President Trump has deployed the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the Middle East to reportedly “send a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime.”
According to Fox News, Trump wants Iran to know that he operates much differently than his predecessor and that America will no longer tolerate their threatening behavior.
National Security Adviser John Bolton said major military force is being sent over in response to “a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings.”
“[A]ny attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force,” Bolton continued via Fox News. “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.”
Here’s more from the report:
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is scheduled to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Finland on Monday, told reporters the deployment is “something we’ve been working on for a little while” and “we will hold the Iranians accountable for attacks on American interests. If these actions take place, if they do by some third-party proxy, a militia group, Hezbollah, we will hold the Iranian leadership directly accountable for that.”
The strike group, which includes the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, the guided missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf and destroyers from Destroyer Squadron 2, departed Naval Station Norfolk on April 1 for what the Navy described as a “regularly scheduled deployment.” The strike force is under the command of Rear Adm. John Wade.
The USS John Stennis aircraft carrier strike group was in the Persian Gulf as recently as late March. The Stennis and USS Abraham Lincoln joined forces in the Mediterranean Sea in recent days.
The deployment comes less than a month after the Trump administration designated Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a terrorist organization. In late March, the Air Force pulled its bombers from Qatar, one of the rare times since 2001 no bombers were deployed to the Middle East.
Axios reports this physical show is not the first time the Trump administration has been forced to respond to Iran, previously threatening to impose sanctions against the country.
The Trump administration plans to target a new sector of the Iranian economy with significant new sanctions this week, two senior administration officials told me, speaking anonymously because they were not authorized to reveal the new sanctions. The officials would not say what sector the administration will target, but it won’t be the energy sector.
- The administration will likely announce this new wave of sanctions on Wednesday — marking the one year anniversary of President Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.
Driving the news: The Wall Street Journal reported last week that new sanctions would target petrochemical sales. I’m told the administration will likely impose those sanctions soon, but the new sanctions planned for this week will target a different sector of the Iranian economy.
Why this matters: The Trump administration has been working to starve the Iranian regime of cash.
BizPac Review adds that the Trump administration’s decision comes amid growing tensions throughout the Middle East:
Note: The author of this article has included commentary that expresses an opinion and analysis of the facts.
The deployment comes amid heightened tensions in the Middle East, after two Israeli soldiers were shot by snipers from the Iran-backed militant group Islamic Jihad, Fox News reported.
There have also been 690 rockets fired from Gaza at Israelis, according to the Israel Defense Forces.
As part of their response, Israel launched an airstrike that killed Hamas commander Hamed al-Khoudary, a “money man” involved in the “transferring Iranian money to Hamas and Islamic Jihad.”