US military strategy tested as Iran-Israel warfare comes out of shadows

US military strategy tested as Iran-Israel warfare comes out of shadows - UTV Pakistan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The US military’s success helping Israel stop a massive wave of Iranian missiles and drones last weekend might suggest Washington is well prepared militarily for whatever comes next as Iran and Israel move from shadow warfare to direct confrontation.

But current and former US officials say US forces are not positioned for a major, sustained Middle East conflict and the Pentagon may have to revisit assumptions about military needs in the region if the crisis deepens.

“I don’t think we have all the forces that we would want to support Israel if there was a direct war between them and Iran,” said Michael Mulroy, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Middle East under the Trump administration.

Though Tehran has indicated it had no plans to retaliate for an apparent Israeli strike on Friday, the tit-for-tat attacks have raised fears of an unpredictable regional war that the United States has sought to prevent.

In the months since an attack by Hamas militants on Israel triggered a war in Gaza that has ignited unrest throughout the Middle East, the United States has rushed thousands of US service members to a region that had seen a steadily declining US presence over years.

But many of those new US troops are on warships and aircraft that move in and out of the region, and are only temporarily deployed.

That US strategy to rely on surge forces could be tested now Iran and Israel have broken the taboo of open military strikes against each other.

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“What it means for the US military is that I think we have to revisit this idea of what are the necessary, sustainable (military) capabilities that we have to maintain in the region,” said Joseph Votel, a retired four star Army general who led US troops in the Middle East.

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