Why the US Central Command Deployed Strategic Bombers (B-52) to the Middle East?

11th of May 2019

Four B-52H Stratofortress bombers took off from the Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana to land at the US military base in Qatar. They have been deployed to the region within a carrier strike group centered around the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, a guided missile cruiser and four guided missile destroyers). The buildup of forces in the area, according to U.S. Central Command, reported by Military Times, is in response to “recent and clear” indications that Iranian or proxy forces were making preparations to “possibly attack American troops in the region.” CENTCOM reported that indications pointed to “threats on land and in the maritime” against U.S. forces.

I think that the first obvious reason to deploy Four B-52H Stratofortress bombers to the region is for deterring Iran and its proxy, massively attacking their positions or aborting any possible military action could be launched by them.

There is no doubt that the American B-52 strategic bomber is capable of carrying out the three missions in the Persian Gulf to Iran.

On the other hand, the bomber B-52H is capable of carrying up to 70,000 pounds (32,000 kg) of weapons, as well as its capability of carrying tactical nuclear warheads that can be guided by precision nuclear strikes for its purposes. Imagine what Iran and its proxies can do, when they do not have the means to deal with these strategic weapons?

It seems that Iran and its proxy forces do not need this quantity and quality of weapons if the situation is only for deterrence.

Accordingly, the possible second reason could be a direct deterrence message to China, who’s potentially supporting Iran’s situation (according to US expectations).

Last week, the US Navy carried out an extensive navy exercise in the South China Sea, in which China claimed its sovereignty, this joint exercise was held in cooperation with Japan, India and the Philippines navy forces.

Thus, both actions (deploying US strategic forces in the Middle East and the joint naval strategic exercise in the South China Sea) could militarily deter China as a US strategic goal against the economic giant competitor, who is involved in a big trade war against the US.

Sayed Ghoneim, Major General (retired)
Fellow, Nasser Higher Military Academy
Chairman, IGSDA
www.igsda.org