WASHINGTON Media www.rajawalisiber.com — The Pentagon has decided to send home the only Navy aircraft carrier operating in the Middle East, a move that would reduce U.S. firepower in the region amid heightened tensions with Iran, officials said Thursday.
The decision, confirmed by three defense officials but not yet publicly announced, emerged one day after Air Force B-52 bombers flew nonstop from the United States to the Persian Gulf in a show of force that military officials said was intended to caution Iran against carrying out attacks against U.S. forces or interests. The officials were not authorized to publicly discuss the decision and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Sending the aircraft carrier, the USS Nimitz, home to the U.S. West Coast would seem at odds with the idea that a show of force is needed to deter Iran. This might reflect a split within the defense establishment on whether Iran poses a heightened threat to strike in the waning days of the Trump administration.
Earlier this week, an American military officer close to the situation told reporters that the U.S. had detected signs that Iran had made preparations for possible attacks on U.S. or allied targets in Iraq or elsewhere in the Mideast. This was the reason for dispatching two B-52 bombers from the U.S. to briefly overfly the Gulf on Wednesday, said the officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal assessments.
President Donald Trump recently cited “chatter” that Iran might strike. Days after a Dec. 20 rocket attack on the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad by Iranian-supported Shiite militia groups, Trump tweeted that Iran was on notice.