Why the U.S. Dispatched an Aircraft Carrier to the Persian Gulf

In response to warnings of Iranian attacks on American forces in the region, National Security Advisor John Bolton announced that the USS Lincoln, accompanied by a flotilla of smaller ships, is being sent to the Middle East. Behnam Ben Taleblu and Bradley Bowman explain:

In the words of the U.S. ambassador to Russia, Jon Huntsman, Jr., America’s aircraft carriers “represent 100,000 tons of international diplomacy.” . . . The addition of these assets to the U.S. force structure in the region is a welcome development as Washington seeks to counter Iranian influence and thwart operations by Iran and its proxies in the Middle East. . . .

Iran will continue to utilize asymmetric or “gray zone” tactics, [i.e., aggressions against U.S. interests that stop short of provoking war] so long as it believes it can do so with relative impunity. However, when confronted with strength, Iran has often backed down. Indeed, under the Trump administration, naval harassment of American vessels by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is reportedly decreasing. To explain its de-escalation to a domestic audience, the regime has twisted itself into rhetorical knots.

Ultimately, Washington’s deployment of a carrier strike group offers an opportunity to strengthen its Iran policy and make the case for tough diplomacy. As America re-orders its military priorities to focus on “great power competition,” the move signals that the Persian Gulf remains an utmost national-security interest, as does checking Iranian aggression.

Read more at The Hill

More about: Iran, John Bolton, Naval strategy, U.S. Foreign policy


Israel Is Courting Saudi Arabia by Confronting Iran

Most likely, it was the Israeli Air Force that attacked eastern Syria Monday night, apparently destroying a convoy carrying Iranian weapons. Yoav Limor comments:

Israel reportedly carried out 32 attacks in Syria in 2022, and since early 2023 it has already struck 25 times in the country—at the very least. . . . The Iranian-Israeli clash stands out in the wake of the dramatic events in the region, chiefly among them is the effort to strike a normalization deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and later on with various other Muslim-Sunni states. Iran is trying to torpedo this process and has even publicly warned Saudi Arabia not to “gamble on a losing horse” because Israel’s demise is near. Riyadh is unlikely to heed that demand, for its own reasons.

Despite the thaw in relations between the kingdom and the Islamic Republic—including the exchange of ambassadors—the Saudis remain very suspicious of the Iranians. A strategic manifestation of that is that Riyadh is trying to forge a defense pact with the U.S.; a tactical manifestation took place this week when Saudi soccer players refused to play a match in Iran because of a bust of the former Revolutionary Guard commander Qassem Suleimani, [a master terrorist whose militias have wreaked havoc throughout the Middle East, including within Saudi borders].

Of course, Israel is trying to bring Saudi Arabia into its orbit and to create a strong common front against Iran. The attack in Syria is ostensibly unrelated to the normalization process and is meant to prevent the terrorists on Israel’s northern border from laying their hands on sophisticated arms, but it nevertheless serves as a clear reminder for Riyadh that it must not scale back its fight against the constant danger posed by Iran.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Saudi Arabia, Syria