The U.S. is deploying B-52 bombers to the Middle East in preparation for potential attacks that have been threatened by Iran or its allies on U.S. troops.
The Pentagon confirmed Tuesday that the deployment includes four B-52 bombers, two of which reportedly departed Tuesday from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisana, and are expected to arrive Wednesday at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, CBS News reported Tuesday.
Pentagon deploying nuclear-capable B-52 bombers to Middle East based on new threat from Iran: statement
— Lucas Tomlinson (@LucasFoxNews) May 7, 2019
A Department of Defense official told CBS News that the U.S. was tracking “a number of preparations for possible attack” on U.S. land and sea forces. “There is more than one avenue of attack or possible attack that we’re tracking,” the official added.
The airpower deployment comes two days after National Security Advisor Ambassador John Bolton said in a statement that a bomber task force and the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group would be deployed to the Middle East.
Bolton said deployment was “in response to a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings.”
He added that the move was intended 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.”
“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,” Bolton added.
The groups will join the U.S. Central Command that patrols the region.
“U.S. Central Command continues to track a number of credible threat streams emanating from the regime in Iran throughout the CENTCOM area of responsibility,” Navy Capt. Bill Urban, a Central Command spokesman, said in a statement reported by USA Today.
Ironically, on Tuesday morning, the U.S. Strategic Command appeared to boast the B-52’s capabilities via Twitter with a video and message, saying, “The #B52, a long-range, heavy bomber, is capable of flying at high subsonic speeds at altitudes up to 50,000 feet. It can carry nuclear or conventional ordnance w/ worldwide precision navigation capability. #B52uesday #DeterrenceTuesdays.”
The #B52, a long-range, heavy bomber, is capable of flying at high subsonic speeds at altitudes up to 50,000 feet. It can carry nuclear or conventional ordnance w/ worldwide precision navigation capability. #B52uesday #DeterrenceTuesdays
Cool video @AirmanMagazine! pic.twitter.com/Vr3T0LodSM
— US Strategic Command (@US_Stratcom) May 7, 2019
It’s not clear what specific threats Iran has made to prompt the action.
Iran has been increasingly displeased with the latest actions by the Trump Administration, including removing waivers that would permit U.S. allies to bypass sanctions and export Iranian oil, as well as the official designation of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as a terrorist organization.