The head of U.S. Central Command said on Tuesday that the United States was in the process of bringing air defense systems into Iraq to protect American troops in case of a potential Iranian attack. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that the U.S. has begun to "draw small numbers of troops out of the Middle East."
The report quotes defense officials saying that the Pentagon had concluded the "threat of reprisal attacks from Iran or its proxies has subsided" and the additional troops added to the region are no longer necessary.
The U.S. has some 90,000 troops in the region and was preparing for more retaliation after the Jan. 2 strike that killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani at the airport in Baghdad. The report notes that Iran's military focus has moved toward combating the novel coronavirus, which is ravaging the country.
"We are also in the process of bringing air defense systems, ballistic missile defense systems, into Iraq in particular, to protect ourselves against another potential Iranian attack," U.S. Marine General Kenneth McKenzie, the head of U.S. Central Command, said during a House Armed Services Committee hearing.
Earlier this year, the Pentagon said it was trying to secure permission from Iraq to take Patriot missile defenses into the country to better defend U.S. forces after Iran’s Jan. 8 missile attack.