Trump ‘Abruptly’ Overruled Pentagon Chief On Carrier Pullout From Middle East
Late last week we noted there was a hopeful sign of potential US de-escalation in the Persian Gulf given the Pentagon announced it was bringing its only supercarrier for the Mideast and Persian Gulf region home.
Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller ordered the USS Nimitz to return to its US West Coast base at the time, but we also noted there was a split within Trump administration and Pentagon ranks over whether Iran constitutes a severe threat to US troops and interests in the region, particularly neighboring Iraq.
But as of late Sunday the Pentagon reversed course, with Miller issuing a new directive: “Due to the recent threats issued by Iranian leaders against President Trump and other U.S. government officials, I have ordered the USS Nimitz to halt its routine redeployment,” he said. A new report in Politico says that President Trump personally intervened in the decision, with the commander-in-chief ordering the Pentagon the reposition the Nimitz in its Middle East zone of operation.
According to the bombshell Politico report published Monday afternoon:
President Donald Trump was behind the abrupt decision announced on Sunday night to reverse course and keep the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz in the Middle East due to Iranian threats against top U.S. officials, according to two people familiar with conversations.
The move was the latest in a string of reversals that befuddled observers and sent mixed signals to Iran.
A number of things have happened since all of this: Iran has begun enriching uranium to 20%, Israel has threatened to act in preventing the achievement of nuclear weapons capability, the IRGC Navy has seized a South Korean-flagged tanker in the gulf, and Iran’s military announced plans to conduct a “major drone exercise” in the region scheduled for Tuesday.
It appears Trump wants to keep a close eye on things, with the Nimitz supercarrier nearby just in case. It’s also emerging that pulling the carrier out was a deeply controversial move objected to by many top commanders in the first place. Politico explains:
Miller made the move over the objections of top commanders, a development first reported by The New York Times and confirmed by a defense official.
Officials said Miller made the decision to send the carrier home as a “de-escalation” tactic as tensions with Tehran continued to simmer. But the ship was also scheduled to return around that time for routine maintenance anyway, and the Navy had pushed for the departure, officials said.
After public threats from Iranian leaders over the weekend, Trump abruptly ordered Miller to turn the carrier around and keep it in the Middle East, according to two U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.
We described over the weekend that a Soleimani commemoration speech given earlier by President Hassan Rouhani was taken as a direct threat against Trump by some US media.
Particularly The Washington Times in a headline claimed it constituted a direct assassination or death threat against the US president.
Cowardice in assassinating foreign leaders is a US-Israeli trademark; NOT Iranian.@WashTimes should know better than to publish #FakeNews & spread anti-Iran bigotry -even though it has featured PAID content by the outlaw MeK terrorist cult.
Your readers deserve better! https://t.co/f8OrGEu4cm pic.twitter.com/FxuYqbp2IE
— Saeed Khatibzadeh (@SKhatibzadeh) January 1, 2021
Iran’s leaders and media subsequently called it out as a complete mistranslation which seemed intentioned to mislead.
Rouhani’s words wherein he described of Trump and the presidential transition, “…he will be overthrown in the next few weeks, not just from office but from [political] life” (according to Iranian official media’s translation of the controversial words) — seem to be the “threats” Miller is referencing the latest statement reversing the Nimitz decision.
Mon, 01/04/2021 – 17:20