Press Gaggle With Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark A. Milley JAN. 6, 2020 Secretary Of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley
SECRETARY OF DEFENSE MARK T. ESPER: OK. Good afternoon everyone. How are you? I know we don't have too much time because I have a couple phone calls to go do.
A few things up front. So first of all, we continue to deploy forces and reposition forces throughout the region to bolster our security, our force protection, and also to be prepared for any contingency.
That's number one. Number two, over the last several days I've had conversations with many, many of our allies and partners about the situation in – in Iraq and the region. I got to tell you it's been uniform support for our position and for our actions.
And I continue to convey to them the importance we place on continuing, A, the defeat ISIS mission for those who are involved in that – that operation. Two, for our commitment to partnering with Iraq going forward. And number three, to the mission that we've always said about deterring Iranian bad behavior and standing up to this malign behavior that has been ever present now for 40-plus years.
And number three, on the diplomatic front, part and parcel to this conversation has been what I've said to them, is that – is that we remain prepared for any contingency with regard to Iran. That our message to Iran is that the ball is in their court.
We encourage them to de-escalate the situation. We are open to sitting down with them and discussing issues so that we could have a more normal relationship with that country. We've been saying this for quite some time now. I've conveyed that to our partners and to our allies.
And I've asked them to convey that as well to our – to Iran. And I said – but – but that said, if – if Iran chooses to go the other path we are completely prepared for that too and will respond forcefully. With that I will stop and we'll take a few questions. Yes.
Q: Mr. Secretary, we've all seen the letter from General Seely to the Iraqi government indicating some – apparently indicating U.S. forces are leaving Iraq. Can you confirm this bit of decision to that effect?
SEC. ESPER: There's been no decision what so ever to leave Iraq.
Q: Can you say what that – what that letter conveys then?
SEC. ESPER: I don't know what that letter is.
Q: I can read – do you want to look at it. I have it.
SEC. ESPER: No, no. I don't know what it is. We're trying to find out where that's coming from, what that is. But there has been no decision made to leave Iraq, period.
Израильское руководство УЖЕ приняло неверное решение - они "под шумок" атаковали позиции "Хизбаллы" в Сирии.
Сейчас Ирану и "Хизбалле" не до них, но когда будет понятна общая реакция США, встанет вопрос об ответных действиях.
Ситуация здесь сильно изменилась. Израильское руководство все последние годы вело неверную политику - вместо переговоров и вместо прекращения оккупации и мира оно пыталось атаковать "Хизбаллу" и позиции иранцев в Сирии.
Как результат, скорее всего через некоторое время последует потеря Израилем Голанских высот и вынужденное прекращение оккупации оккуппированный арабских территорий - не на договорных израильско-арабских условиях, а на арабских условиях.
Esper: Iran Has 'Big Off Ramp' to Avoid Further Conflict JAN. 7, 2020 | BY C. TODD LOPEZ , DOD NEWS
The United States does not want a war with Iran, and it's not leaving Iraq, Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper said.
A man stands at a podium with the Defense Department logo on it.
"As we defend our people and interests, let me reiterate, the U.S. is not seeking a war with Iran," Esper said during a Pentagon news conference today. "But we are prepared to finish one. We are seeking a diplomatic solution. But first this will require Iran to de-escalate. It will require the regime to come to the table with the goal of preventing further bloodshed. And it will require them to cease their malign activities throughout the region."
There's a clear-cut way to avoid further conflict between the two nations, the secretary told reporters.