US deploys destroyer to Persian Gulf as it readies for showdown with Iran, Russia

The Cradle, July 17, 2023 —
The US occupation army has also boosted its presence in northeast Syria to prevent expected attacks and cutoff the Syrian and Lebanese resistance from Iranian military aid.The Bahrain-based US Fifth Fleet on 16 July announced the arrival of the USS Thomas Hudner to the Persian Gulf as the Pentagon scrambles its forces across West Asia at a time of heightened tensions with both Iran and Russia.

The arrival of the guided-missile destroyer comes on the heels of Washington’s deployment of additional F-16 fighter jets to the Strait of Hormuz to “protect [commercial] ships from Iranian seizures.”

Iran has been stepping up its anti-fuel smuggling operations in the Persian Gulf, seizing several vessels in recent months. Tehran has also accused the US navy of protecting “fuel smugglers.”

In April, Washington announced that the USS Florida, a nuclear-powered Ohio class submarine that can carry 154 cruise missiles, would be deployed to West Asia. This followed the extension of a tour of the aircraft carrier USS George HW Bush, one of ten Nimitz class aircraft carriers — the largest warships ever constructed.

Similarly, the Pentagon has significantly reinforced its bases in Syria’s occupied oil fields, fearing attacks from local resistance groups and to cut off Syrian and Lebanese groups from receiving Iranian aid. Last week, Sunni and Kurdish militias were also deployed to US bases in the Al-Omar and Conoco oil fields in the countryside of Deir Ezzor governorate.

According to Arabic media reports, the reinforcements include installing missile defense and electronic warfare systems, as Washington has been on edge about the Russian air force’s increasingly bold operations within Syria.

Last month, US planners confirmed that High Mobility Artillery Rocket (HIMAR) systems were present in Syria. The Pentagon also deployed an F-22 stealth fighter squadron to neighboring Jordan to “confront” Russian warplanes.

According to US officials, Russian and Iranian forces in Syria have been coordinating to eventually force Washington’s troops to withdraw from the country.

“There’s a confluence of interests between those three groups, the Iranians, the Russians, and the Syrians. I see evidence of operational-level planning between mid-level Quds Force leadership that’s operating in Syria [and] Russian forces that are operating in Syria,” the anonymous official told Al-Monitor.

Over the past two years, attacks on US bases by Iran-linked groups in Syria have become commonplace. In early 2023 particularly, US military sites across Syria witnessed significantly increased levels of drone and missile attacks.

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