Pentagon Moves B-52 Bombers to Military Base to Prepare for Potential Iran Strike
US sends 6 strategic bombers to Diego Garcia after threats over terrorist Soleimani death
The Pentagon has moved six B-52 strategic bombers to the Diego Garcia military base in the Indian Ocean as the US prepares for a potential strike against Iran following threats of retaliation for the killing of Iranian terrorist Qassem Soleimani.
The US Defense Department is sending warplanes to the base in the northern Indian Ocean as preparations for possible military action against Iran move forward.
The B-52 bombers will be available for operations against the Islamic Republic if ordered into action, Pentagon officials reportedly told CNN on Monday.
The deployment does not signal a decision has been made about any attack plans, however.
The United States maintains several military bases in close proximity to Iran in a number of Middle Eastern countries.
Officials have chosen to deploy its bombers to Diego Garcia due to it being out of reach of Iran’s longest-range missiles, according to the Pentagon.
The move is the latest in efforts by U.S. military officials to bolster resources near the Middle East after the Iraqi Shia militia Kataib Hezbollah hinted at possible retaliatory attacks to avenge Soleimani's death, according to Fox News.
The B-52 bombers reportedly were spotted departing from Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana to Diego Garcia, which is located 3000 miles south of Iran’s southernmost tip.
Each aircraft has eight engines and is designed to carry a large cache of weapons including cruise missiles, conventional and laser-guided bombs, and nuclear gravity bombs.
The U.S. military previously had sent a bomber task force to Qatar in May, but the bombers left after a few months, a U.S. defense official said.
On Monday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, attempted to quell confusion about a letter circulating from the U.S. military telling Iraq that it would withdraw troops from the region a day after Iraqi lawmakers approved a resolution calling to expel U.S. troops from the country.
Both Esper and Milley called the unsigned letter a mistake and said the U.S. had no intention of withdrawing troops from the Middle East as tensions ramped up.
Instead, Milley told reporters the U.S. military was bringing in reinforcements from Kuwait and beefing up helicopter force protection inside Iraq, particularly in the heavily fortified Green Zone, which has been bombarded with rocket attacks over the past three days.
The Diego Garcia base is part of the British-held territory of the 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.
America has 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 terrorist group Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani, has the capability to reach several American bases, ports, and other installations in the region.
In total, Iran could conceivably strike at areas that would place more than 55,000 American soldiers at risk.
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.