In the midst of the escalating events between the United States and Iran and the intensification of conflicts between the two countries, the central threat posed by Iran continues in the Middle East, and the United States’ endeavor. Meanwhile, the United States seeks a direct military strikes against Tehran, at a time when President Donald Trump’s presidential term is drawing to an end, while sanctions have helped stop funding to Hezbollah and militias in Iraq.
US deterrence messages
At a time when the US forces are scheduled to withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan in January 2021, a US defense official announced on Friday, November 27, that the US aircraft carrier USS Senimitz will be transferred to the Gulf region with other warships in order to provide combat support and air cover in the region.
This step came before the news of the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was announced, and these moves come under the framework of Washington increasing its deterrence messages to Iran.
Days after the United States moved B-52H bombers to the region, which represents a speedy return of US aircraft carriers to the Gulf after they left in early November to India, the ships conducted naval exercises with the Indian Navy after conducting war exercises at Washington’s Guam base in the western Pacific Ocean.
US Central Command (Centcom) made it clear that the United States is not trying to ignite a fire, but it is committed to preserving freedom of navigation and trade in all parts of the region.
“The ongoing mission proves the US military’s ability to deploy combat air power anywhere in the world within a short time and to integrate into Central Command operations to help maintain regional stability and security,” Centcom added in a statement.
Threats and intimidation
There have been international calls for restraint and not to engage in actions that are currently escalating the scene, which came after the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, whom the West has long suspected of being the mastermind of the Iranian nuclear weapons program and is considered one of its most prominent nuclear scientists. He officially held the position of head of the Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research (SPND) at Iran’s Ministry of Defense, and he was killed near Tehran in an attack that was followed by shooting clashes with six others.
Tehran soon took a position on Fakhrizadeh’s assassination, as both the military advisor to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard threatened to respond, while Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused Israel of having a strong role behind the assassination.
Meanwhile, the Chief of Staff of the Iranian armed forces stated that the assassination of Fakhrizadeh was a heavy blow following the successive strikes on Iran in recent months.
The Trump administration could direct strikes against Iran if it senses a danger to the security and stability of the region, after US intelligence officials declared Israel’s responsibility for the assassination, which would cause a rift in relations after an expected Iranian response against US interests in the Gulf states, directly or indirectly, through retaliatory operations in the region or other areas by Iranian arms.
All these events may affect the Gulf region, the oil industry and the global economy negatively. In the event of a war, the entire region would be affected, and history would be repeated again, similar to the Tanker War that occurred during the Iran-Iraq War.
It is noteworthy that the US State Department had included Fakhrizadeh on the list of sanctions since 2008 due to activities and operations that contributed to the development of Iran’s nuclear program, while Israel accused him earlier of being behind the military nuclear program, which Iran denies its existence.