Trump should come clean on undefined Iran threats

A U.S. aircraft carrier strike group, decades-old B-52 bombers, a Patriot missile battery and an amphibious supply ship have been deployed to the Middle East because of unspecified threats from Iran.

Given the unpredictable nature of President Donald J. Trump’s foreign policy, we believe full disclosure from the White House is demanded.

Iran isn’t some insignificant, militarily weak nation that will be intimidated by America’s show of force.

“Their billion [dollar] fleet can be destroyed with one missile,” Ayatollah Tabatabai-Nejad was quoted by Reuters news service as saying. “If they attempt any move, they will … [face] dozens of missiles because at that time [government] officials won’t be in charge to act cautiously, but instead things will be in the hands of our beloved leader.”

And Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has demonstrated a penchant for acting just as impulsively as President Trump.

Therefore, any escalation of tensions between the U.S. and Iran could result in a deadly war.

That’s why Trump, who unexpectedly began the military deployment May 5, must must come clean with the American people. BOLTON’S WARNING

National Security Adviser John Bolton announced the deployment of the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier and its strike group over “troubling and escalatory indications and warnings,” but he refused to be specific.

Bolton issued a warning to Iran that any attack on U.S. interests or allies would face “unrelenting force.”

Alongside the Lincoln are three destroyers, the USS Bainbridge, the USS Mason and the USS Nitze, as well as the guided-missile cruiser the USS Leyte Gulf and a Spanish frigate, the ESPS Mendez Nunez.

Separately, B-52s from the 20th Bomb Squadron of Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana have landed in Qatar and elsewhere in “southwest Asia” – possibly the United Arab Emirates – in recent days.

On Friday, the Pentagon announced it would be returning a Patriot missile battery to the wider Mideast, as well as sending the USS Arlington, an amphibious warship carrying U.S. Marines. The USS Kearsarge, an amphibious assault ship carrying Marines and warplanes, left the Persian Gulf and is nearby in the Arabian Sea.

Such a show of force has sent shockwaves through the Middle East and Europe. The Trump administration’s secrecy is adding to the anxiety.

The president needs to address the nation in a prime-time televised speech so the citizenry can understand why American troops are being placed in harm’s way.

The Persian Gulf already hosts a series of major American military installations.

The U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, which oversees the region, is based in Bahrain, an island nation off the coast of Saudi Arabia that is home to over 7,000 American troops. Kuwait hosts over 13,000 American troops and the U.S. Army’s Central forward headquarters. Dubai in the United Arab Emirates is the largest port of call for the U.S. Navy outside of America. The UAE hosts 5,000 U.S. military personnel, many at Abu Dhabi’s Al Dhafra Air Base, where American drones and advanced F-35 jetfighters are stationed. The forward headquarters of the U.S. military’s Central Command is at Qatar’s sprawling Al Udeid Air Base, home to some 10,000 American troops. In Oman, the sultanate allows thousands of overflights and hundreds of landings a year, while also granting access to ports and its bases.

Meanwhile, U.S. special forces personnel reportedly are on the ground in Yemen amid the Saudi-led war against the Houthi rebels. The U.S. also carries out a yearslong drone-strike campaign there targeting suspected members of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

Here’s the danger in the saber rattling aimed at Iran: The country is facing “unprecedented” pressure from international economic sanctions, and a growing number of Iranians are blaming President Trump and the U.S.

“The pressures by enemies is a war unprecedented in the history of our Islamic revolution ... but I do not despair and have great hope for the future and believe that we can move past these difficult conditions provided that we are united,” said President Hassan Rouhani.

Trump renewed U.S. economic sanctions that had been lifted before his taking office and last year unilaterally abandoned the 2015 nuclear deal that Iran signed with the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany.

The International Monetary Fund expects the Iranian economy to shrink by 6 percent in 2019.

In other words, the more desperate the people of Iran get, the greater the chances that Ayatollah Khamenei will throw caution to the wind and launch an attack against U.S. forces.

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