The USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group and a bomber task force are being sent to “send a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime,” White House national security adviser John Bolton said in a statement on Sunday.
Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the new head of US Central Command, requested the additional firepower on Sunday after reviewing intelligence hinting at a possible Iranian attack on American forces and US interests in the region, The New York Times reported, citing a Department of Defense official.
The Pentagon then approved a US Central Command request for additional firepower, according to The New York Times.
“In response to a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings, the United States is deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the U.S. Central Command region to send a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force. 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.”
At the same time, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated that the deployment was “something we’ve been working on for a little while,” indicating that it wasn’t really a result of new intelligence or a set of evolving circumstances, while also adding that there have been “escalatory actions from the Iranians,” but giving no examples of such acts.
The intel, according to Israeli media, appears to have come, at least in part, from Israel, which reportedly provided information on a possible Iranian plot against US targets in the region or US allies. Fox News confirmed that the intel came from a friendly intelligence service.
מבט מהאוויר. סיכול אחמד חודרי ע"י צה"ל והשב"כ pic.twitter.com/sfzAt6MlkL
— רונן מנליס – Ronen Manelis (@IDFSpokesperson) May 5, 2019
CNN, citing US officials, reported that the intelligence suggested a possible attack on US forces in Syria, Iraq, and at sea. There were reportedly multiple intel threads.
“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,” Bolton said in a statement.
Tensions between Washington and Iran have been on the rise since the Trump administration made the decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal. The US has targeted its military forces and is in the process of trying to cut off Iran’s energy exports.
The latest firepower redirect, which Chief of Naval Operations John Richardson has been celebrating as a shining example of the opportunities provided by the military’s dynamic-force-employment strategy, appears to be the US bringing out the big guns in hopes of being ready for anything.