US sending largest warship to Middle East is a message to Iran, Hezbollah: Experts

Published: Updated:
Read Mode
100% Font Size
3 min read

The US sending the USS Gerald R. Ford, the world’s largest warship and the Navy’s most advanced aircraft carrier, to the Middle East is a message of support to its long-term ally Israel and a warning to Iran and Tehran-backed Lebanese Shia militia Hezbollah, experts told Al Arabiya English.

“Since the brutal Hamas attack on Israel, the US has been clearly signaling its strong support for Israel. This was evident in the powerful messages delivered by President Biden, in the decision to provide Israel with additional security aid, and with the warship deployment,” Senior fellow for Israel Affairs at the Middle East Institute, Nimrod Goren, told Al Arabiya English.

Goren added: “The warship deployment is likely geared to signal Iran and Hezbollah that they better refrain from expanding the war beyond Gaza, into Lebanon and Syria. It signifies that the US is ready to take action and support Israel in case of need.”

For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

Senior director of the Rafik Hariri Center and Middle East Programs at the Atlantic Council, William Wechsler, said: “The US decision to send a carrier strike group is primarily intended to deter Hezbollah, and its patron Iran, from entering the war alongside Hamas.”

He added: “Hamas lost this war the moment they decided to start it — Israel is far more powerful militarily. The only way for Hamas to achieve their objectives is for the war to be expanded beyond one solely between Israel and Hamas and to become a multi-front, regional war.”

Henri J. Barkey, the Cohen Professor of International Relations at Lehigh University and an adjunct senior fellow for Middle East studies at the Council of Foreign Relations told Al Arabiya English: “The US force can deploy significant assets to gather intelligence on any arms going into Gaza; even interdict if the case maybe (from Lebanon or elsewhere).”

“More importantly, without assets in place Biden does not have options; the task force gives him options especially because of the number of Americans killed and the number missing presumably taken hostage,” Barkey said.

The Pentagon said the aircraft carrier has an embarked airwing and accompanying cruisers and destroyers. The force will conduct maritime and air operations in order to assure allies and partners throughout the region and ensure regional stability. The strike group is prepared for the full range of missions.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin also ordered more Air Force F-35, F-15, F-16 and A-10 fighter aircraft to squadrons in the region.

A senior defense official said: “These posture increases were intended to serve as an unequivocal demonstration in deeds, and not only in words, of US support for Israel's defense and serve as a deterrent signal to Iran, Lebanese Hezbollah, and any other proxy across the region who might be considering exploiting the current situation to escalate conflict. Those adversaries should think twice.”

Read more:

At least 169 Israeli soldiers killed in war with Hamas: Army

Al Aqsa Flood: How a secretive Hamas commander masterminded the attack on Israel

The ‘Iron Wall’: What is the Gaza-Israel fence?

Top Content Trending