Top Military Commander In Middle East Issues Gravest Caution Yet On Iran

Marine General Frank McKenzie, the top commander for US military forces in the Middle East, cautioned that an attack from Iran could happen any day.

“I think the threat is imminent,” Marine Gen. McKenzie told NBC News. “We continually evaluate our force posture in the region.”

The military commander said despite President Trump’s decision to send over an aircraft carrier strike group and Air Force bombers into the region, Iran’s threat has not yielded.

“I would say the threat has probably evolved in certain ways even as our defensive posture has changed and become more aggressive,” the commander added.

The Washington Examiner adds:

Citing potential threats from Iran and its proxies, the military deployed the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the Middle East region last month. The increased military presence comes at the same time the U.S. continues to exert a “maximum pressure” campaign against the regime, targeting its financial industry.

McKenzie said that despite the increased military presence, the threat has not diminished.

“I don’t actually believe the threat has diminished,” McKenzie said. “I believe the threat is still very real.”

“They probe for weakness all the times,” Marine Gen. McKenzie said via NBC News. “I would say the threat has probably evolved in certain ways even as our defensive posture has changed and become more aggressive, and we certainly thank our Iraqi partners for many of the things they’ve done.”

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“I think we’re still in the period of what I would call a tactical warning,” he added. “The threat is very real.”

Here’s more from NBC News:

McKenzie declined to go into specifics on the nature of the threats.

A day after the U.S. announced it was sending additional military assets to the region to “send a clear and unmistakable message” to Iran, four oil attackers were attacked in the Persian Gulf. The U.S. suspects Iran was responsible for the attacks; the Iranian government has denied having any role in the incident.

Last month, U.S. officials said that the decision to beef up military forces in the region was based in part on intelligence that the Iranian regime has told some of its proxy forces that they can now target American military personnel and assets.

The intelligence shows that an Iranian official discussed activating Iranian-backed groups to target Americans, but did not mention targeting the militaries of other nations, the officials said.

Among the specific threats the U.S. military is now tracking, officials say, are possible missile attacks by Iranian dhows, or small ships, in the Persian Gulf and region; attacks in Iraq by Iranian-trained Shiite militia groups; and attacks against U.S. ships and against Saudi Arabia by the Houthi rebels in Yemen.



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