The US Navy has dispatched a guided-missile submarine to the Middle East.
The posting was revealed by the military in an announcement late on Sunday. The unusual revelation regarding the location of the ship, which can launch nuclear missiles, suggests a show of force intended to try to contain regional tensions amid the Israel-Hamas war.
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“On November 5, 2023, an Ohio-class submarine arrived in the US Central Command area of responsibility”, US Central Command (CENTCOM) said on the social media platform X, formerly Twitter. The Central Command area includes the Middle East.
The post by the Department of Defence unit appeared to show an image of the submarine moving through the Suez Canal.
On November 5, 2023, an Ohio-class submarine arrived in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. pic.twitter.com/iDgUFp4enp
— U.S. Central Command (@CENTCOM) November 5, 2023
Since the war broke out on October 7 between Hamas and Israel, the United States’ closest regional ally, Washington has moved significant military assets to the region, including two aircraft carriers and extensive fighter aircraft.
It has also announced the deployment of around 1,000 American soldiers, and the engagement of an unspecified number of special operations commandos, who are “advising” the Israeli military in their Gaza operations.
In addition, Washington has taken steps to beef up the defences of its Gulf allies, with a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defence system destined for Saudi Arabia and Patriot surface-to-air missile systems to be sent to Kuwait, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Pentagon spokesperson Brigadier General Pat Ryder said the build-up was aimed at deterring regional escalation and protecting the US and its partners.
“Since that Hamas terrorist attack we’ve also been crystal clear that we do not want to see the situation in Israel widen into a broader regional conflict,” said Ryder in an October 24 press briefing. “And as you’ve heard President Biden, Secretary Austin and other senior US leaders say, our message to any country or group thinking about trying to take advantage of this situation to widen the conflict is don’t.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken travelled on Sunday for talks with regional leaders, including Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the occupied West Bank and Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani in Baghdad.
US military assets have come under heavy fire from Iran-allied militias in Syria and Iraq, since October 7. During this time, such groups have waged dozens of attacks at US bases, with the most severe wounding 21 US military personnel in al-Tanf garrison in Syria and Al Asad Air Base in Iraq on October 17 and 18.