The Pentagon has ordered another 60,000 US troops to be deployed in the Gulf region in an intensified military buildup for a possible war with Iraq, officials said Tuesday.
US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld signed orders over the weekend for the deployment of about 26,000 troops from the 1st Armored Division, two brigades from Germany, one brigade from FortRiley, Kansas, and 17,000 from the 1st Cavalry Division at Ft. Hood in Texas, local media reports said.
About 7,000 reservists have already been called to active duty,and 10,000 from the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment at Fort Polk, Louisiana, also received deployment orders, the reports said.
They would join more than 250,000 US and British troops alreadyin the region along with dozens of warships and hundreds of strikeaircraft for a possible military campaign against Iraq.
The United States already has five aircraft carriers in the Gulf and Mediterranean within striking distance of Iraq. A sixth carrier, the nuclear-powered USS Nimitz, left its base in San Diego, to the Gulf region on Monday.
The Pentagon has also ordered the deployment of B-2 stealth bombers to overseas bases closer to Iraq and heavy US B-52 bombersbegan arriving in Britain in recent days.
Meanwhile, the 4th Infantry Division based at Fort Hood, Texas,which has already received deployment orders, is awaiting final word to join the build-up, pending the Turkish parliament's approval of US forces on their territory.
Turkey's parliament Saturday rejected a government motion allowing 62,000 US troops in Turkey to launch a "northern front" against Iraq. Officials in Turkey's ruling party said Monday the government might seek a second vote.