Outgoing CENTCOM commander Gen. Kenneth McKenzie. FILE

Outgoing CENTCOM commander Gen. Kenneth McKenzie

CENTCOM Chief Urges More Support For US Allies Facing Iranian Threat

3/18/2022

The outgoing US CENTCOM chief has slammed delays in weapons sales to allies in the Persian Gulf, calling for more US commitment to counter the Iranian threat.

General Kenneth McKenzie told a House Armed Services Committee Hearing on Middle East Security Challenges on Thursday that reducing the number of American troops and capabilities in the region contributed to the perceptionof a “wavering United States commitment to the security and stability”.

“The greatest single day-to-day threat to regional security and stability remains Iran, which challenges the US and its allies by pursuing regional hegemony, breaching its Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) commitments, and posing a conventional threat to partner nations while facilitating and conducting coercive and malign activities”, he said.

McKenzie added, “Deterring Iran and its threat network depends on capabilities that provide a credible threat of a robust and timely response to Iranian aggression paired with flexible deterrent and response options that impose high costs on Iran, thereby altering its decision calculus.”

Describing the Houthis as the “least restrained and most destabilizing of all of Iran’s affiliates in the region”, McKenzie said they can escalate the crisis in the region “using whatever means the Iranians put at their disposal, even at the risk of inflicting mass civilian casualties and threatening American forces.”

He said, “Iranian-aligned militia groups are likely to continue sectarian criminal, and anti-US activities that destabilize Iraq.”

“Iran will continue to use Syrian (and likely Iraqi) territory as a critical hub and resupply route for maintaining its campaign against Israel”, McKenzie added.

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