Amid the growing maritime tensions between Iran and the US in the Persian Gulf, Washington has authorized sending f-16 fighters to the area, a move that can add fuel to the already huge fire of unease in the Middle East region.
According to information from a senior US defense official, the United States intends to deploy additional f-16 fighters around the strategic Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf to, as the official noted, “protect ships from Iranian seizures”.
While the US Defense Department official noted that the move has been decided to guard the Strait of Hormoz from Iran, it is good to know that the area is part of Iran’s territorial water and the US has no rights to fly fighter jets above it, let alone providing security for the ships carrying oil and other stuff through it to the rest of the world.
“We will send F-16 fighter jets to the Gulf region this weekend to augment the A-10 attack aircraft that have been patrolling there for more than a week,” the official said, speaking to Pentagon reporters on this Friday, nothing also that the f-16 fighters “will give air cover to the ships moving through the waterway and increase the US military’s visibility in the area, as a deterrent to Iran”.
Washington says it has increased its military presence to protect the assets it has in the region, as well as the ships that belong to the US allies that cross the Strait of Hormoz almost every day. But Iran sees the US activities in the regional waters as an interference in its domestic affairs, asserting that the area is part of Iran’s territory and if there is one country responsible for its security, it is Iran, not the United States, that is thousands of miles away from the Persian Gulf.
The f-16 fly show is just the beginning!
In addition to threatening Iran that the American f-16 fighters are on the way to arrive the Strait of Hormoz by the next week, the defense official who didn’t want to reveal his identity also rebuked Russia for maneuvering its get fighters over Syria and told reporters the Washington is also considering a number of military options to deal with increasing Russian aggression in the Syrian skies.
The official did not say what exactly those options are, but noted that the US will not cede any territory and will continue to fly in the western part of Syria as part of operations against the fighters of the Islamic State terrorist group known also as the ISIS fighters.
As the official noted, Washington believes that Russian military activities in Syria have seen an increase in frequency and aggression towards US forces since March, and that it is a result of growing cooperation and coordination between Moscow, Tehran and the Syrian government to try to pressure the US to leave Syria.
Last week on Friday, a Russian aircraft flew repeatedly over the al-Tanf garrison in eastern Syria, where US forces are training Syrian allies and monitoring ISIL activity. But officials in the US Defense Department and the White House should answer this question that if the US considers Russia’s Friday move as an act of aggression, then ordering the f-16 fighters to fly over Iran would be no different and could be seen as an aggressive and provocative move as well, which by itself can increase tensions in the already chaotic Middle East region.