But the United States also sent secret messages through Swiss intermediaries urging Iran not to respond so forcefully that Mr. Trump would feel compelled to go even further. After it did respond, firing 16 missiles at bases housing American troops without hurting anyone as a relatively harmless show of force, a message came back through the Swiss saying that would be the end of its reprisal for now. The message, forwarded to Washington within five minutes after it was received, persuaded the president to stand down.
Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a meeting with reporters Friday that Soleimani was killed after U.S. officials recently became aware of intelligence that showed the “size, scale, scope” of what he was planning, which led them to conclude that there was a greater risk in not taking action than in doing so.
President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that no lives were lost after Iran fired ballistic missiles at two Iraqi bases housing U.S. and coalition forces overnight. Trump said the U.S. would add new sanctions on Iran, but seemed to seek de-escalation. Meanwhile, Trump and his advisers are facing more pressure to provide justification for the airstrike that assassinated Iranian Gen. Soleimani. Senators and congressmembers found a Wednesday intelligence briefing to be wholly insufficient.
Our own sources in Baghdad confirmed that the letter was genuine and that they too had seen it.
One source said their understanding of the US position was that a partial withdrawal or repositioning of some troops to Kuwait was taking place.
The Pentagon’s deployment of new radar, air defense and other military assets to the Gulf nation was discussed during talks Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, held with Saudi officials this week.
Milley, in his first visit to this key U.S. ally since becoming President Trump’s chief military adviser this fall, met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and other leaders during his visit.
According to Harel, Israel is afraid that the US will desert the Iran issue while America is worried Israel may carry out a unilateral attack against Tehran, forcing Washington into a war.
Harel warned that it is impossible to separate the internal Israeli chaos from the Iran issue; in particular with regards to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s indictment and his failure to form a government.
Army Gen. Mark A. Milley also discussed the need for deterrence regarding Iran. Milley spoke with military and civilian leaders in Israel, Jordan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq on this four-day trip.
„I wouldn’t discount anything from Iran,” he said. “When a nation behaves that irresponsibly, you have to be very cautious when you evaluate what they might do in the future.”
McKenzie noted that Iran increased its military spending from its recent low in 2014 to $27.3 billion, or six percent of GDP, in 2018.
The general’s trip comes as part of a series of visits by several high ranking military chiefs including the head of the US Air Force Gen. David Goldfien, USAFE (United States Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa) Commander Gen. Jeffery L. Harrigian and the Commander of US Central Command (CENTCOM) Gen. Kenneth McKenzie.
October 14, 2019
WASHINGTON–Joint Staff Spokesperson Col. DeDe S. Halfhill provided the following readout:
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley spoke with Chief of the Russian General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov by telephone today.
The two military leaders exchanged their views on issues of mutual concern in Syria.
The two leaders have agreed to keep the specific details of their conversation private.
Das Treffen wurde anlässlich der Teilnahme von Park und Yamazaki an der Vereidigungszeremonie Milleys am Montag von den USA arrangiert.
Es war das erste Treffen zwischen den Spitzenmilitärs der drei Staaten, nachdem Südkorea Ende August die Beendigung des Abkommens mit Japan über den Austausch von Militärinformationen (GSOMIA) beschlossen hatte.
President Donald J. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper and other officials watched as Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford swore in his successor.
WASHINGTON — Withdrawing American troops from Afghanistan too soon would be a “strategic mistake,” President Trump’s nominee for Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman said Thursday, clearly outlining the Pentagon’s position as the White House wrestles with whether to pull military forces and end the 18-year war.