The Spice must flow!
Iran Crisis - March 2020
USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) and USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) began dual carrier strike group and joint air wing operations with a B-52 Bomber from U.S. Air Forces Central Command in the Arabian Sea March 15, 2020. The dual carrier operations integrated with B-52s represent the current combined joint capability and interoperability to plan and conduct multi-task force operations in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. With the inherent maneuverability and the combined strike power of two aircraft carriers, the United States remains committed to the security and stability in the region, and is prepared to protect and defend our forces and partners, as needed.
“While we continue to take active steps to prevent and mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 across the Middle East, Naval Forces operating in the region have suffered no impacts to readiness. We remain ready and focused to respond forcefully and decisively to any aggression,” said Vice Adm. Jim Malloy, Commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command. “Our two carrier strike groups have been laser-focused on readiness to defeat any threats to security in the region; planning and training specifically against potential threats since June of 2019. While we do not and will not seek conflict at sea, we have never been better postured and more thoroughly prepared to response to it with overwhelming force.”
The US military plans to keep two aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf region, the commander of US Central Command (CENTCOM) has announced, claiming the move is aimed at deterring Iran from taking retaliatory action for what he described as "defensive" air strikes against Iraqi installations days ago. "We're going to keep [the carriers] for a while" to signal to Iran that retaliation would bring a massive response, said Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie at a Friday news conference in the US defense department, referring to USS Eisenhower and USS Truman warships and alleging – without providing any evidence – that a recent attack on US-occupied Taji military base near Baghdad was conducted by what Washington commonly propagates as "Iran-backed militia" in Iraq.
According to the US-based military news outlet Task & Purpose, when Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie was challenged by its reporter on the "defensive" nature of the American air strikes on installations of Iraqi military's Popular Mobilization Units across the country, he insisted on his claim arguing that they strikes would effectively "prevent future attacks" on US forces.
As many as 25 members of Iran-backed militias were killed on 12 March 2020 night after “unidentified airplanes” targeted their positions in the city of Albu Kamal, in the Syrian province of Deir Ez-Zor close to the Syria-Iraq border. On 11 March 2020 an attack by 15-18 Katyusha rockets on the Camp Taji military base in Iraq killing two American troops and a British soldier and wounding 12 others.
Local sources told Anadolu that two militia leaders were among those killed in the attack while other dozens others were wounded. Reportedly “unidentified airplanes” targeted the Imam Ali base and positions in the Al-Hizam, Al-Sinaa and Al-Huri villages believed to be built by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in the city of Albu Kamal in the Deir Ez-Zor province, eastern Syria. Albukamal along the Iraqi-Syrian border crossing is crucial for Iran´s bid to cement its growing sway over a corridor of territory from Tehran to Beirut. The border town lies on a strategic supply route for Iranian-backed militias who regularly send reinforcements from Iraq into Syria to aid Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces. Iran-backed Iraqi Shi´ite militias known as the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) captured Albukamal on the Euphrates River from Islamic State toward the end of 2017.
The Imam Ali base has been hit numerous times in the past. In June 2018 airstrikes rained down on a Kataib Hezbollah headquarters near Albukamal. In September last year reports noted that a new Iranian base called “Imam Ali” was under intense Iranian construction. It was struck on September 8, 2019. Reports Iran was rebuilding parts of the base were published in November 2019.
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