In a significant display of military power in the Middle East, the United States has deployed a guided-missile submarine to the region. The move, announced by the US military late on Sunday, comes amidst escalating tensions related to the Israel-Hamas conflict.
The US Central Command (CENTCOM) officially disclosed the arrival of an Ohio-class submarine to its area of responsibility on November 5, 2023. The Central Command’s area of responsibility encompasses the Middle East. This revelation was made via the Department of Defense unit’s social media platform, X (formerly Twitter), accompanied by a striking image of the submarine transiting the Suez Canal.
Since the outbreak of hostilities between Hamas and Israel on October 7, the United States has taken extensive measures to bolster its presence in the region. This includes the deployment of two aircraft carriers and a substantial number of fighter aircraft. Additionally, approximately 1,000 American soldiers have been dispatched to the region, along with unspecified special operations commandos who are providing advisory support to the Israeli military in their operations in Gaza.
The United States has also taken steps to enhance the defenses of its Gulf allies. Reports from The Wall Street Journal suggest the delivery of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system to Saudi Arabia, as well as the deployment of Patriot surface-to-air missile systems to Kuwait, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.
Pentagon spokesperson Brigadier General Pat Ryder emphasized that these measures are aimed at deterring further regional escalation and protecting both the United States and its partners. He reiterated the US’s commitment to preventing the Israel-Hamas conflict from spreading into a broader regional conflict.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken engaged in diplomatic efforts on Sunday, meeting with regional leaders, including Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the occupied West Bank and Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani in Baghdad.
During the period since October 7, US military assets have been subjected to attacks from Iran-aligned militias in Syria and Iraq. These groups have carried out numerous attacks on US bases, with the most severe incidents occurring at the al-Tanf garrison in Syria and Al Asad Air Base in Iraq on October 17 and 18, resulting in injuries to 21 US military personnel.