployed in Kuwait, “as an appropriate and preventive action in response to rising levels of threat against US personnel and facilities, and will help reorganize the reservation,” the spokesman said.
Pentagon sources had advanced to CNN and NBC that the Department of Defense was analyzing the possibility of sending more troops to the Middle East. Specifically, they had advanced that it would deploy to the entire IRF, which totals about 3,000 troops.
The United States has already sent 750 members of this military unit after the riots that erupted in front of the Embassy in Baghdad after Washington killed 25 militiamen in a series of air strikes on Sunday against weapons deposits in Iraq and Syria that belonged to the Kataib Hezbollah militia.
In the early hours of this Friday, the United States has made a new attack, this time against Baghdad airport, with Soleimani as its objective. The 'number two' of the Iraqi militia Popular Mobilization Forces, Abu Mahdi al Muhandis, and a dozen other people have also died.
Soleimani was a fundamental figure to understand the presence of Iran in the main conflicts of the region and as the executing arm of the policy of the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic, Ali Khamenei. Ayatollah has recognized that it is a “bitter loss” for Tehran and has promised “revenge.”
The chief of the General Staff of the United States Armed Forces, General Mark Milley, defended this Friday in an appearance the attack against Soleimani, ensuring that “the risk of not acting was greater than the risk of doing so.”
Milley has claimed that US forces had “compelling” intelligence information that indicated that Soleimani was planning a “significant campaign of violence” against the United States in the coming days.
Questioned by the press about the evidence of this “campaign of violence”, he has refused to mention any, although he has assured that various threats against the United States had emerged and not all related to the attacks in Syria and Iraq, underlining that they were imminent.
“We fully understand the risks and consequences” of killing Soleimani, he said. “The risk of not acting was greater than that of doing so,” he said, claiming that limiting himself to being alert would have been “negligent.”
In addition, he has warned that there are still possible attacks against the United States. Therefore, he has reported that US troops deployed at a base in Italy have been notified to be prepared to travel to Lebanon in order to protect the Embassy in Beirut.
Lebanon, plunged into its own crisis by the protests that began in October over the introduction of a fee on the WhatsApp service, has asked this Friday to be kept “on the sidelines” of the possible repercussions of the death of Soleimani.
White House sources consulted by CNN have revealed that the Donald Trump Administration will announce new measures against Iran's allies. Specifically, they have anticipated sanctions against Asaib Ahl al Haq or the Jazali Network, a Shiite militia linked to the Islamic Republic, and their leaders.