The United States has deployed a nuclear-powered submarine to the Middle East in a show of deterrence against further escalation in the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. The move comes as the region nears the one-month mark since Israel declared war on Hamas after a surprise attack that claimed the lives of 1,400 people on October 7.
According to a statement from U.S. Central Command, the Ohio-class submarine was sent to the region without any specific mention of its location or mission. However, an image that appears to be of the submarine in the Suez Canal near Egypt's Suez Canal Bridge was shared by the command on Sunday.
The deployment of the submarine is a rare move by the U.S., as officials are not usually forthcoming with details about their nuclear-powered vessels. The submarine is one of the three components of the U.S.'s "nuclear triad," along with land-based ballistic missiles and nuclear bombs carried by strategic bombers. The Ohio-class submarine has the capability to carry both nuclear ballistic missiles and cruise missiles, though it is not clear if the one currently operating near Israel is equipped with nuclear weapons.
The U.S. has also sent a nuclear-capable B-1 bomber to the Middle East, as well as other military assets such as F-35s, F-15s, F-16s, A-10s, and F-18s to bolster its forces in the region. These deployments come as tensions remain high with Iran, which financially and militarily supports the terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah that are currently attacking Israel.
THE BIG GUNS US nuke sub arrives in Middle East in ‘message to Iran’ after threat to ‘hit America hard’ if there’s no Gaza ceasefirehttps://t.co/0bocuK0epp
— John Smith (New) 🇺🇲 (@JohnSmithNew2) November 7, 2023
Since October 7, the U.S. has deployed or redirected over 17,350 military personnel to the region, including carrier strike groups, deployed troops, and the Bataan amphibious ready group. This increased military presence is in response to the ongoing violence in Israel and Gaza, where U.S. military personnel and coalition forces have been targeted in attacks that have happened dozens of times.
The Pentagon confirmed last week that U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq and Syria have been attacked at least 28 times since October 17, with 16 attacks in Iraq and 12 in Syria. These attacks have involved a mix of one-way attack drones and rockets.
Officials from the U.S. have warned that they expect Iranian proxies to seek opportunities to escalate the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stated last month that the Biden administration is prepared to respond accordingly if American civilians or armed forces are targeted.
During a call on Monday, November 5, Austin reiterated the U.S.'s commitment to defend Israel's right to protect itself in a conversation with Israeli Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant. He also emphasized the U.S.'s determination to deter any state or non-state actor from further escalating the conflict and stressed the importance of protecting civilians and delivering humanitarian aid.
With tensions continuing to rise in the region, the U.S. is sending a strong message to its enemies that it will not hesitate to defend itself and its allies. The deployment of the nuclear-powered submarine is a clear indication of the U.S.'s commitment to maintaining stability and deterring further acts of aggression in the Middle East.