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In the latest move, the U.S. ordered an evacuation of all non-essential and non-emergency staff in Iraq, including the U.S. embassy in Baghdad and consulate in Erbil.
The move follows last week’s decision to send the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier and several B-52 bombers to the Persian Gulf region. Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan reportedly presented a plan to President Trump that could send as many as 120,000 troops to the region.
Former Senior Adviser to Trump Christian Whiton claims that while the president believes there’s an “elevated threat” in the region, he is “not seriously considering” sending that many troops just yet.
“The idea of a ground war, another Iraq-style operation, in the Middle East, I think that’s farthest from the mind of this administration,” he said on FOX Business’ “Kennedy” Wednesday/ “If push does come to shove, we’ll play to our strengths, we’ll use stand-off power … but even that is not priority number one.”
As for the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln’s presence, Whiton said the move was “more than just a show." He also noted that it was a fairly “modest show of force, but it’s something Iran should understand.”
Whiton alleged that Iran has “pushed against an open door throughout much of the history of the last forty years” since the Islamic Revolution of 1979.
Ultimately, Whiton stressed that Trump is likely seeking a diplomatic solution with the Iranian regime. He pointed to the president's tweet on Wednesday, which said that the show of force will cause Iran to “want to talk soon.”