WASHINGTON (AP) – The United States on Wednesday launched a second series of strategic bombings over the Persian Gulf. This month, a show of force to prevent Iran from attacking US or allied targets in the Middle East.
A senior U.S. military official said the plane of two Air Force B-52 bombers was responding to signals that it might plan attacks against US-allied targets in Iran’s neighbor Iraq or elsewhere in the region. Preparing to take office. The officer did not have the authority to publicly discuss internal assessments based on sensory intelligence and spoke anonymously.
The B-52 bombing, which flew from an air base in North Dakota during the final weeks of President Donald Trump’s administration, reflects growing concern in Washington that Iran will order further military retaliation for the January 3 killing. General Gassem Solaimani, Commander of the Iranian Army. Iran’s initial response was to launch a missile attack on a military base in Iraq five days after the deadly U.S. drone strike, which left about 100 U.S. troops with concussions.
However, in the final weeks of Trump’s presidency, Iran appeared cautious, focusing on pressuring Tehran with sanctions and other measures that would further damage the Islamic Republic’s economy.
“Trump will take full responsibility on the way out of any adventure,” Iranian Foreign Minister Jawad Sharif wrote on Twitter on December 24.
The December 20 rocket attack heightened tensions Iranian-backed Shiite militant groups at the US embassy in Baghdad. No one was killed, but the size of the rockets – 21, with about nine landings on the embassy premises – was unusually large. A few days later, Trump tweeted that Iran was in the announcement.
“Some friendly health advice for Iran: If an American is killed, I’m responsible for Iran. Think about it,” Trump wrote on December 23. We hear the conversation of additional attacks against Americans in Iraq.
The United States has sought to deter Iran from further attacks because of the potential for expansion that could lead to a wider war. Strategic calculations on both sides are further complicated by the political change in Washington for the Biden administration, which is looking for new avenues to deal with Iran. For example, Biden has said he hopes Iran will return the United States to a 2015 agreement with world powers that agreed to limit its nuclear activities in exchange for lifting international sanctions.
In announcing the bomber on Wednesday, the US Federal Commander said it was a defensive move.
“The United States continues to be ready for the US Federal Command to prevent any potential adversary, and we make it clear that we are ready and able to respond to any aggression against the Americans or our interests,” the general said. Federal Commander Frank McKenzie. “We are not looking for conflict, but we must not underestimate any ability to defend our forces or act decisively in response to any attack.”
He did not mention Iran by name.
Prior to the announcement, a senior US military official said anonymously that US intelligence had detected signs of “significant threats” from Iran, including planning rocket attacks against US interests in Iraq. One year anniversary of the Sholaymani massacre.
The United States is working to reduce its troop presence in Iraq from 3,000 to 2,500. Trump ordered the cuts to be achieved by Jan. 15; Officials say this is likely to be achieved early next week.
The United States has also taken indications that Iran may consider or plan “more complex” and wider attacks against US targets or interests in the Middle East, a senior U.S. military official said, indicating the most since the days following the Sholamani assassination. The official cited reports that advanced weapons were being flown from Iran to Iraq recently, and that Shiite militant leaders in Iraq may have met with Iranian Goods forces officers, as previously ordered by Sholaymani.
Referring to the September 2019 missile and drone attack on Saudi oil processing facilities, the U.S. official said Iran could focus on economic targets. Iran has denied involvement, but blamed the United States for the attack.
In recent weeks, the U.S. military has taken a number of measures designed to deter Iran, while publicly insisting that it did not plan or instruct it to take unprovoked action against Iran.
Last week, a U.S. Navy-guided-missile submarine made an extraordinary transit of the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic waterway between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula. Earlier in December, a pair of B-52 bombers flew over the Gulf from the Parkstale Air Force Base in Louisiana, calling the military a “reserve” mission – a demonstration of US power and a sign of US commitment to the region, but not an offensive. The flight was rescheduled this week, with two P-52s flying non-stop from the Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota and heading home Wednesday after traveling west of the Gulf.
Tensions with Iran escalated in November with the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, an Iranian scientist named by the West as head of the Islamic Republic’s disbanded military nuclear program. Iran has blamed Israel for the killings, but US officials are concerned that any Iranian retaliation could hurt US interests.