Trump overruled acting Defense Secretary and ordered the USS Nimitz BACK to the Middle East

Middle East

Donald Trump is said to have ordered defense officials to keep the USS Nimitz in the Middle East after the Pentagon had said it would pull the aircraft carrier out of the region. 

Acting defense secretary, Christopher C. Miller, announced its redeployment in a ‘de-escalatory’ signal to Tehran in the run-up to Sunday’s one-year anniversary of the killing of General Qassem Soleimani, officials told the New York Times Saturday. 

But the president is then said to have overturned Miller’s order, a senior defense official told CNN. Miller said Sunday that the carrier would stay in the Middle East.  

He said in a statement: ‘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.

‘The USS Nimitz will now remain on station in the U.S. Central Command area of operations. No one should doubt the resolve of the United States of America.’ 

A U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity,  told Reuters the carrier was expected to stay outside the Arabian Sea. On Monday the US Navy shared a series of pictures of the carrier helping off the coast of Somalia. 

Acting defense secretary, Christopher C. Miller, had ordered the redeployment of USS Nimitz away from the region in a 'de-escalatory' signal to Tehran

Acting defense secretary, Christopher C. Miller, had ordered the redeployment of USS Nimitz away from the region in a 'de-escalatory' signal to Tehran

Acting defense secretary, Christopher C. Miller, had ordered the redeployment of USS Nimitz away from the region in a ‘de-escalatory’ signal to Tehran

The USS Nimitz had been ordered home on January 1; by January 4 it was told to remain in the Middle East at the direction of Donald Trump

The USS Nimitz had been ordered home on January 1; by January 4 it was told to remain in the Middle East at the direction of Donald Trump

The USS Nimitz had been ordered home on January 1; by January 4 it was told to remain in the Middle East at the direction of Donald Trump 

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. Mark Milley, and the head of U.S. Central Command, Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie had objected to the move, officials told The Wall Street Journal.  

Miller, who was installed as acting Pentagon chief after Trump fired Mark Esper just days after the November 3 election, reportedly overruled McKenzie, his top military commander in the Middle East.

The general wanted to extend the deployment of the Nimitz and keep it in the region as a deterrent, according to The New York Times

The president is said to overturned Miller's order, a senior defense official told CNN

The president is said to overturned Miller's order, a senior defense official told CNN

Miller then said Sunday that the carrier would stay in the Middle East

Miller then said Sunday that the carrier would stay in the Middle East

The president, left, is said to overturned Miller’s order, a senior defense official told CNN . Miller, right, then said Sunday that the carrier would stay in the Middle East

A NATO official told Business Insider: ‘I suspect they will say there was new information or a new threat and that the Nimitz was needed to stay in the area but there will be widespread suspicions that Trump overruled the redeployment for his own political or emotional concerns.’  

U.S. concerns have been tied to the approach of the January 3 anniversary of the American airstrike that killed Iran’s top commander, Gen. Qassem Soleimani. 

Sunday marked the one-year anniversary of the killing of General Qassem Soleimani

Sunday marked the one-year anniversary of the killing of General Qassem Soleimani

Sunday marked the one-year anniversary of the killing of General Qassem Soleimani

Iran initially retaliated with a ballistic missile strike on a military base in neighboring Iraq that caused dozens of brain concussion injuries but no deaths among U.S. troops. But U.S. officials are concerned that Iran might be planning further retaliation. 

Crowds chanted ‘revenge’ and ‘no to America’ in a protest in Tehran to mark the day.   

Sharing pictures of the carrier Monday, the US Navy tweeted: ‘#USSNimitz provides close-air support to Operation Octave Quartz, a mission aimed at relocating @DeptofDefense forces in Somalia to other East Africa operating locations while maintaining pressure on violent extremists and supporting partner forces. #ForceToBeReckonedWith.’

The Nimitz, based in Washington state, has been in Gulf waters since late November. It was ordered Friday to ‘transit directly home to complete a nearly 10-month deployment.’

It is not known how long it will now stay in the region.   

On Monday the US Navy shared a series of pictures of the carrier, tweeting: '#USSNimitz provides close-air support to Operation Octave Quartz, a mission aimed at relocating @DeptofDefense forces in Somalia to other East Africa operating locations while maintaining pressure on violent extremists and supporting partner forces. #ForceToBeReckonedWith'

On Monday the US Navy shared a series of pictures of the carrier, tweeting: '#USSNimitz provides close-air support to Operation Octave Quartz, a mission aimed at relocating @DeptofDefense forces in Somalia to other East Africa operating locations while maintaining pressure on violent extremists and supporting partner forces. #ForceToBeReckonedWith'

On Monday the US Navy shared a series of pictures of the carrier, tweeting: ‘#USSNimitz provides close-air support to Operation Octave Quartz, a mission aimed at relocating @DeptofDefense forces in Somalia to other East Africa operating locations while maintaining pressure on violent extremists and supporting partner forces. #ForceToBeReckonedWith’

The Nimitz, based in Washington state, has been in Gulf waters since late November. It was ordered Friday to 'transit directly home to complete a nearly 10-month deployment'

The Nimitz, based in Washington state, has been in Gulf waters since late November. It was ordered Friday to 'transit directly home to complete a nearly 10-month deployment'

The Nimitz, based in Washington state, has been in Gulf waters since late November. It was ordered Friday to ‘transit directly home to complete a nearly 10-month deployment’

A U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the carrier was expected to stay outside the Arabian Sea. It is not known how long it will now stay in the region.

A U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the carrier was expected to stay outside the Arabian Sea. It is not known how long it will now stay in the region.

A U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the carrier was expected to stay outside the Arabian Sea. It is not known how long it will now stay in the region.

Trump recently cited ‘chatter’ that Iran might strike. Days after a December 20 rocket attack on the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad by Iranian-supported Shiite militia groups, Trump tweeted that Iran was on notice.

‘Some friendly health advice to Iran: If one American is killed, I will hold Iran responsible. Think it over,’ Trump wrote on Dec. 23. He added, ‘We hear chatter of additional attacks against Americans in Iraq.’ 

Strategic calculations on both sides are further complicated by the political transition in Washington to a Biden administration that may seek new paths to dealing with Iran. 

President-elect Joe Biden has said, for example, that he hopes to return the U.S. to a 2015 agreement with world powers in which Iran agreed to limit its nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions.

Miller said in a statement: '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. The USS Nimitz will now remain on station in the U.S. Central Command area of operations'

Miller said in a statement: '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. The USS Nimitz will now remain on station in the U.S. Central Command area of operations'

Miller said in a statement: ‘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. The USS Nimitz will now remain on station in the U.S. Central Command area of operations’

The U.S. has maintained a near-continuous aircraft carrier presence in the Persian Gulf region since the USS Abraham Lincoln was sent in May 2019 amid concerns that Iran was considering attacking U.S. interests in the region. The U.S. also sent additional land-based attack planes and reestablished a troop presence in Saudi Arabia.

The Nimitz deployed from the U.S. in April and was due to return before the end of the year. 

In early December, its planned return was postponed, in part out of concerns about potential Iranian threats, and more recently it was ordered to provide support off the coast of Somalia for the movement of American forces out of the country.

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