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Trump doubts U.S. needs to send more troops to Middle East



U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters on a range of issues during an event devoted to "America's farmers and ranchers" in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., May 23, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria



President Donald Trump said on Thursday he did not think additional U.S. troops are needed in the Middle East to counter Iran, casting doubt on a Pentagon plan to bolster forces in the region.


“I don’t think we’re going to need them. I really don’t,” Trump told reporters. “I would certainly send troops if we need them.” If needed, “we’ll be there in whatever number we need,” he added.


Trump, who has been focused on trying to reduce the number of U.S. troops deployed around the world, spoke shortly before he was to be briefed at the White House on a new deployment plan by acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan.


Shanahan said the Pentagon was considering sending additional U.S. troops to the Middle East as one of the ways to bolster protection for American forces there amid tensions with Iran.


“What we’re looking at is: Are there things that we can do to enhance force protection in the Middle East?” Shanahan said.


“It may involve sending additional troops.”



Reuters

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