For the first time since the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, US warplanes are flying sorties against targets in the Middle East from an aircraft carrier positioned in the Mediterranean Sea. The attacks are being launched from the USS Harry S Truman, a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier.
Though it’s the first time in a long time attacks are being launched from the Mediterranean, the Truman has been involved in attacks on ISIS for months. It only passed through the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean yesterday, however, and had previously been parked in the Persian Gulf off the Iranian coast.
The deployment in the Gulf made news back in January, when an Iranian surveillance drone flew over the Truman, sparking fury from US Navy officials, who insisted that such flights are “abnormal and unprofessional.”
While deployed near Iran, the Truman was involved both in the war against ISIS and in supporting the Saudi War in Yemen. The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower has recently left Norfolk, and is believed to be heading into the Gulf.
It is rare for the US to not have a carrier parked near Iran, adding to constant American threats to attack Iran. There was a brief gap in carrier presence last fall, between the departure of the USS Roosevelt and the Truman’s arrival.
Vice Admiral James Foggo III insisted that the deployment is just the US “continuing to project power ashore against terrorists,” though its position in the Mediterranean might conceivably make it more vulnerable to naval attacks by ISIS, which controls some of the Libyan coast.