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US Carrier Strike Force Headed For Iran Station

USS Abraham Lincoln
“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,” President Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton announced.

Bolton said in the statement that the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and the bomber task force would be deployed to the region overseen by the Pentagon’s U.S. Central Command, whose area of responsibility includes the Middle East, the Strait of Hormuz, the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.

Our friends at CNS News report that Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on Friday again raised warnings about the Strait of Hormuz, calling the chokepoint a “lifeline” for his country’s economy, and saying that if the U.S. “tries to take coercive measures it will be reciprocated by Iran.”

However, National Security Advisor Bolton seemed to anticipate the Iranian position saying, “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.”

According to reporting by The (UK) Guardian, it was not immediately clear what Iranian actions Bolton was referring to in his comments on Sunday night. There have been no recent incidents in the Persian Gulf where US and Iranian navies are routinely in close proximity and the Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group was already bound for the Gulf a month before Bolton made his announcement.

However, CNN quoted unnamed officials on Monday as saying there was “specific and credible” intelligence that Iranian forces and proxies were targeting US forces in Syria, Iraq and at sea, with “multiple threads of intelligence about multiple locations.”

While The Guardian observed that no clear reason was given by National Security Adviser Bolton for his decision to advertise the pre-arranged deployment of the carrier battle group to the Middle East. Ambassador Bolton singled out Iran, and specifically Iran’s non-state allies and proxy forces, as causes for concern. These groups are deeply involved in several conflict zones including Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Gaza, where fighting with Israeli forces re-erupted last week.

The deployment of the carrier group had been in the works since April 1, however, the explicit broadening of the range of potential Iran-related US targets is significant claim The Guardian’s Middle East reporters. Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a western-designated terrorist group financed by Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, reportedly joined Hamas in firing missiles at Israel from Gaza at the weekend. In a tweet expressing “100% support for Israel”, Trump referred to Islamic Jihad by name.

The very public statements regarding the Abraham Lincoln carrier group may indicate Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are concerned that Iran was using Gaza or planning some other operation to foment violence against Israel and the US at arm’s length, via its proxies, in retaliation for the recent tightening of sanctions and other American measures intended to challenge the mullahs.

Foreign Policy magazine’s morning security brief asked, “Is this just more saber rattling by President Donald Trump’s most outspoken Iran hawk?” Their answer was, possibly. However, as we noted above, the Abraham Lincoln’s movement is not a surprise: the ship departed the East Coast on April 1 for a regularly scheduled deployment that would take it around the globe and has recently been operating close by in the Mediterranean Sea.

The bomber deployment, too, is not unexpected, noted Foreign Policy. The U.S. Air Force regularly rotates bombers in and out of the Middle East. B-1s from Dyess Air Force Base in Texas returned home in March, about two weeks before U.S.-backed fighters declared victory over the Islamic State militant group.

Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the new head of US Central Command, requested the additional firepower Sunday after reviewing intelligence hinting at a possible Iranian attack on US interests in the region, according to The New York Times.

This decision "represents a prudent repositioning of assets in response to indications of a credible threat by Iranian regime forces," Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan said Monday according to reporting by The Business Insider.

At this point, we do not know exactly what threats the deployment is intended to deter, however, the Islamic Republic has been responsible for many attacks on US forces in the Near East, Iraq, the Gulf area and elsewhere. We applaud President Trump and his national security team for recognizing that Iran is an existential threat to the United States and Western Civilization and we urge them to keep the pressure on the radical Muslim regime.

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Of course there are "reports from unnamed officials" coming out of CNN. CNN never has any real sources because CNN isn't a news organization. They are exactly what Trump calls them; FAKE NEWS and an organization paid to spread whatever lies they can concoct. CNN works for the DNC.