British Commander Contradicts US Central Command on Iran Tensions

U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. William F. Thetford, U.S. Central Command senior enlisted leader, presents coins to soldiers during a training exercise in Iraq, Jan. 16, 2019. The 3rd Cav. Regt. is deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, working by, with and through the Iraqi Security Forces and Coalition partners to defeat ISIS in areas of Iraq and Syria. ( US Army photo by SGT Franklin Moore)

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A British commander in charge of anti-ISIS forces rejected White House claims of an increased threat coming from Iran.

ZeroHedge reported on the awkward exchange that took place during a Pentagon press conference on Tuesday May 15, 2019, where British Army Major General Christopher Ghika, one of the leaders of the anti-ISIS coalition, claimed that “there’s been no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and Syria.

The commander added, “We’re aware of that presence, clearly. And we monitor them along with a whole range of others because that’s the environment we’re in. We are monitoring the Shia militia groups. I think you’re referring to carefully and if the threat level seems to go up then we’ll raise our force protection measures accordingly.”

US Central Command (CENTCOM) swiftly rebuked Ghika’s comments as inaccurate, and emphasized that coalition troops in Iraq and Syria were put on a “high level of alert” due to the “Iran threat.”

In a statement, CENTCOM said, “Recent comments from OIR’s deputy commander run counter to the identified credible threats available to intelligence from US and allies regarding Iranian-backed forces in the region.”

CENTCOM stated:

US Central Command, in coordination with OIR, has increased the force posture level for all service members assigned to OIR in Iraq and Syria. As a result, OIR is now at a high level of alert as we continue to closely monitor credible and possibly imminent threats to US forces in Iraq.

The Guardian, which has favored intervention in the Middle East, expressed surprise with the hawkish direction Trump’s administration has taken:

The remarkable comments heightened concerns that fabricated or exaggerated intelligence may be being used by administration hawks led by the national security adviser, John Bolton, to further the case for war against Iran, in a manner reminiscent of the buildup to the Iraq invasion.

This rising escalation comes after national security adviser John Bolton announced on Sunday, April 12, 2019 that an aircraft carrier strike group would be deployed to the Persian Gulf region.

This military build-up is allegedly the result of intelligence suggesting that Iran and its regional proxy forces being a threat to American interests in Iraq, Syria, and the Persian Gulf.

The past month has worried many of Trump’s America First base who believe he is kowtowing to defense interests and being bamboozled by neoconservatives in his administration.

From Iran to Venezuela, neocons want to derail Trump’s America First agenda by getting the U.S. involved in another foreign policy quagmire.

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