The Trump administration is deploying multiple heavy bombers to a military base approximately 2,000 miles south of Iran as tensions to continue to rise in the region after the U.S. military terminated Iranian terrorist Qassem Soleimani last week.
“The U.S. Air Force is deploying six B-52 bombers to Diego Garcia, an island base in the Indian Ocean,” Fox News reported. “The move … was 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.”
The B-52 is one of the deadliest bombers in the world as it has a range of nearly 9,000 miles and can deliver up to 70,000 lbs. of a wide variety of ordnance — bombs, smart weapons, mines, and missiles — at an elevation of 50,000 feet while traveling at 650 mph.
The Daily Mail reported that the B-52s were being sent to Diego Garcia and not other military bases in the region because the base is out of the reach of Iran’s long range missiles.
During a press briefing on Monday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, addressed the media about the current state of affairs in the region.
“So first of all, we continue to deploy forces and reposition forces throughout the region to bolster our security, our force protection, and also to be prepared for any contingency,” Esper said. “Number two, over the last several days I’ve had conversations with many, many of our allies and partners about the situation in – in Iraq and the region. I got to tell you it’s been uniform support for our position and for our actions and I continue to convey to them the importance we place on continuing the defeat ISIS mission for those who are involved in that operation [and] for our commitment to partnering with Iraq going forward.”
“And number three, to the mission that we’ve always said about deterring Iranian bad behavior and standing up to this malign behavior that has been ever present now for 40-plus years,” Esper continued. “And number three, on the diplomatic front part and parcel to this conversation has been what I’ve said to them, is that – is that we remain prepared for any contingency with regard to Iran. That our message to Iran is that the ball is in their court.”
“We encourage them to de-escalate the situation,” Esper added. “We are open to sitting down with them and discussing issues so that we could have a more normal relationship with that country. We’ve been saying this for quite some time now. I’ve conveyed that to our partners and to our allies.”
A reporter asked Esper and Milley, “How do you expect them to de-escalate when you kill one of their senior officers?”
“How do you expect us not to respond after they’ve been killing our people for 20 years?” Esper fired back. “Soleimani alone has the blood of hundreds of Americans. He’s wounded thousands of Americans and coalition partners. So somehow them turning this around, he is a terrorist, a leader of terrorist organization who’s been killing and attacking Americans for 20 some years. And the blood is on his hands. He was planning attacks on American forces.”
“He was there on the ground with the leader of Kataeb Hezbollah, met him on the ground at the airplane, welcomed him so they can further coordinate attacks,” Esper continued. “This whole narrative that’s being turned around is – is – is just – is silly.”
Milley responded by saying, “So you’ve got a very long history here of a guy. We know his history. Importantly we knew his future. I’m not going to go into the details of that, and I know that a lot of people are out there – I’ve seen words like, oh, the intel was razor-thin. Very, very few people saw that intelligence. He and I saw that intelligence. And I will be happy, when the appropriate time comes in front of the proper committees and anybody else, through history and every – I’ll stand by the intelligence I saw, that was compelling, it was imminent, and it was very, very clear in scale, scope.”