The Pentagon has initiated no special troop or equipment moves in preparation for possible U.S. military operations in Iran or Syria, a senior Defense Department official tells DOTMIL.
Amid the daily escalations in both sensitive situations, Defense Department officials say it is business as usual for the military. A senior Defense Department official told DOTMIL "no out-of-the-ordinary movements of U.S. military assets have been made with respect to developments in Syria or Iran."
Ongoing bloody clashes between the Syrian regime and opposition fighters have brought calls from U.S. lawmakers and humanitarian groups for American military intervention to quell the violence. So far, however, the Obama administration is reportedly drawing up military options but not seriously preparing for a Syria mission.
Iran, Israel and the United States continue to rattle sabres, as well as to threaten economic measures against one another and key allies, over Tehran's alleged pursuit of nuclear weapons.
The steady escalation of tensions between Iran and the Israeli-U.S. alliance will take another step forward Thursday when a group of Republican and Democratic senators roll out a measure that, if passed, would put the entire chamber on record as opposing any policy aimed at containing a nuclear-armed Iran.
Containment was the strategy Washington employed against the then-Soviet Union during the Cold War. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told a Senate panel on Tuesday that the Obama administration "will not tolerate" a nuclear-armed Iran, stressing Washington must "do everything we can to prevent" that.
Panetta rejected the notion that the U.S. should opt against preventing Iran from fielding the bomb and then enact a containment strategy. The defense secretary was clear he feels the U.S. must "prevent" Tehran from developing a nuclear arsenal.
The defense chief, however, tempered his comments by endorsing the administration's sanctions-based effort that it has pursued through international organizations to "pressure" Iran into halting its alleged nuclear weapons program.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday that the administration views Iran's sometimes erratic behavior and contradictory statements as "designed to distract attention from the demonstrated impact that the sanctions are having, the demonstrated impact that the isolation of Iran is having."
"We are very confident that the sanctions have put enormous pressure on the Iranian economy and on the Iranian regime," Carney said.