Dean James at Right Wing Tribune
The Iranian threat to American troops has prompted the deployment of an aircraft carrier and a bomber task force to the Middle East.
The official’s underscoring of the danger posed by the Islamic Republic comes amid an Associated Press report in which a source identified “clear indications” that Iranian and Iranian proxy forces were preparing for a possible attack on American troops in the region, Fox News reports.
“In response to a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings, the United States is deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the U.S. Central Command region to send a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force,” U.S. national security adviser John Bolton said on Sunday.
“The United States is not seeking war with the Iranian regime, but we are fully prepared to respond to any attack, whether by proxy, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or regular Iranian forces,” he said.
The Abraham Lincoln, its strike group of ships – which include the guided missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf and destroyers from Destroyer Squadron 2 — and combat aircraft have been operating in the Mediterranean Sea recently. Last Wednesday a group of senior Albanian government officials visited aboard the Lincoln as it sailed in the Adriatic.
Bolton’s reference to the Central Command area, the AP says, suggests the Lincoln is now headed east to the Red Sea and perhaps then to the Arabian Sea or the Persian Gulf. The U.S. Navy currently has no aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the actions undertaken by the U.S. had been in the works for a little while.
“It is absolutely the case that we have seen escalatory actions from the Iranians and it is equally the case that we will hold the Iranians accountable for attacks on American interests,” Pompeo said. “If these actions take place, if they do by some third-party proxy, a militia group, Hezbollah, we will hold the Iranian leadership directly accountable for that.”
Asked about “escalatory actions,” Pompeo replied, “I don’t want to talk about what underlays it, but make no mistake, we have good reason to want to communicate clearly about how the Iranians should understand how we will respond to actions they may take.”
The move comes on the heels of the deadly events in Gaza and Israel where militants fired rockets into Israel and Israel responded with airstrikes over the weekend.
Iran, through Palestinian Islamic Jihad – its proxy in Gaza – is behind the current escalation in the South, former national security adviser Yaakov Amidror said on Sunday.
Amidror, in a conversation with The Israel Project, traced the current round of massive rocket fire on Israel to Friday, when an Islamic Jihad sniper fired on IDF soldiers patrolling the Gaza border, wounding two officers. Israel responded and killed two Hamas men, and then the rocket barrage began from Gaza.
What made Friday’s shooting on the IDF patrol interesting, Amidror said, was that it took place precisely when Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders were in Cairo putting the finishing touches on an agreement drawn up by Egypt that was designed to ease the tension in the South.
But while its leaders were in Cairo, Islamic Jihad fired on the soldiers. At first, the organization tried to deny responsibility for the attack.
“Why did the Islamic Jihad do this?” Amidror asked. “The answer is again and again and again – Iran.”
The U.S. recently designated Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist group, the first ever for an entire division of another government.