US plans to send additional force in Gulf region after tanker attacks

Washington: Washington is expected to discuss in detail this week whether to send an additional military force of the United States to the Middle East in the wake of last week’s attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.

Quoting two US officials with direct knowledge of discussions, CNN reported that it is not clear when President Donald Trump will be briefed and when further decisions will be made.

Acting Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan hinted at the discussions on Friday.

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“When you look at the situation, a Norwegian ship, Japanese ship, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, UAE, 15 per cent of the world’s oil flows through the Strait of Hormuz, so we obviously need to make contingency plans should the situation deteriorate but we also need to broaden our support for this international situation,” he was quoted as saying.

The officials further noted that the discussions are centred on the mission of deterrence and defence against Iranian aggression and what specific forces would be needed to conduct that mission. They said that additional capabilities such as Patriot missile batteries, fighter jets and ships could contribute to greater deterrence and defence against Iranian missile firings.

Last month, the US Central Command sent initial forces to the Gulf region.

The New York Times reported that top national security officials met at the White House on Friday to discuss the tanker attacks and a proposal that the Pentagon is considering to send more military forces to the Gulf region.


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