This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
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US Deploys Strike Group to Iran
The US sent a strike group to the Gulf in order to send a message to Iran. This includes the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, a bomber task force and accompanying ships. A strike group usually consists of an aircraft carrier, a cruiser, and a destroyer squadron. The strike group will be attached to CENTCOM, US Central Command that covers the Middle East.
In a statement, Mr Bolton said: “The United States is deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the US Central Command region to send a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force.”
Proxy War in the Middle East
It should be noted, however, that the strike group was due to be sent to the region anyway. This initiative has brought the deployment time forward two weeks. Although the strike group was due to be sent anyway, it is clear that this early deployment is indicative of the developing strategy which the US is now looking at to weaken the country. This employs a grand strategic framework, looking at crippling the Iranian economy, preventing Iranian military action in the region and cutting Iranian diplomatic allies.
This might be the first steps towards an end to terror.
Senator Marco Rubio, in a tweet, mentioned Shia militias in Iraq attacking American forces. This has been a constant proxy conflict in the region. The continued conflict in Iraq is partly due to IRGC backed Shia militias continuing to attack Iraqi government forces. There also might have been some level of conflict with US forces in the country at some point. However, this proxy war in Iraq might be one of the reasons the strike group is now in the vicinity. The strike group can bring new supplies, fresh troops, and air support to the conflict which might help to dissuade Shia militias from further conflict.
The Terrorist Revolutionary Guard
Less than a month prior to the deployment of the strike group, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Core (IRGC) was designated a terrorist organization. This sudden designation, which sparked confusion throughout parts of the government, was most likely due to jurisdiction and potential resource actions. Iran was quick to respond, designating CENTCOM forces as a terrorist organization. How the interaction will play out, remains to be seen.
The IRGC formed in 1979 after the Iranian revolution as a body separate to the military. It is under the direct command of the Supreme Leader of Iran. The IRGC is meant to be loyal to the republic, so as to ensure the political system of Iran is defended. This was done as insurance against a potential coup de ta.
Designating the IRCG as terrorists, although complicating international law, allows for greater use of resources against the group. It also puts the group and their actions into public light. IRGC funding goes across the Middle East causing terror and mayhem, often with the IRGC having direct involvement. There has been speculation that the change could make US troops even more of a target. To what extent this is beyond the current threat is marginal.
Oil sanction waivers and an End to Terror
In April 2019, Trump removed oil sanction waivers on Iran, aiming to collapse Iranian trade with partners. This means that any country that trades certain resources with Iran, could face US sanctions. For more information, New Right Network has an article here.
The movement of the carrier group, the designation of the IRGC as a terrorist group, removing sanction waivers and the withdrawal from the Iran Deal last year. The plan to prevent continued Iranian terror is now in motion. It has the potential to be a hope for the Iranian people and the idea of some peace in the Middle East. This might be the first steps towards an end to terror.