Pentagon sends six B-52 strategic bombers to military base on Diego Garcia

Daily Mail

The Defense Department is sending six B-52 bombers to the Diego Garcia military base in the northern Indian Ocean as preparations for possible military action against Iran move forward.

Pentagon officials told CNN on Monday that the B-52 will be available for operations against the Islamic Republic if ordered into action, though the deployment does not signal a decision has been made about any attack plans. 

The United States maintains several military bases in a number of Middle Eastern countries in close proximity to Iran, but it chose to deploy its bombers to Diego Garcia because it is out of reach of Iran’s longest range missiles, according to the Pentagon.

This is the second time in the last year that the American military has deployed B-52 bomber aircraft to the region due to rising tensions with Iran.

In May, the White House ordered six B-52s to deploy to an American military base in Qatar as well as other bases in ‘southwest Asia’ after it received reports of alleged threats from Iran.

Diego Garcia is a large atoll that hosts a US military base. The atoll is located about 1,000 miles off the southern tip of India.

A Pentagon official told CNN on Monday that aircraft is being deployed to Diego Garcia this time in order to keep the planes out of the range of Iranian missiles.

The Diego Garcia base is part of the British-held territory of Chagos Islands, which legally falls under the rule of Mauritius.

Mauritius is an east African island country in the Indian Ocean located about 700 miles from the coast of Madagascar.

The Chagos base was constructed after the UK ousted more than 2,000 island natives from their homes and leased the grounds to the US.

The Americans have been using the base for more than 50 years.

Iran, which has vowed revenge against the US for the drone strike which killed the commander of the elite Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani, has the capability to reach several American bases, ports, and other installations in the region.

The American military footprint in the Middle East and central Asia includes approximately 14,000 troops in Afghanistan; 13,000 soldiers in Kuwait; 13,000 more in Qatar; 7,000 in Bahrain; 6,000 in Iraq; 5,000 in the United Arab Emirates; 3,000 in Saudi Arabia; 3,000 in Jordan; and 2,500 in Turkey.

There are much smaller troop levels in Syria and Oman, according to The Washington Post.

In total, Iran could conceivably strike at areas that would place more than 55,000 American soldiers at risk.

Its ballistic missile arsenal includes weapons that are very difficult to target because they are either road-mobile or hidden inside highly fortified mountain fortresses, according to The War Zone.

In the event of war between Iran and either the United States or its Sunni Arab allies, the Iranians would only need a few minutes to launch ballistic missiles from subterranean strongholds.

Iran could hit American bases, airfields, and other key sites.

That is why the Pentagon would most likely rely on its fleet of strategic bombers based in Diego Garcia.

If war did break out with Iran, the US has at its disposal machines of war like the B-52 and the B-2 Spirit bombers that can unleash devastating blows.

The Americans would most likely deploy the B-2s to drop precision-guided 40,000-pound ‘bunker buster’ GBU-57 Massive Ordnance Penetrators (MOPs), which are specially designed to pierce through Iran’s mountain complexes.

There has been no indication from the Pentagon that it has forward deployed B-2s with Iran in mind.

The deployment of the B-52s comes amid tensions in the region stoked by the killing of Soleimani in Baghdad on Friday.

‘Iraq’s parliament called on Sunday for US and other foreign troops to leave as a backlash grows against the strike.

President Donald Trump responded on Sunday by doubling down on threats to target Iranian cultural sites if Tehran retaliates.

Deepening a crisis that has heightened fears of a major Middle East conflagration, Iran said it was taking another step back from commitments under a 2015 nuclear deal with six major powers.

Iran’s most prominent general, Soleimani, was killed on Friday in a US drone strike on his convoy at Baghdad airport, an attack that carried US-Iranian hostilities into uncharted waters.

An Iranian government minister denounced Trump as a ‘terrorist in a suit’ after the US president sent a series of Twitter posts on Saturday threatening to hit 52 Iranian sites, including targets important to Iranian culture, if Tehran attacks Americans or US assets to avenge Soleimani’s death.

Talking to reporters aboard Air Force One on the way to Washington from Florida on Sunday evening, Trump stood by those comments.

‘They’re allowed to kill our people. They’re allowed to torture and maim our people. They’re allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people. And we’re not allowed to touch their cultural sites? It doesn’t work that way,’ he said.

Democratic critics of the Republican president have said Trump was reckless in authorizing the strike, and some said his comments about targeting cultural sites amounted to threats to commit war crimes.

Many asked why Soleimani, long seen as a threat by US authorities, had to be killed now.

Republicans in Congress have generally backed Trump’s move.

Trump also threatened sanctions against Iraq and said that if US troops were required to leave the country, Iraq’s government would have to pay Washington for the cost of a ‘very extraordinarily expensive’ air base there.

He said if Iraq asked US forces to leave on an unfriendly basis, ‘we will charge them sanctions like they’ve never seen before ever. It’ll make Iranian sanctions look somewhat tame.’

The Iraqi parliament passed a resolution calling for an end to all foreign troop presence, reflecting the fears of many in Iraq that Friday’s strike could engulf them in another war between two bigger powers long at odds in Iraq and across the region.

While such resolutions are not binding on the government, this one is likely to be heeded: Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi had earlier called on parliament to end foreign troop presence as soon as possible.

Iran and the United States have been competing for clout in Iraq since the US-led invasion in 2003 that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7858861/Pentagon-sends-six-B-52-strategic-bombers-key-military-base-3-000-miles-Iran.html

One thought on “Pentagon sends six B-52 strategic bombers to military base on Diego Garcia

  1. ‘Trump also threatened sanctions against Iraq and said that if US troops were required to leave the country, Iraq’s government would have to pay Washington for the cost of a ‘very extraordinarily expensive’ air base there.’

    their oil wasn’t enough?

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