For the third time since November, the US deployed B-52 bombers to the Middle East in a show of force aimed at Iran.
US Central Command said in a statement that two B-52s left from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota on Tuesday morning and flew a non-stop 30-hour mission to the region. The long-range bombers flew over the Persian Gulf, near Iran’s coast.
The provocative maneuver comes at a time of heightened tensions, with both the US and Israel constantly hyping the threat of a potential Iranian attack. With the upcoming anniversary of the US assassination of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani, an unnamed US official told Fox News that Iran wants to “avenge the killing.”
The unnamed official said the US is “seeing planning” for “complex attacks” that would require “Iranian assistance in order to be pulled off.” One country the anonymous source said an attack was possible was Iraq, where the US embassy in Baghdad was recently targeted in a rocket attack.
President Trump blamed the Baghdad attack on Iran, but Tehran denied having any role. Iran has every reason to avoid a military confrontation with the US before President Trump leaves office and has even urged its allies in Iraq not to fire on US forces. But some Iraqi militias have rejected the Iranian warning, and there are plenty of factions inside Iraq that have their own reasons to attack the US.
Since the killing of Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh in an apparent Israeli plot, Israel’s military has also been warning of Iranian attacks. Like the US, the Israelis are poised to blame any attack in the region on Iran.