NYT: Pentagon presented plan to deploy 120,000 troops in case of Iran escalation

Photo: Oliver Contreras/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

At the direction of national security adviser John Bolton, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan last week presented top White House national security officials with a plan to send up to 120,000 troops to the Middle East in the event that Iran "attack American forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons," the New York Times reports.

Details: The plan was reportedly presented during a meeting about the Trump administration's broader Iran policy, attended — among others — by Bolton, CIA director Gina Haspel, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats. It's unclear if President Trump has been briefed on the details of the plan, which did not call for a land invasion of Iran, but requested a similar number of troops involved the U.S.' 2003 invasion of Iraq, per the Times.

The big picture: Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have been warning of an unspecified "escalating threat" from Iran in recent weeks, after receiving intelligence from Israel about a possible Iranian plot to attack U.S. interests in the region. Trump told reporters today that he’d been “hearing little stories about Iran,” adding: “If they do anything, they will suffer greatly.”

  • Saudi Arabia on Monday announced that two Saudi tankers were damaged by an "act of sabotage" over the weekend in the Gulf, without identifying any suspects. Iran’s foreign ministry distanced itself, calling the incident “worrisome” and “regretful."
  • Later on Monday, AP and other media outlets cited an anonymous U.S. official as saying an "initial assessment is that Iranian or Iranian-backed proxies" were responsible.

Additional Stories

Saudi oil sites hit by drone strikes: U.S. blames Iran

Smoke billowing from an Aramco oil facility following the Houthi attacks. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran for drone attacks that targeted the world's largest oil processing facility at Abqaiq and a major oilfield at Khurais in Saudi Arabia early Saturday.

Details: Saudi Aramco said the strikes cut crude oil output by 5.7m barrels a day. Saudi Arabia's energy minister said that was about half of the country's oil production — roughly 5% of the world's daily crude oil output, per the Wall Street Journal. Yemen's Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the attacks, AP reports. But Pompeo said "there is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen."

Dorian's devastation in Bahamas: What you need to know

A woman walks on the beach as a storm approaches in Nassau, Bahamas. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

Bahamas government data shows 1,300 people are listed as missing in the islands 2 weeks after Hurricane Dorian devastated the region, as the archipelago's northwest region was lashed by rain from another tropical storm Saturday.

The latest: Tropical Storm Humberto dumped 1 to 3 inches of rain, with pockets of 6-inch rain to parts, as it gained strength and moved north-northwest away from the Bahamas, packing winds of 60 mph, the National Hurricane Center said at 11 p.m. ET. Dorian's death toll remained at 50 but the number of people missing meant it would significantly rise, Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said in a national address.

Ebola death toll in the DRC nears 2,000

A sign on the border to Rwanda indicates protective measures against the Ebola virus disease, in the Goma city of the DRC. Photo: Kay Nietfeld/picture alliance via Getty Images

At least 1,974 people have died in the Democratic Republic of the Congo from an Ebola virus outbreak that has lasted just over 1 year, according to an update on Friday from the DRC Ministry of Health.

What's new: There are 111 probable deaths in addition to those that have been confirmed, per the DRC Ministry of Health. The World Health Organization (WHO) puts the death toll at 2,074 in its latest update. The DRC's former Minister of Health Oly Ilunga was taken into custody again on Saturday to ensure that he does not avoid legal proceedings for his misdemeanor offenses involving mishandling Ebola funds, the AP reports.

Read more at Axios
© Copyright Axios 2019