The United States is a war machine in the Middle East, a clear message to Iran to stay away as Israel prepares to launch a ground invasion of Gaza to destroy the terrorist group Hamas .
Hours after Hamas’ horrific attack on Israel on October 7, the United States began moving warships, jets and special forces to the region.
Two aircraft carriers, including the world’s largest, the USS Gerald R. Ford, were sent to the eastern Mediterranean, accompanied by dozens of aircraft capable of carrying out airstrikes.
Many more aircraft, including squadrons of F-15 and F-16 fighter jets, were sent to U.S. military bases in the region, doubling the number available in the Persian Gulf.
Air units that were due to return home soon were ordered to stay.
The United States strengthens its forces in the Middle East
The world’s largest aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford, sails alongside the USNS Laramie in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Three F-18 Super Hornets fly in formation over the USS Gerald R. Ford
About 2,000 U.S. Marines trained in special operations and amphibious landings were also redirected from an exercise in Kuwait and are now aboard two warships somewhere off the coast of Bahrain.
The Pentagon is also preparing 2,000 additional troops and air forces as a potential rapid response force.
This reflects Washington’s fear that Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based terrorist group, or Iran itself, could escalate the crisis and lead to an even more devastating regional conflict.
The primary goal of strengthening the U.S. military is to deter Iran and its proxies from taking action.
The USS Gerald R. Ford had just completed an exercise with the Italian Navy before receiving orders to carry out its final mission.
It has a crew of 5,000 and carries 90 combat aircraft, including F-18 Super Hornet jets, F-35 strike fighters and A-10 tank destroyers.
The carrier, which includes a nuclear reactor, has an arsenal of weapons like the Evolved Sea Sparrow missile and the Mk-15 Phalanx close-in weapons system, which is used to fire armor-piercing rounds.
Two US Air Force F-35A Lightning II fighter jets fly alongside the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan in the Gulf of Oman, amid growing tensions with Iran.
US Marines are on the move in the Middle East after disrupting an exercise in Kuwait
A Hawkeye spy plane is launched from the flight deck of the world’s largest aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford
Five support ships, including destroyers, are armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles and surface-to-air, surface-to-surface and anti-submarine warfare capabilities.
A second aircraft carrier, the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, will arrive in the Eastern Mediterranean in about a week, also accompanied by four other ships.
The aircraft carrier, also known as “Ike,” has 5,000 sailors and can carry up to nine squadrons of aircraft, including fighter jets and helicopters.
Its E2-Hawkeye spy planes will be able to provide early warnings of missile launches, conduct surveillance and detect enemy aircraft.
Aircraft carriers can also be used as bases from which to wage information warfare.
Much of the U.S. operation is expected to be coordinated from U.S. Central Command’s forward headquarters at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, the largest U.S. base in the Middle East.
U.S. Marines are in the area with Osprey aircraft capable of vertical takeoff and landing.
F-18 Super Hornet on the world’s largest aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford
Even before this new influx, the United States had more than 30,000 troops in the region.
This includes 13,000 in Qatar, 7,000 in Bahrain, at least 3,000 each in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Kuwait, 2,500 in Iraq and 2,500 in Turkey.
Incirlik Air Base in Turkey is home to 50 US B61 nuclear weapons.
About 2,000 U.S. Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit had just arrived in Kuwait for an exercise when the Hamas attack in Israel took place.
They were told to take their sips again – the USS Bataan and the USS Carter Hall – and moved closer to the crisis, now being somewhere near Bahrain.
Their ships carry MV-22 Osprey aircraft with vertical takeoff and landing capability.
A spokesperson told Military Times: “If they were ordered, they could participate in some type of operation in support of Israel. »
Meanwhile, a small team of special operations forces was also sent to Israel to help recover hostages, including Americans, held by Hamas in Gaza.
US Air Force F-22 Raptor at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar
And the Pentagon has ordered about 2,000 additional U.S. forces to be ready to deploy if needed in the coming days and weeks.
They would provide intelligence and surveillance, transportation and medical capabilities.
The 2,000 troops will likely include Air Force and Army personnel.
A Pentagon spokeswoman said the specific units had not yet been identified but would be able to respond quickly.
She said: “This increases our ability to respond quickly to the evolving security environment in the Middle East.
“No decisions have been made regarding the deployment of forces at this time. The Secretary of Defense will continue to assess our force posture and remain in close contact with allies and partners.
Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based terrorist group backed by Iran, has stockpiled up to 150,000 rockets and missiles and could fire them far into Israel.
An ensuing war between Israel and Lebanon would be even worse than the current crisis in Gaza, experts say.
As Israel prepares for a ground invasion of Gaza, Iran has warned of possible “preventative” action by Hezbollah.
Hossein Amirabdollahian, Iran’s foreign minister, said Monday: “All options and all possible scenarios are there for Hezbollah. Any preventive measure is imaginable in the coming hours.